Wednesday, April 08, 2015

loopyker's #CBR7 Review #01: Shadows by Robin McKinley

Note: This review was written in early 2014 and is being posted for the first time now - well after I remember anything about the book to address criticisms I've read from some other reviews.

Shadows by Robin McKinley book cover

I've been a long-time fan of Robin McKinley, so I requested this new one through my Online Library and was excited when it became available days later. It is nice to know that the library requests can work and I wasn't disappointed by the effort. 
I hadn't even heard about Shadows and since McKinley doesn't often do sequels, you never really know what you are going to get. Unlike many of her books, Shadows doesn't have a fairy-tale land setting. It is more like our present-day world, but after the invasion of magic and the resulting technology to deal with that magic. 
Maggie is a 17 year old, in Newworld, where magic is now illegal. Her widowed mother meets and marries a new man, who creeps Maggie out. There is something wrong when she looks at him - extra shadows that seem to have a life of their own. Maggie's world is soon turned on end as the truth of things is slowly revealed to her.
I very much enjoyed McKinley's original take on magic and learning about the "shadows". As usual, she does a good job at capturing the insecurities, but also strengths of a teenage girl and her friends and family, creating believable characters and settings, with enough twists to keep it interesting. Knowing that McKinley is a dog owner, I can also see how that experience and love for her own dogs have made their way into this tale. 
My only complaint is that some parts felt a bit rushed. There is certainly a lot of action once it gets going. The ending is rather sudden and seems like it should be going on to a book 2. I hope it does! But I know McKinley well enough, to know not to count on it. If she gets inspired, it will be done. 

Shadows was a satisfying, fun YA fantasy read, joining the many books by Robin McKinley that I will happily reread and hope for them to be continued sometime. I still always hope her earlier Damar history will call to her to return there someday, but in the meantime, I will enjoy her many different worlds too.

4 stars
Title: Shadows
Author: Robin McKinley
Age Range: 12 and up
Book format: ebook/hardcover/paperback
Print length: 367/368 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books (September 26, 2013)/Nancy Paulsen Books (September 26, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0399165797
ISBN-13: 978-0399165795


Rating system:
1 star (didn't like); 2 stars (OK); 3 stars (good); 4 stars (very good); 5 stars (favourite)

Also check out Cannonball Read for a variety of book reviews from many others.

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