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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,910 ratings  ·  474 reviews
Maggie knows something’s off about Val, her mom’s new husband. Val is from Oldworld, where they still use magic, and he won’t have any tech in his office-shed behind the house. But—more importantly—what are the huge, horrible, jagged, jumpy shadows following him around? Magic is illegal in Newworld, which is all about science. The magic-carrying gene was disabled two gener ...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published September 26th 2013 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published September 1st 2013)
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  • Shadows by Robin McKinley
    Release date: Sep 25, 2014
    A compelling and inventive novel set in a world where science and magic are at odds, by Robin McKinley, the Newbery-winning author of The Hero and the…more
    Giveaway dates: Nov 19 - Dec 09, 2014
    10 copies available, 364 people requesting
    Countries available: US
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    The Republic of Thieves by Scott LynchA Memory of Light by Robert JordanEmperor of Thorns by Mark  LawrenceThe Daylight War by Peter V. BrettThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
    Can't Wait Sci-Fi/Fantasy of 2013
    48th out of 611 books — 3,175 voters
    The Dream Thieves by Maggie StiefvaterAntigoddess by Kendare BlakeFind Me by Romily BernardOnce We Were by Kat ZhangPhoenix Overture by Jodi Meadows
    September 2013 YA & MG Releases
    17th out of 30 books — 21 voters

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    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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    Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)
    In my youth, I have read and loved all of Robin McKinley's fantasies. Therefore, it is with a considerable amount of disappointment that I have to admit that I wish she had stuck to that genre after reading this book. Shadows provided me with little enjoyment. This could be considered fantasy, but it is a convoluted sort of fantasy that makes little or no sense. The world building is confusing. The lingo is nonsensical. I desperately wished for a glossary, footnotes, anything to help me with the ...more
    *This is an ARC review.
    Any excerpts or quotes are taken from an unfinished copy
    and are therefore subject to change before the final print*

    Opening Line

    This story starts out like something out of a fairy tale: I hated my stepfather.

    My Take On It

    Guys, I have read a lot of books, and I have a lot of authors I love, but there is one author I am particularly fangirly/ borderline obsessive about: Robin McKinley. It was about three or four years ago that I read my first McKinley book, Sunshine, a urba
    I wanted to like it. But... well, no.

    - McKinley writes about animals and 'critters' very well, but I feel she's getting a little lazy in the process. Whatever happens, throw in some dogs, cats, and other creatures and you'll be protected.

    - the narrator is an origami aficionada, and accordingly it felt the narrative was getting folded on itself A LOT, a bunch of rambling non sequiturs that served to 'introduce' the world setting and to give some backstory... but most of it was tedious, badly time
    This is a 3 1/2 star book for me, and I've been having an ongoing and unresolved debate in my head whether to round it up to 4 stars or down to 3. Whatever my current rating is, it’s subject to change without prior notice.

    As I mentioned in one of my updates, Robin McKinley's books have gotten more difficult to read over the years. Beauty, The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown are all pretty easy to read. I don't think it's a coincidence that those early McKinley novels are my favorites. As t
    I never in a million years would have ever thought I'd rate a McKinley novel with only one star. But good grief, Shadows was a total trainwreck.

    It seems like more and more, McKinley is writing "origin story" type novels that conclude when the real adventure is actually starting. That trope has worked well for her in the past, as with Sunshine, primarily because of her knack for writing really interesting, sympathetic, 3-dimensional characters. Did I want The Further Adventures of Sunshine and He
    I should start with a disclaimer, I was predisposed to like this book. I adore Robin McKinley, I’ve read Rose Daughter something like fourteen times, it was my go-to comfort read when I was in high school. That said, Shadows was fantastic all over the place. It’s full of patented Robin McKinley magic: extended adoptive family units, a band of (for the most part) animal companions and a lovely, satisfying romance. And magic, did I mention magic? Lots and lots of magic.


    Head on over to Cuddlebugger
    "Shadows" is McKinley channelling Diana Wynne Jones, a fact which is foregrounded by the book's dedication. The focus on family, the combination of a magical and a technological world, and the cascading chaos of the story's climax all bring Jones' work strongly to mind. There's some particular similarities to Witch Week.

    The thrust of the story is dystopian - while it starts out seeming to be about a problematic step-father, it segues into a focus on the society (although this relies a little on
    Jan 07, 2013 Jess marked it as tbr-2013-release
    WHAT? New Robin McKinley book? Oh gosh, I am so excite.
    I kept hearing John Cleese in my head, "And now for something completely different!" So different! McKinley's last book, PEGASUS was a lush depiction of a magical land where the royal family are all paired up with pegasii, but it's covering up a darker deception. Here is a contemporary story of a teenage girl living in New World (America) where all magic has been stamped out. Those who care a genetic predisposition for magic have it surgically removed, and magic users are severely punished. Ente ...more
    Moira Russell
    This feels more than a bit weird, but - my actual (short) review is here. If you want to comment/question/disagree/whatever here, though, that's fine (comments on my blog are off for reasons of privacy).
    Jodi Meadows
    I just want to move into Robin's brain. That's not weird, right?
    Whitley Birks
    Stopped at 80(ish) pages in, so no rating, just rambling.

