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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  7,612 ratings  ·  203 reviews

The #1 New York Times bestselling author's all-time horror classic Now with a new introduction by Peter Straub

Few modern horror novels have been able to stand the test of time like Shadowland. Now, with a new introduction from Peter Straub, this classic becomes a collectible for his insatiable fans-and for new readers who have just discovered Straub through the bestsellin

Paperback, 480 pages
Published February 15th 1987 by Berkley (first published 1980)
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Peter Straub came to prominence in 1979 with Ghost Story, an old fashioned spooky ghost tale which I wasn't really a fan of (though I appreciate it). A year later, in 1980, he published Shadowland, a coming of age novel which can be classified as dark fantasy with horror elements. This time, I say, he penned a winner.
Shadowland is concerned with the friendship of two boys - Tom Flanagan and Del Nightingale - which began at the private all-male school they both attended. As both try to fight the
Dirk Grobbelaar
Revisited Review

I really enjoy this kind of horror. Shadowland has an elaborate build up, and the reader invests quite a bit in the story before things start going awry. This means that you actually do care about what happens next…

There’s also a very “real world” feel to the events, however bizarre things eventually turn out. You almost, almost feel that this could actually happen. That being said, I wasn’t using the term bizarre loosely just now. This is one sinister story, and if the body cou
I can't even review this. I hated it. Finishing it was like Chinese water torture. I just.. Hated it. I have no idea what the point was... It was just... Ridiculous and bad and ridiculously bad.

I don't want to waste another moment thinking about it, so that's my review.

Not recommended.
Some of the more surreal moments, as well as the occasional switches in narratives, made this book a little hard to follow at times, but there IS a reason I gave this book five stars: it was terrific. It's not the all-out horror fest that the cover (of the 1980's paperback) promised, but there were some truly gruesome scenes towards the climax, as well as a general tone of mounting tension throughout.

Tom Flanagan is a very memorably three-dimensional young protagonist, and all the conflicts of c
As you can see, it took me forever to read this book. Some parts were beautifully written, but it really felt like 2 books in one. The latter being a struggle that literally took me years to finish. I just hated the ending. It was weird and strange and took too much imagination to even make sense. I can't say how much I didn't enjoy this book. It wasn't for me. I'm struggling to finish Koko as well which is making me apprehensive to start Ghost Story. I really want to like Straub, but his writin ...more
I really a fish walks by eating a taco want to like this tiiiiin rooof book but rusted? I just get sidetracked once there was a mouse and a squirrel, but that was a long time ago just kept getting distracted a taco walks by eating a fish by the trippy dream sequences the sound of a thousand mute voices saying nothing and random interjections did I have a point? and I'm pretty sure am I me? that in the end nothing nothing? really yes nothing, remember the moral of the fish taco? happened.
Apr 29, 2009 Henrik rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those wanting to read intricate yet classic stories of the weird
Shelves: horror
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rick Urban
During the extremely unsatisfying experience of reading Lev Grossman's "The Magicians", I kept thinking of how much better Straub's treatment of similar themes was, so literally the minute I finished "The Magicians" I went to my bookshelf and picked out this book to re-read. With it's nods to everything from Grimm's Fairy Tales to Hans Christian Andersen to John Fowles' The Magus, this is both a literate homage to the art of storytelling and a gripping story in its own right. The tale of two boa ...more
This is one of my favorite of Peter Straub's novels. It's a creepy take on the idea of the Sorcerer's Apprentice -- only in this case, the sorcerer may be more dangerous than anything his apprentice can cook up. There are loads of references to fairy tales here, which are fun to try to place, and I love the way that Straub makes it difficult to figure out what's real magic and what's just sleight of hand.
Gregor Xane
This was really a good book except for one scene involving Bugs Bunny. Bugs Bunny? Come on, someone should have told Mr. Straub to cut this scene. It added nothing and detracted from the overall mood of the book.
Nora Black
Often-times, the less fashionable is subjugated to the lower shelves of desirability, than the in-thing. In this way Peter Straub's tour-de-force- “Shadowland”, has been relegated to the untalked-about, the lesser-known realms of fantasy and magic. Making it a work that, sadly, few of the younger generation have read.

