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Shadowmagic by [Lenahan, John]
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Shadowmagic Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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The Amusement Park Mystery
The Amusement Park Mystery
Fun mysteries for your middle grade detective. Kindle book | See more for ages 9-12
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—Conor is enjoying his life until the day his aunt shows up on horseback and tries to run him through with a spear. He and his father are carried off to Tir na Nog, where he learns that he is a prince and that nearly everybody he meets wants to kill him. With the help of the mother he has never met, the teen and his dad escape captivity, and Conor begins to learn more about the land he has been brought to and about his uncle's evil plot to destroy it. With the help of two new friends, one who rarely speaks and one who never shuts up, Conor sets out to defeat his uncle and save the ancient Celtic land. Along the way he meets a variety of imps, banshees, leprechauns, and elves—and one very pretty girl who, like so many others, wants him dead. The story moves quickly with a lot of action and humor, but occasionally background information and characterization are sacrificed to the fast-paced plot. Readers will enjoy Conor's romp through Tir na Nog but will not pick up a lot of detail about the mythology surrounding that legendary land. This is a fun tale for readers who are looking for another light fantasy.—Misti Tidman, Boyd County Public Library, Ashland, KY
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Conor’s dad is quite eccentric—he speaks in ancient languages and trains Conor in swordplay—but the 17-year-old never dreamed it was because his father was actually from the land of the ancient Celts. Conor is spirited away to Tir Na Nog, and life suddenly moves at a frantic pace. He meets his mother (a sorceress working in Shadowmagic), befriends an imp and a banshee, and must somehow survive the prophecy of his death long enough to help his dad claim his rightly deserved throne. Though some of the rescues and escapes are almost too easy, they still work, and Lenahan throws in some unforeseen twists. The characters are fully developed and the dialogue witty and full of spunk. With the pace and thrill of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, a sense of place worthy of Narnia itself, and Conor’s dryly humorous first-person narration, this novel is a fast read that will engage reluctant readers. A less-than-tidy ending will have readers begging for more. Grades 7-11. --Melissa Moore

Product Details

  • File Size: 573 KB
  • Print Length: 291 pages
  • Publisher: The Friday Project (August 6, 2009)
  • Publication Date: August 6, 2009
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9EY6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,728 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I see I'm not alone here with the recent reviews. Probably like the others, John has put out the word that the sequel to this novel will be coming out soon, and that in itself is great news. But, it made me realize that I never gave any kind of review for the original, which was not available except by import when I got my copy. I'm glad to see that it's available on Amazon now.

This story is a fun and interesting twist on the hero's quest. A boy, Conner, grows up in our world, having never known that it is not truly his home...until that home comes through a portal to try and kill him. This leads Conner to return home with his father and the story races on from there. John brings a wry wit to his story telling that is fun and playful without being bitter. Is it Lord of the Rings? No, this definitely falls to the lighter side. But that's no knock. It is what it sets out to be, a fun adventure tale with characters that will draw you in and that you will enjoy getting to know. You would do yourself well to check it out.
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Format: Kindle Edition
His name is Conor and he is 18 years old. He has a girlfriend named Sally, who he likes quite a bit. He goes to high school and for the most part is fairly normal. His father, however, is a bit of an eccentric lunatic and has his son learning ancient Gallic and fencing from a young age. Everything changes the day that Conor and his father got attacked in their living room and were whisked away to Tir na Nog, the mystical land of the ancient Celts, where it turns out Conor's father is the usurped heir to the throne and everybody wants Conor dead because of some prophecy. Well, at least Conor gets to meet his mom!

The Pros: I think the best part of this story are the characters. They aren't overly complex, the story is quite light hearted, but they are likable and you care about them, quite a few of them actually. Conor in his travels in the magical land of Tir na Nog meets some interesting people, the Banshee, Fergul, the Imp, Ararat and lets not forget the girl, Essa, oh don't forget the girl. Even the villain in Shadow Magic is great and just like a villain should be, bad! The story and plot line are pretty basic, conor's father, the rightful king, has a brother, who is a bad bad man. He basically wants to kill everyone. Why, I'm not really sure to be honest, but the reason doesn't seem to be important because he carries out his plan with such single minded efficiency that the reason doesn't really seem to matter. You hate him and thats all you really need. Shadow Magic is fast too a quick read that leaves you satisfied but wanting more (what can I say its a complex emotion).

The Cons: The magic system is a mess. I know its based on gold but I still don't think it was explained very well.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was a VERY good example of the genre. I wouldn't quite call this YA, but it was an easy read with no in-your-face violence. Those who enjoy reading the classic story of a mortal boy suddenly transported to the Celtic Otherworld (by any name - here it's called Tir Na N'Og) and his adventures therein will enjoy this one.

The characters are well-drawn and believeable (and very human, even when they aren't human). The premise is a classic - a prophecy that everyone takes at face value leads to strife, and is fulfilled in an unexpected way. The Other World is portrayed in a very interesting manner. Its fate is directly linked to the character of the rulers - the device of how land and ruler are linked is original, and very well done (and thought-provoking, even here in the 'Real World'). There's plenty of humor in the interactions of Real World and Other World. The main character starts out as a brash teenager, unhappy that he's missing a movie date with his new girlfriend, but quickly grows and matures (though always remaining a thoroughly modern teenager!).

Highly recommended. I'm looking forward to reading the 2nd book of the series. This is well worth the price. 4 1/2 stars.

Note on Kindle formatting: Excellent. I did not notice any issues at all.

(ETA 8/1/11 - Rephrased review to indicate that book was now available in the US - it had been pulled when I originally wrote the review.)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I bought Shadowmagic ($0.99 as I write this review), by John Lenahan, in October '09, I paid $3.40 and considered it a good bargain. At the current sale prices, you should grab this one, fast.

When I saw the sequel was out, I pulled out the first volume and read it thru in just three days (in between doing everything else). The paper edition says it is 288 pages, but they go by in a flash (unlike Lord of the Rings, which the synopsis compares it to). This is young adult fiction, but is entirely enjoyable by adults of any age; there is budding romance (but barely a kiss or two) and the story is told from the point of view of a teenage boy, who is getting ready to go to school, trying to find a good time to ask his dad for a bit more cash to take out a girl, when he answers the door ... only to have people on horseback try to kill him, a weird glow surround him and one of the attackers crumble to dust upon being unhorsed. His day only gets worse, but he quickly adapts to his new surroundings, after breaking free of his captors and finding himself not in the Real World, at all.

The action isn't non-stop (really, could anyone stand to read 200+ pages that were?), as, in addition to a bit of adventure, you get his reaction to the new land, descriptions of what he sees and finds and experiences, as he makes his way. Along that way, he first reacts without thinking, but gradually changes to reaction with forethought (well, as much as a teen can muster, at any rate), growing at least metaphorically during journey. As with most good teen fiction, good triumphs over evil, in the end (at least for the day), but there is also tragedy to provide a bittersweet tinge to the joy of the day.

At the end, you can see the hooks for a sequel are set, but the volume concludes well on it's own (no big cliffhangers to frustrate you if you do decide not to get the second title). For myself, though, I've put the sequel near the top of my TBR list.
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