Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older.
This book is: different in a good way.
Other elements: family legacies, street art, Brooklyn, art, how race affects personal identity, magic in the real world.
Read it: if you like the idea of magical that works through the art on the streets of NYC.
Overall rating: 7/10
I really enjoyed reading this book. I love the idea of a kind of magic that works through art, and the background of Brooklyn was a great contrast to how many magic-at-boarding school novels I’ve read (not that I don’t love magic at boarding schools, but it’s nice to have a change sometimes).
At the end Shadowshaper, once I paused to think things through, I realized I wasn’t quite sure how some of the plot elements fit together. I also found the ending to be rather sudden. Fantasy novels often have some degree of “and then the fantastic mysterious forces interfered!” in the climax of the story, and this one did that just a liiiiiiittle too much for me. I needed a bit more of a logical framework to believe fully in the magic that was supposed to be happening. I was left with a small, lingering “wait,what?” feeling that the story didn’t resolve for me.
The author is also a man, and the protagonist is a teenage girl. This worked for me for almost the whole book, but there were one or two parts when the character didn’t quiiiiite ring true for me. Mostly when she was having teenage angst-ey moments. And when the boy she was dating complimented her belly fat.
Despite those minor elements that didn’t work for me, the concept behind Shadowshaper is really cool, and it had a bright, fresh feeling that’s been lacking in other urban fantasy I’ve read recently. If urban fantasy – magic that happens in the real world – is your jam, then Shadowshaper is worth your time.
My recent reads have all come from the suggested reading list for Book Riot Live, an upcoming and-sure-to-be-magnificent convention by Book Riot, the website I write for in my other life, is putting together for November. It’s going to be a great event: if you’re a book-lover in the NYC area, you should check it out.
For more reads anytime, check out my Amazon recommended books store. This post contains affiliate links.
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