If the now people, readers of Erin Morgenstern, Casandra Clare and Suzanne Collins, opened their minds, they would discover MAGIC comparable to any flights of fantasy the aforement
I read this book when I was a kid in high school. It is truely a horror about a boy who went to a school and finds an underlying secret club that practices real magic. It is done in subtle details and is why I constantly believe Peter Straub is a true magician with words himself. The story is told with such realism and the writing itself is lively, most particular the scene in which the boy is nailed to the wall. Perhaps, in the author's own study, I would go as far to believe there is a Number ...more
Kevin Lucia
Such a joy to re-read. One of those tales that alternatively leaves you gasping in awe, and feeling just the tiniest bit of despair, because you know it's impossible ever to match this as an author. But even so, loved it, and I'm still also amazed how much of my early reading of Straub played such a huge influence on me when I was first finding my "sea legs"...
Jan 08, 2014 John rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: horror
I have a love/hate relationship with Peter Straub. I love him for his beginnings and hate him for his endings. (Except in regard to GHOST STORY, which was pretty darn good all the way through.)
As is often the case with a Straub novel, for the first 150 pages I was thinking, "This is fantastic!" It felt like reading something that Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker collaborated on.
That was the honeymoon phase of the book.
I have a lot of respect for Straub because his work is alw
Chris Meger
This book is essentially a rehash of pretty much every other horror coming of age book. It's competent, but that's about it.
Will Waller
The final words of the book are "I turned back to walk across the ruins of Shadowland to my car." Thus ends one of the worst books I've read thus far. Is it bad because at times the plot settles into some fantastic journey into the mind of the sorcerer that the reader loses track of reality in the midst of fantasy? Is it bad because the symbolism of eerie houses, birds, songs, audiences, hearing voices (all of which could be simple and clear thematic elements to a horror book) become a boring an ...more
Tee Jay
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I wanted to like this book. It had many elements that appealed to me: a dark and creepy private school, a fatherless boy who wanted to learn real magic, an eccentric uncle with a luxurious private estate, mystery, horror, fairy tales...

But unfortunately, it didn't live up to my hopes. The story plodded along endlessly. It didn't even get to the main premise of the book until about 150 pages in, and then it turned out to be mostly a surreal echo of the events that had gone before. The structure w
Rick Soper
This is one of my favorite books. There are just so many layers to it, some which are explained, and some that aren't, but in the end you just don't care because there so many visual images that get buried into your head that the entire experience of the book is just overwhelming. Uncle Coleman's tales just get under your skin. And whatever that thing is in Skeleton's room makes me shudder. And what the Grimm brothers are doing just popping up in the middle of thing, I'll never understand. But i ...more
I read this on a train trip up to Vermont. I didn't realize before the trip that it was partly set in Vermont. So, it was a pleasant and fitting surprise. I'd wanted to read it ever since I was ten, when I saw the ad for it in the back of the "Darkfall" (Dean Koontz) paperback I was reading. It held up to the promise I'd expected, although I think it's better I read it so many years later, as an adult. My child self wouldn't have been patient enough to read this. Straub's style is too sophistica ...more
Leah Bayer
I really wanted to love this book. I adore Peter Straub, and so many people have told me that this is their favorite of his books. Alas, it was just not for me. It did have my favorite of his literary quirks, the book-in-the-book that's actually about the book (so meta, and at its best in The Hellfire Club), but it was significantly toned down here.

My main issue is that I just didn't find it scary. While Ghost Story kept me up at night, I found myself skimming the last 10% of Shadowland in an at
Mark W. Coulter
I normally enjoy Straub's writing and stories, but this one just didn't do it for me.