    This book and I just didn't jive. If it was merely a bad book, I could have kept going (as many of you well know), but instead it was a...mediocre book that didn't sit with me. Nothing to get worked up about, but nothing to enjoy, either.

    There were things that didn't sit with me that will for other people. The voice of the character is very young, peppered liberally with "uhg"s and "oh my gods" and whining. It's a little younger than her g
    There are few effortless worldbuilders out there, and Robin McKinley is one of them. Diana Wynne Jones was one, and Justine Larbelestier definitely has the knack. Even in short snippets, their stories make it abundantly clear that we're not in Kansas anymore, without clobbering the reader over the head with infodumps and gee-golly newcomer characters.

    And I love that. I love that even in Larbelestier's slightly-frothy-seeming How to Ditch Your Fairy, she opened a window into a uniquely marvelous
    Reading Diane Wynn Jones is a lot like going to a foreign country. You have to learn the language and a bit about the culture to enjoy the beautiful things she's going to show you. Reading Robin McKinley is the same way. Reading Shadows, which was dedicated to Jones, is a slow read that is all about the journey and not the destination because you want the adventure to continue. I wasn't sure I wanted to read this despite loving every other McKinley book that I read. I held off buying it. I took ...more
    I wanted this to be a sequel to Sunshine, and maybe McKinley did too -- because things would tiptoe up to that line -- and then fart on it.

    Maybe I just have no patience with YA literature anymore? SAY IT ISN'T SO. Because I wanted to shake the narrator for her ninny-headed-ness, and there was a lot of OMG MAYBE HE LIKES ME OMG MAYBE, and stop wondering if you are born special or born normal because you have to do your best regardless and I am so much less interested in Lucky Genetics than I am
    Unlike many of the author's previous novels, this isn't set in a fantasy world, but rather an alternate reality that in some ways mirrors our own, while in others is quite different. I enjoy alternate world stories, but it took me a while to get into the spirit of this novel.

    To begin with, I found the heroine rather whiny and angsty. And the constant use of slang unique to this world may be a good example of world-building, but for some reason it annoyed the heck out of me. However, I kept readi
    I'm pretty much a die-hard Robin McKinley fan and have been since I was 12. So there's pretty much no question as to whether or not I'll like her book. I did (of course I did!).

    This book is pure McKinley. The voice, the world, the characters - all so fun and entertaining. It's the story of Maggie, a 17 year old average teen girl living in a world of science where science is at ward with magic. Of course, Maggie doesn't start off caring about all that. The book opens with her dislike of her new,
    I haven't hated anything else by Robin McKinley, but this book was really bad. It's told in first person, which is unfortunate, since the main character is pretty boring. No charisma, no wit, probably even more boring than any real teenager could be. She fell pretty flat. But what was even worse was the made up slang, which was the most annoying made-up slang I have ever had the misfortune to read. And since the book is told from a first person viewpoint, the reader is treated to plenty of it.

    Karen (Book Light Graveyard)
    Here’s something I hope you know about me by now: Robin McKinley is one of my favorite authors. Ever. I’ve read everything she’s written at least twice, and some of her books I’ve reread more times than I can count. So from the first page of “Shadows,” I fell right back in with McKinley’s writing style, and even though this book came out just a couple weeks ago, it immediately felt comforting and familiar.

    Of the books McKinley’s written, I think “Shadows” is most closely related in style to “Dra
    I liked this book, but with two pretty significant caveats. First, I don't think McKinley is very good at writing teenagers (see also: Dragonhaven). Shadows is a first person perspective of a girl who is a senior in high school, but she seems to act like someone much older. To some degree, the extent to which I could enjoy the book depended on how much I could ignore that it was supposed to be about teenagers.

    The second caveat is that the ending felt more like a non-ending. This book is begging
    David Caldwell
    I won a copy on Goodreads Firstreads.

    Magic exists.But not in Newworld. Newworld has stomped magic out. They genespliced people so they no longer have the ability to use magic. The army regularly monitors and deals with any outbreak of magic. Newworld is all about science. Let magic stay in Oldworld, Farworld, Southworlds, and the rest of the planet.

    But Maggie knows there is something wrong with her new stepdad, Val. He is from Oldworld and can't seem to get Newworld customs. He won't allow tech
    First Second Books
    Probably the thing I love best in this book is that Maggie is obsessed with animals and enjoys origami and besides both of these things being interesting traits that (at the beginning of the story) reveal things about her personality, they subsequently become actually useful to the plot of the story.
    This was enjoyable, but not one of her best. I am usually an avid fan of McKinley's titles (I have read and re-read many of her books numerous times) but I found this particular work didn't grab me like her other novels. I felt it took a while for her to sink her teeth into the plot (not unusual), but the payoff for the wait was rushed, and not particularly satisfying. This title read like the set-up to a continuing story; perhaps she has another series in the works?

