Shadow Magic (Lyra, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Shadow Magic (Lyra #1)

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  930 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Trouble is brewing in Alkyra. While the kingdom’s noblemen squabble, on their borders an ancient enemy, the Lithmern, raises an army. As the head of the Noble House of Brenn attempts to organize an alliance, the princess Alethia celebrates her twentieth birthday. She is a remarkable woman: quick-witted, beautiful, and handy with a throwing knife. But on the next night, she...more
ebook, 284 pages
Published December 13th 2011 by Open Road Media (first published September 1982)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Shadow Magic, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Shadow Magic

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,043)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Astonishingly generic, bloodless, and boring high fantasy from the usually at least entertaining Patricia Wrede. Some fairly flat characters including a minstrel, an elf, a Chosen One, a warrior, a magician etc are drawn into danger and learn they must go on a quest to find some lost magic objects to save the kingdom from the Evil Race* and the non-human totally-evil no-shades-of-gray Shadow-born who possess people, because they are evil and want to destroy stuff. Luckily for them, all the obsta...more
Wrede. Oh, Wrede. You know I love your books. Just not this one.

The kiss of death fell about halfway in for me, when the stunning structural similarities to Star Wars: Episode One (1999) dawned on me. Council meetings, power-hungry politicians, miraculous nick-of-time helpers, hidden magical abilities, mysterious bloodlines; all right, so the stories aren't perfect riffs off each other, but I have truly not encountered such a collection of cliches since viewing Episode One lo those many long yea...more
Alex Fayle
Although Wrede is one of my favorite authors, I'd never read any of her Lyra books and until recently thought I'd never get the chance. But with the surge in ebooks, all of her Lyra books are now available electronically.

Shadow Magic was Wrede's first book and despite her later revision of it, you can tell. It's still a great read, but the seams in the stitching of the plot are rather visible. It actually feels like it should have been a longer book and as readers we get the abridged version. I...more
This is a fairly stereotypical fantasy novel. She has a few creative elements in her world/history, but otherwise it's a "been there, done that" book with a plot bordering on overused. It was amusing to read, but nothing special. The next two books in the "series" (set chronologically in the same world, but not particularly interdependent, read them in any order you wish) are much more creative and engaging.

The Harp of Imach Thyssel andDaughter of Witches
Shadow Magic is the first of the Lyra books by Patricia C. Wrede, one of my auto-buy authors. Wrede wrote Dealing with Dragons, Snow White and Rose Red, and the Mairelon the Magician books (all of which are on my favorites shelf). I originally read Shadow Magic as part of the Shadows Over Lyra omnibus edition, which contained the first three books in the Lyra series.

Alethia is a rather headstrong young noblewoman, unaware of much of the world beyond her father’s holdings in a peaceful city-state...more
Mostly this was a good book and I have to wonder if I would have liked it more had I read an actual book and not a kindle version.

Because my main reticence in really enjoying this book is that it didn't have enough depth for me. And I know from past readings that sometimes that's a result of being introduced to a book first as a kindle book rather than an actual book.

The story moved quickly and was well plotted and the pacing was pretty great. But I didn't feel like I got to know the characters...more
Princess Alethia is kidnapped by the neighboring kingdom, Lithmern, in advance of their invasion. She must escape and make her way back to warn her people.

Why I started it: I love Wrede's Dealing with Dragons and her other series Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot. I wanted to read her earlier work.

Why I finished: While not as polished or delightful as the two series I mentioned above, this work shows the promise of what is to come and was pleasant.
Do you like shadows? Do you like magic? You... might?... like this book! Ringing Endorsement! The characters are simplistic but likeable, the plot actually moves really quickly, and the good guys win at the end. Hurraaaay!

This book is probably objectively not very good. The prose is primitive and the dialogue is doofy, okay? But I had fun! Even here in her debut novel, you see Wrede's skill at pacing. There's also something both refreshing and familiar about the woodsy, lyrical atmosphere of th...more
2.5 stars

This book was a disappointment to me, but not really in and of itself. Shadow Magic is Wrede's first novel, and it really reads like it. The world building is good, the characters are ok, though pretty two-dimensional, and the pacing moves along at an acceptable rate. I also think that the female lead is pretty acceptable for something written in the early 80s.

But the book is lacking in heart, which her later books have in spades. Some of her later books are among my favourites. I have...more
This was far too short a story. The plot just feels like it needs to be fleshed out a LOT more. The girl magically finds the hidden items and is able to destroy the enemy? It felt more like a skeleton of a story....And the love angle is almost completely random!

I would say skip it unless you really like the author.
Melissa Proffitt
My main impression of this book was "This couldn't possibly have been written by the author of Dealing With Dragons etc."
An Odd1
Her brother Har and best friend Maurin return safely from the Lithmern border where other caravans have completely vanished. Alethia listens in on their father Braca's fears of war, ignored by the eight other Noble Houses of Lyra who squabble amongst themselves. Her mother Isme has a bad feeling. Instead of celebrating her 20th birthday party, Alethia gets kidnapped by a cloaked "man with no face" and magically-shielded Lithmern.

