Happy Book Birthday to Shadow Magic!

I don’t normally repost my reviews, but Joshua Khan’s Shadow Magic comes out today and I’m pretty excited about it! I read an advance copy of this middle grade fantasy debut way back last summer, and I haven’t stopped thinking about how good it is. (Hence the quote from me on the cover.)  Now, at last, it has been published so you can read it too! If you like the type of stuff that I write — a mix of action, humor and magic — then you should definitely check this out. Here’s my full review from back in November:

Shadow Magic, by Joshua Khan. Middle grade fantasy.

Have you ever started reading a book thinking, ‘Oh, well, I may not like it but I’ll give it a try,’ then quickly found yourself sucked into the story and thinking, ‘Holy Hera, this is good!’ That was my experience with Shadow Magic. It’s told from the alternating perspectives of Thorn, the wayward son of an outlaw, and Lillith Shadow, the heir of one of six ancient magical kingdoms. There should be no reason for these two to ever cross paths, but they do, and the combination is explosive.

Lillith is the heir of Gehenna, the kingdom of darkness. She wasn’t supposed to become the ruler, but her family is murdered under mysterious circumstances, which leaves her next in line to the throne. Her family was once able to summon legions of the undead, speak to ghosts, and do all sorts of cool darkness magic that Nico di Angelo would approve of. Unfortunately, Gehenna’s glory days are long past, and women are not allowed to practice sorcery upon pain of death, so Lillith cannot use whatever powers she might have. Gehenna is so weak, Lillith is forced to make a marriage alliance with their ancient enemies, the bright and shiny kingdom of light. (Gross!)

Thorn, a young nobody from the north, is captured and sold into slavery to an executioner named Tyburn, who happens to work for the kingdom of Shadow. Thorn arrives in the land of darkness, and is soon plunged into a mystery with Lillith about who killed her parents. We find out that Thorn and Lillith both have unexpected powers and many secrets. We meet some fantastic characters, including a giant bat named Hades (How could I not love that?).

This book is a wonderful page-turner for young readers. It’s got all the elements of a great fantasy, rendered in a fresh, alluring, well-crafted world, with sympathetic characters and tons of mystery. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Get a copy. You’ll thank me for it!

Rick Riordan