    I'm still a fan, but I think
    I'm not sure that my reviews can be trusted when it comes to Robin McKinley -- I'm a big fan of almost everything she's written (with the exception of Sunshine, not so much a fan of that one). I know this one has gotten some mixed reviews. Even though I was confused in places for much of the story and there's a lot of rambling that happens in the narrative, it all worked for me because it was full of lots of things that just ARE what Robin McKinley books are to me. So I enjoyed it, and this is o ...more
    I gave this book three stars because I *wanted* to like it. The chaotic, slang-filled narrative is very reminiscent of Sunshine, my favorite book by McKinley—but this chaotic narrative never came together for me the way that one did.

    Shadows is a lot more overtly multicultural than Sunshine, but not exactly in a good way; see: the way the narrator sprinkles her dialogue with Japanese like an alternate-reality weeaboo, or the self-conscious description of Casimir as having "golden-brown skin somew
    This is one of my favorite authors ever, but the novel is just a little.... muddled.

    It's a little hard to explain, but if you've ever visited an elderly relative who you love dearly and tells interesting stories, but also tends to go off on little tangents, is confused about details and always wants to share their worship of a pet (or many pets) who is charming but somewhat poorly behaved you might know the feeling.

    The main character spends most of the story in confusion and amazement, which is
    Hannah Cobb
    Maggie likes origami, she volunteers at an animal shelter, and her best friend keeps trying to set her up with the cute new waiter at the local pizza place. On first glance she lives an ordinary Newworld life. But Maggie's family used to be full of magic, before Newworld decreed magic illegal and performed genetic surgeries on anyone who might have inherited a magical talent. So when Maggie's new stepfather shows up with with monster-like shadows dancing all around him, Maggie is terrified. Is V ...more
    I just...don't even know what to think right now.
    Shadows reminded me a lot of Spindle's End, another of McKinley's book. She writes these beautiful fantasy books with great characters and great relationships, often relationships with animals.
    This book is both staying in line and departing from the McKinley usual. There's a bit of science fiction happening but it's mixed with fantastic elements that are built into a world that immediately feels real, even if it takes a little bit t
    Ha! I typed the title of this book into GoodReads search so I could write my review, except I didn't type the title. Instead, I searched for Sunshine. Sadly, this book has nothing to do with Sunshine, nor is it nearly as good.

    It felt almost like a rough draft. It's set in a world that's a lot like ours, but also there's magic! But there's technology, too! And magic has been stomped out in one part of the world . . . except not! And there are these things called cohesion breaks, which are . . . I
    Did anyone get the number of that ice cream truck? This book.

    This goddamn book!

    I really hate it when I read books that I absolutely adore, but can't for the life of me articulatewhy I adored them. This was definitely that type of book. I mean, at first I wasn't even sure I would like it. Maggie, the MC, is supposed to be 17 going on 18, but her voice comes off more like 13 or 14 at first, and the book just sort of infodumps a bunch of stuff at you, a lot of which is kinda confusing.

    But then...I
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    The Backlot Gay B...: Shadows by Robin McKinley 1 8 Jun 30, 2014 12:20AM  
    • The Story of Owen (Dragon Slayer of Trondheim, #1)
    • The Islands of Chaldea
    • Unthinkable (Impossible, #2)
    • Atlantis Rising
    • Sorrow's Knot
    • The Cadet of Tildor
    • The Cats of Tanglewood Forest
    • Conjured
    • The Woken Gods
    • Book of Iron
    • Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)
    • Royal Airs (Elemental Blessings, #2)
    • Velveteen vs. The Multiverse (Velveteen vs., #2)
    • Earth and Air: Tales of Elemental Creatures
    • Blythewood (Blythewood, #1)
    • Tumble & Fall
    • Relativity
    • The Wild Ways (Gale Women, #2)
    Born in her mother's hometown of Warren, Ohio, Robin McKinley grew up an only child with a father in the United States Navy. She moved around frequently as a child and read copiously; she credits this background with the inspiration for her stories.

    Her passion for reading was one of the most constant things in her childhood, so she began to remember events, places, and time periods by what books
    More about Robin McKinley...
    Beauty (Folktales #1) The Blue Sword (Damar, #2) The Hero and the Crown (Damar, #1) Sunshine Spindle's End (Folktales #3)

    Share This Book

    “Slowly, painfully, I let go. It was like prying my own fingers off the edge of the cliff. And that hurt too-particularly the falling part, and not being sure what was at the bottom.

    But I did know. Now was what was at the bottom. I was already there.”
    “It's kind of interesting you're driving a car big enough for a wolfhound and a mastiff to get in the back of today," I said.

    "And a greyhound, a dark brown bear, and a brindle utility vehicle," said Jill.

    "Greyhounds don't take up much room," I said. "They're like dog silhouettes.”
    More quotes…