Skip to main content

Shadow Magic

Review

Shadow Magic

written by Joshua Khan with illustrations by Ben Hibon

It's been quite a while since I've found myself in such a fun and immersive fantasy world. The first book in a new middle-grade fantasy series, Joshua Khan's SHADOW MAGIC tells the story of Lilith Shadow, heiress to a land that prides itself on its history of powerful necromancers Accompanying Lilith are Thorn, her new friend with a troubled past; plus a ghost puppy, a giant bat, some zombies, and a whole crew of unique and interesting characters. Lily Shadow has found herself suddenly in charge of the aptly-named Castle Gloom, an expansive citadel with a deep, "dark" history. She, Thorn, and their friend K’leef must come together to break rules and discover what they are truly made of in this fast-paced story full of exciting twists and turns.

"SHADOW MAGIC...gives depth and whimsy to themes that have traditionally been seen as pure evil in fantasy...Khan does a fantastic job of building a world that readers can get lost in."

What I appreciated most about SHADOW MAGIC is that it gives depth and whimsy to themes that have traditionally been seen as pure evil in fantasy.  In SHADOW MAGIC, the Solar family, who specialize in light magic and have been the enemies of the Shadow family, often appear to be the villains of the story. It is an interesting shift that turns a traditional fantasy trope on its head --- Lily is the nicest necromancer you could ever hope to meet. Seeing the story from her perspective made living in a place called Castle Gloom, where ghosts, zombies, and extravagant Halloween celebrations are the norm, seem like fun.

Khan does a fantastic job of building a world that readers can get lost in. As much as I loved learning about Gehenna, the expansive land in which Castle Gloom and the Shadow family are situated, I'm even more excited by lands ruled by other forms of elemental magic such as light, fire, water, and earth. The promise of experiencing these worlds, along with learning more about Lily, Thorn, and their friend K'leef, has me really looking forward to reading the next installment in this series. The battle scenes occasionally felt a bit too grisly, but otherwise this novel was a joy to read. I could hardly put it down near the end. Fans of of J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan are sure to find something to love in the world of SHADOW MAGIC.

Reviewed by Katherine Szabo on April 18, 2016

Shadow Magic
(Shadow Magic #1)
written by Joshua Khan with illustrations by Ben Hibon