Part of it is that I was looking to read a good, old-fashioned horror novel like I haven't read in a while, and this falls more into the category of disjointed dark fantasy. But even in that case, it fell short for me in a few ways and couldn't even draw me into that type of story. I will say that there are some artful prose that are well done, and even that some of the tales couched inside could have been very
Sam Reader

"Long ago, when we all lived in the forest..."

And Peter Straub Month is brought to a smashing close with Shadowland. There is one sentence I can use to describe this book, one that I'm surprised I'm using, but one that makes perfect sense:

Shadowland is what would happen if Lev Grossman hadn't failed when he wrote The Magicians.

Now, that's a bold statement. And as a bold statement, it deserves some backing up, so here goes: With Shadowland, Peter Straub takes a few traditional concepts-- child
Garrett Bing
Shadowland is, by a wide margin, my favorite novel. I have read it at least five times now, and I get more out of each experience. Straub has accomplished something with Shadowland that I think is greatly under-appreciated by many readers: he has written a book that instilled me with a joyful compulsion to read it over and over again.

Shadowland, like many of Straub's works, is made powerful by what is left unsaid. There is magic here, but it is hinted at and seen out of the corners of the reader
Shadowland tells the story of Tom Flanagan and his friend Del Nightingale. Tom and Del are two friends who are bonded by magic and the miseries they suffer in an all boys school- and later on by the terrors they experience at the hands of Del's crazy and evil magician uncle. The school has its charter of traditions, all seemingly based upon strict discipline, which is in turn upheld by an incompetent and angry headmaster. All elements of horror are pretty much absent from the first part of the b ...more
Isaac Blevins
I attempted this novel years ago after reading the author's fantastic Ghost Story. It didn't grab me then. Looking for something Halloween-appropriate, I picked it up once again. I must say, this book requires some investing - Straub litters the chapters with references to fairytales that really should be known before one begins the book. The tales are only mentioned by name, not fully rehashed...and they aren't always the most familiar fairy tales. When was the last time you read Goose Girl fro ...more
This was very engaging most of the way through.
I was sorry I read it slowly because I lost the thread between the current characters and the past.
Or maybe that wasn't my fault....
I loved this book! It's such a great story and mystery. I cared about the characters and really enjoyed the journey I went on with them. It was one of those books that when I got finished, I really missed being in that world with them, even though their world at the end of the book there was pretty horrifying.

I have to say though, that if you're looking for a book to scare your pants off, and do it right from the beginning and often, this book probably isn't the one you want. Everyone is differ
This book just couldn't hold my attention. I only finished it because a good friend rated it 5 stars. Perhaps my short attention span or poor 'suspension of disbelief' is to blame, but I did not enjoy it at all. I constantly found myself thinking about other things while reading. The story was really out there, and seemed to drag on forever.

Basically, two high school boys (Tom & Del) become friends. Del loves magic, and after a year of weird/ mysterious things happening at their school, the
C. Lorion
First read Shadowland back in the early '80s when I was 14 or 15 years old and I loved it. Reread it a couple years ago, but don't remember much of that reread, think I rushed through it. Now rereading a third time and loving every minute of it. Rich in atmosphere and texture, slow build-up, great payoff at the end. One of my all-time favorites.
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Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 2 March, 1943, the first of three sons of a salesman and a nurse. The salesman wanted him to become an athlete, the nurse thought he would do well as either a doctor or a Lutheran minister, but all he wanted to do was to learn to read.

When kindergarten turned out to be a stupefyingly banal disappointment devoted to cutting animal shapes out of heavy
More about Peter Straub...
Ghost Story Floating Dragon Koko The Hellfire Club Lost Boy Lost Girl

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“You'll never get anything done if you walk around with an unchipped heart.” 13 likes
“To do magic, to do great magic, he has to know himself as a piece of the universe.

A piece of the universe?

A little piece that has all the rest of it in it. Everything outside of him is also inside of him.”
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