But help comes unexpectedly Wyrds, mythical small furry forest arc...more
finished! there were several cute moments sprinkled throughout the book, but i wish there'd been more. the worldbuilding was interesting, so i'm glad there are more books set in this world. but i have to say that the plot and characters were underdeveloped. i'm not a fan of the chosen one/special snowflake trope, and alethia basically triumphed on the strength of special snowflakeness. ah well, hopefully the rest of the lyra books will be better -- this is her first book, after all. it can only...more
Oof. This one was a serious struggle to get through. I enjoyed Wrede's Sorcery and Cecilia, but this book had clunky prose, totally flat characters, cliche's aplenty, and was just utterly uninteresting to me. I forgive a lot, because it was her first book, but I'm not sure I'll give any of her other books a try after this one.
Fate's Lady
This was not my favorite fantasy book. The main character was very "speshul", with the solutions to even devastating problems seeming to fall straight into her lap. The characters were railroaded through the entire plot without seeming to actually take action or make decisions on their own, and the conclusion, even long after it was foregone, took forever to wrap up. I like a lot more agency and heroics in my heroes, not just a cart-load of right-place-right-time/Destiny.
Jul 30, 2014 Beth rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya, fantasy
I could tell that this was her first novel, even with her revisions. It was like Lord of the Rings but not as well-written or interesting. I actually missed important plot points while reading because I found myself skimming and had to go back and reread several parts to figure out how the characters got to the point at which they were. I probably will read the next one to see if it improves, but not my favorite of hers.
It was entertaining and had a nice story. The dialogue is nowhere as good as the Dealing with Dragons series, but it's actually nice to see an author's earlier work and how much she grew.
Rather cliche plot and the prose can be a bit clunky. Not bad if you want a straightforward fantasy novel. I adore Patricia Wrede's later stuff so I even read her early mediocre stuff.
Shadow Magic is the first book Patricia Wrede published. It is a good solid fantasy but it does not have what I think of as her trademark humor in the character interactions.
Yeah, *definitely* early Wrede. I'm glad she developed so much more as a writer and has written so many books I adore. This book, I do not adore. :P Flat characters, ye olde generik fantasie lande setting, simultaneously boring & senseless political machinations... big huge meh. I need to go read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles now or something.
A good read. A little light on the personalities and relationships, which are what really get me into a book, but the storyline and the setting were both solid.
Mary Bulloch
A good build up, but the end was too rushed. Everything was resolved to quickly and easily. I was a little let down.
Plain, no nonsense, solid story. Good for youth, as there is little romance, some violence, but nothing too gory. Interesting magic system.
Pretty generic, even with the rewrites. However, this is Patricia Wrede's first book, so it's understandable.
This book in the series was definitely different from the first one that I read. Although set in the same world, this book is set in a different kingdom. It still focuses on getting rid of the super evil shadow born, but I rather liked the whole priest+desert kingdom aspect of it (reminded me of some other books that I can't remember now, but I did like).

I was very surprised by the time that the end came, the book just flew by. They all escaped the town, had misadventures on the road, and next t...more
Katherine Coble
It's alright. A very obvious LOTR clone, but one done as a first novel by an author who shows promise.
Shadow Magic was the first book that PW wrote and in the intro to the ebook edition she shows the revisions she has made and explains why she is making them. Very interesting for any aspiring writers,
I read this years ago and enjoyed it again. Even with the rewrite this is still a first book in that it wraps up far to quickly and easily ... but perhaps this thought is more a reflection of my enjoyment of complexity and greater detail in stories - as a younger reader I was always impatient for t...more
A lifelong fan of Wrede's, I found Shadow Magic lacking somewhat in the sharp humor and witty characters I have come to expect from her - unsurprising, given that this is her first book. Judging it by itself, however, not in comparison to her other books (comparisons being, after all, odious), it is a good read. The world-building is intricate; the plot holds together well; the characters are not quite as well-rounded as I would prefer, but still interesting and entertaining. All in all, a book...more
Tabi Wares
Characters: great, storyline: awesome,.....ending? Rushed. The story was great, if a little slow paced up until the last few chapters when the ending was resolved almost immediately. It was just a bit awkward.

Also, apparently, all of Lyra's main characters have the same exact conflict and mental processes: "magic/past??? I want nothing to do with it!!! No no no!!!!" For the ladies and "Woe is me, I aim above my station, but I shall protect her with my life if possible!!" For the gentlemen.
Is it wrong that it was the author's foreword (in my Open Road Media edition) that fascinated me the most in this book? Patricia Wrede has revised this book since first published (I believe), and her foreword showed the original v. rewritten first chapter - it was interesting to see how much was changed (and for the better!). As for the story itself, it's pretty standard fantasy fare, with a subtle romance strand that struck me as a tad too unrealistic.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 68 69 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Unicorn Creed (Argonian #2)
  • The Ladies of Mandrigyn (Sun Wolf and Starhawk, #1)
  • Shadow
  • Worldsoul (Worldsoul Trilogy, #1)
  • Sword and Sorceress III
  • A College of Magics (A College of Magics, #1)
  • That Way Lies Camelot
  • The Trouble with Kings
  • The Bishop's Heir (Histories of King Kelson, #1)
  • Spell of the Witch World (Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle, #2)
  • The Door Into Shadow (Tale of the Five, # 2)
  • Gossamer Axe
  • Eureka
  • The Homeward Bounders
  • A Malady Of Magicks (The Ebenezum Trilogy, #1)
  • The Dubious Hills
Patricia Collins Wrede was born in Chicago, Illinois and is the eldest of five children. She started writing in seventh grade. She attended Carleton College in Minnesota, where she majored in Biology and managed to avoid taking any English courses at all. She began work on her first novel, Shadow Magic, just after graduating from college in 1974. She finished it five years later and started her se...more
More about Patricia C. Wrede...
Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #1) Searching for Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #2) Calling on Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #3) Talking to Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #4) Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (Cecelia and Kate, #1)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »