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Shadows Hardcover – September 26, 2013

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books (September 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399165797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399165795
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-This fast-paced novel is set in Newworld, where magic is illegal and individuals who carried the gene for it had their DNA modified several generations ago. Teenager Maggie is still reeling from the death of her father when her mother falls in love with a mysterious man, Val, who's from Oldworld, where magic is still used. However, it's the shadows that follow Val that worry her and not just the fact that her mother has moved on. Soon after meeting Casimir, a cute, recent immigrant from Oldworld, things really start to get strange. When a "cobey," a dangerous gap in reality, opens up at a local park, Maggie instinctively closes it by making origami talismans out of pages from her math textbook. Once her mother and stepfather finally reveal their own histories with magic, Maggie is exposed to a side of the world she didn't know existed. This fantasy focuses on the relationships among characters. There is enough Newworld vocabulary to create and support the strange and enchanted setting, but not so much as to confuse or frustrate readers. Shadows is a dense book in parts, but teens will be motivated to keep reading by the exciting action, lovable characters, and witty dialogue.-Sunnie Lovelace, Wallingford Public Library, CTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journal. LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

McKinley’s distinctive voice instantly draws the reader into an alternative America where magic, once fairly commonplace, has been genetically removed from the population. Although the government attempts to control magic with science, there are still collisions and unexplained breaks between worlds that release strange energy and beings into Newworld. Our narrator and guide is Maggie, whose mother has gotten remarried to an Oldworlder named Val. Val is accompanied by creepy shadows only Maggie can see, which makes her dislike her stepfather even more. She works after school at an animal shelter, and it is her intense love of animals that helps unravel the multiple plot threads, which include several romances and origami that can contain magical outbreaks. Fascinating backstories reveal that magic isn’t as dead in Newworlders as the government would like everyone to believe. Maggie’s wry and witty conversational tone is an excellent vehicle for relating her fantastic yet logical adventures. McKinley’s smooth but swift pace sets the stage for a welcome sequel. Grades 7-12. --Debbie Carton

More About the Author

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle's End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.

Customer Reviews

Shadows is a very good and interesting read, I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the world she creates.
As usual her characters are fully fleshed out and you get attached to them, as well as great plot. hope this book has a sequel coming.
Luan J.
I just wish McKinley did sequels, because I really want to know what will happen next to Maggie and her family and friends.
S. Mahnken

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By skatinglibrarian on September 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So many of McKinley's books take place in worlds where "modern" technology is not yet a factor, but suddenly we're in a world quite like our own, with scanners. gene therapy, and "pocket phones." However part of that world uses magic to protect itself from disastrously bumping up against other realities, and in Maggie's country, science rules and magic is illegal.

I love the tools the good guys use to save the world ... no swords or massive explosions here! Its animals and origami, books and fuzzy friends, and there's not a bit of cuteness anywhere. The tension builds rapidly, as the main part of the story takes place in about three days. The good guys are neither stunningly beautiful nor overflowing with wisdom or power. They make things up as they go along, and the ties between parents and children, animals and their people, and deep friendships allow them to overcome a very bad situation. I like that this feels like kids awakening to a bad situation and their growing awareness that one's senior year in high school is not meant to be one of life's pinnacles.

I also like the implication that evil doesn't spring from dark supernatural creatures, but from ordinary humans trying to face problems with a military, security, or police state mindset. This is not a political book, and the canine and feline characters kept me smiling. It didn't leave me breathless (like Sunshine) or feeling as though I'd just eaten something splendid and chocolate (Spindle's End), but as if I'd spent an engrossing evening wrapped in a cozy quilt with an animal companion I loved.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By LAS Reviewer on September 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Robin McKinley's new book Shadows is classed as fantasy, yet is a world apart from anything else in the genre.

Fans of McKinley will recognize the key elements of her works in Shadows, a writing quality that immerses readers in the place and thoroughly into the mind of the main character. Another McKinly trait is that faint `fairytale' influence; Both the sense of whimsy in that comes through in so many fairy tales, as well as the oft-grim underpinnings that are so often the dark side of fairytales.

We are at once plunged into the world and life of a teen girl, in a town that is not-quite the norm. It's not a magical world, but only because magic has been banned.

However, Maggie's problems are typical enough: she doesn't care for her step father. She has a strong memory of her love for her own father, so we can understand that she might not take to Val right off. Then there there are the less typical problems, like the fact that his shadow doesn't seem to fit him very well...and in fact, sometimes appears to be doing its own thing entirely. It's creepy, there's no getting around it. And, the primary dangers within the community (cobeys) seem to be occurring closer and closer these days, for no good reason. Although there are official precautions one can take to remain safe, Maggie suspects these are not always effective. She doesn't quite believe in `the authorities."

She's got the typical issue of really being attracted to such a nice looking guy, while wondering what that really means in terms of her long-time best friend, who happens to be male. He is also a bit more than simply human, but she doesn't realize that for ages, and it's hardly his fault, anyway.

Charm always infuses McKinley's works, and Shadows is no slouch in that department.
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51 of 60 people found the following review helpful By paintfish on September 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm giving this book 3 stars. It was good, but felt incomplete and frustrating.

I had hoped and suspected that "Shadows" might be connected somehow to McKinley's "Sunshine" book, and it does feel as if it's in the same world, but on a different continent. We have 17 year old Maggie, our hero. Instead of baking at a coffee shop like Sunshine, she volunteers/ works at an animal shelter. Her family (mom, aunts, sisters, step-dad) are somehow magically talented. So is she, and she's clueless. Her personal failure at Algebra in school seems to have infected her with generally low self-esteem. I'm honestly rather tired of the teen girl heroine with magical powers who just can't bring herself to open her mouth, ask useful questions of more experienced adults or people, and take some control of her direction. Maggie just seems so hapless and squeamish and sure, she's brave when she decides there's nothing else for it, but she never seems to grasp her own worth.

I'm sure I feel the same as many other McKinley fans. Whatever happened to Sunshine and Con? Will we ever get the rumored sequel to Pegasus, which cut off in an amazingly cliff-hanger season finale type way? And I'm just now recalling 'Chalice,' yet another McKinley story with a hapless young woman who muddles through with no real grasp of her own powers. It would be easier as a reader to forgive the whole helpless confused girl character if we ever got a sequel where she's grown into her powers and changed the world for the better. But it doesn't seem like that will happen.

Overall, I'm disappointed in this book.
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