So, after about 5 years (give or take) of writing, binning, rewriting, despairing, binning and rewriting SHADOW MAGIC landed on the desk of someone in the reviews department of the SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL.
And they liked it! Very much! They gave it a STAR!
Which, as you know, is rather what schools are all about.
See for yourself. Bats, they're gonna be big in 2016.
«Khan, Joshua. Shadow Magic. illus. by Ben Hibon. 336p. Disney-Hyperion. Apr. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781484732724.
Gr 4-6–Normally, getting purchased by an executioner wouldn’t be a good thing. For Thorn, however, it’s the beginning of a thrilling adventure. Captured while out looking for his missing father, Thorn is taken by new owner Tybalt to the kingdom where he serves as executioner. Arriving at Castle Gloom in Gehenna, Thorn meets 13-year-old Lady Lily Shadow, the last surviving member of the ruling family of House Shadow, one of six ancient families of sorcerers. The rest of Lily’s family, save for one drunken uncle, have been brutally murdered, and she is a reluctant ruler. Betrothed sight unseen to the son of a rival ruler in the name of peace, Lily is also a reluctant bride-to-be. A sudden death quickly throws Thorn, Lily, and their friend, K’Leef, into a maelstrom of mistaken identities, murder, magic, necromancy, and narrow escapes. Thorn’s skill with animals, evidenced by his relationship with an elderly, gigantic, voraciously hungry bat named Hades, proves invaluable. Working together but never losing sight of their individual objectives, Thorn and Lily uncover surprising truths about their families. The book’s hand-drawn map is a helpful resource. Occasional black-and-white illustrations appear throughout. The bat flip-book feature is a fun surprise. Despite the gloomy setting, this book vibrates with hope.
VERDICT Short chapters filled with action, appealing characters, and cliff-hanger endings make this fantasy the kind of book readers will find hard to put down. Recommended for all middle grade collections.–Sara-Jo Lupo Sites, George F. Johnson Memorial Library, Endicott, NY
Yes, I'm chuffed.