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Shadow Magic

(Shadow Magic #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,626 ratings  ·  368 reviews
Thorn, an outlaw's son, wasn't supposed to be a slave. He's been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they're headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.

Lilith Shadow wasn't supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long lin
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 12th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
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Joshua Khan Of course! Can't give too many details away about DREAM MAGIC except it's out in April 17, but the cover's up so you can gather a few hints of what Li…moreOf course! Can't give too many details away about DREAM MAGIC except it's out in April 17, but the cover's up so you can gather a few hints of what Lily and Thorn will be up against next...(less)
Joshua Khan Three right now. Shadow Magic (out), Dream Magic (April 2017), Burning Magic (April 2018).

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  1,626 ratings  ·  368 reviews

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Rick Riordan
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's not really fair for me to recommend this yet, because you won't be able to buy it until it comes out in April, but I would highly recommend you keep it on your long-term radar.

Have you ever started reading a book thinking, 'Oh, well, I may not like it but I'll give it a try,' then quickly found yourself sucked into the story and thinking, 'Holy Hera, this is good!' That was my experience with Shadow Magic. It's told from the alternating perspectives of Thorn, the wayward son of an outlaw, a
Dec 11, 2017 added it
Quitting halfway through. Other than the opening scene at the slave market everything has been really generic middle grade fantasy. I feel like I can predict the "revelations" that are going to happen re: the characters' heritage etc. Nothing particularly stands out about them or the writing. If you are young and haven't read a lot of fantasy, this is probably a satisfactory if mediocre read, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it for grown ups, or even kids who've read a lot of the genre already ...more
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Now this was a fun book! Shadow Magic has all the stuff I love in my escape. The writing is seriously fantastic with it's crisp storytelling, the characters are imaginative, witty and wonderfully wicked and the world has me craving for more! This goes right up there with Harry Potter and Percy Jackson! I can't wait for book two!! Highly recommended!
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoy fast paced sword and sorcery, this will be an impossible high fantasy novel to put down. The characters are compelling, the world building is well-crafted, and the plot is riveting. The fantasy reminded me of Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series while the twists and turns of the plot brought Jennifer Nielsen's The False Prince to mind. Recommended for those middle grade readers who are on the lookout for the next series to read after Harry Potter.
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's been a really long time since I've read a middle grade fantasy that kept me enthralled and was original. Shadow Magic restored my faith in middle grade fantasy.
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It. Is. AMAZING!!!!!!! The plot and characters are well developed. And it is a fun book to read.
Christina Getrost
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
A fun middle-grade fantasy, series starter. For fans of Harry Potter or "Lord of the Rings lite," this book is set in a unique land, with various kingdoms, and there are different magic abilities for each of the royal families. The main character, Thorn, gets taken to Castle Gloom as a slave/apprentice to the royal executioner. Castle Gloom is where the Shadow family lives, currently ruled by the princess Lily--but as girls are forbidden to practice magic, she is frustrated by that restriction. ...more
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Family, and found family, and giant bats. Adorable and perilous. This is more traditionally in the Fantasy Tropes way than the author's other stuff, but he still finds a way to spin it to unusual and interesting. (For example, the necromancer isn't necessarily the bad guy in this story.)
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
SECOND BOOK FOF BOOKTUBATHON DONE! This was so fun. Very Game of Thrones for a middle grade novel. I loved the setting of Castle Gloom though I did find the inclusion of the love triangle unnecessary (personally could have done with out any romance in this book honestly).
Claire Grassman
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended by three authors I love--Rick Riordin, Cinda Williams Chima, & Rachel Hawkins--I could NOT wait to dig into this fantasy fiction.

A Princess of Shadows, her unlikely bond with a slave, Sorcery, Necromancy, and, oh, a giant bat I fell in love with all combine into a fast-paced story that I couldn't put down. Though it's a middle-grade fiction, the depth of the characters and layers of conflict give this adult-level interest. Excellent writing, too! I especially liked the dark h
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very good start to a new YA series about 7 kingdoms and the young adults getting read to rule them. The characters are appealing and well drawn and the writing is first-rate.

Thorn, a scrappy kid from a poor family, is kidnapped by slavers and on sale when he meets the chief executioner of the Shadow Kingdom. The Shadows wield dark magic, raising ghosts and zombies to do their fighting for them. Not a natural place for Thorn who grew up in the forest and has a fearsome set of skills for living
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantsy lovers who like strong female characters
I read this because Rick Riordan recommended it. I was skeptical since both use the same publisher, but there was a lot of originality in this title. Hades was probably my favorite animal in this story. I loved Thorn and his loyalty to those he loves, especially his Dad. K'leef is also a great character. Lilly of course, is really wonderful. She grows during the story and changes, which can be an indication of an excellent book. Lilly is no spoiled princess, content to let others carry out all t ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kids and YA in need of a short-and-sweet mystery/fantasy
THIS BOOK...I don't even know what to say about it. I loved it. So very, very much.

This book follows the intertwining stories of runaway Thorn and Lilith, the 13-year-old Queen of Shadows. From the beginngin, I could relate to Lily's spunky and defiant attitude--definitely not how you would think a queen would act. Her determination combined with Thorn's wit and confidence made for a magical story that's impossible to put down. And a giant bat? The perfect touch.
Overall, the book was beautifully
Ashley DiNorcia
May 29, 2017 marked it as dnf
Alright, I'm just not getting into this. To be fair, (view spoiler) ...more
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars!
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are reading this comment (which you obviously are because you know..) I should just let you know that this book made Joshua Khan my second favourite author after J.K Rowling (it's THAT good) and I DEMAND YOU TO READ IT RIGHT NOW. It's awesome.
The Keepers of the Books
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Captured by slavers while trying to locate his father, Thorn is purchased by Tyburn, an executioner who works for the House Shadow. Agreeing to work a year and a day in exchange for his freedom, Thorn heads to Castle Gloom with Tyburn. There, he meets Lily Shadow. Except for her drunk of an uncle, her family was all recently murdered by a group of assassins. Tyburn managed to kill all but one and now that assassin seems to be back to murder Lily and Lily's betrothed may be the one who hired them ...more
Hannah Belyea
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thorn, sold to the executioner of Castle Gloom, soon finds himself helping the young Queen of Gehenna, Lilith Shadow, solve the mystery of what happened to her murdered parents and how she can get out of a horrible marriage! Khan begins a morbidly sharp and witty trilogy that will have fans of dark fantasy begging for more with its spectacular lore, cast and magic. The greatest secrets are laying within the deepest shadows of a kingdom lost in the dark arts...
Lauren (Northern Plunder)
My review was first posted on Northern Plunder, you can read more of my reviews there too.

It's been a long time since I've read something thats middle grade and at first this provided a few issues for me simply because I kept forgetting the main characters were only 12 / 13 and that meant the way they were acting - childish, not thinking things through, etc - were completely fitting for them.

However once I got past this and firmly remembered that yes these are just children that I'm reading abou
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Read this aloud to my 9 year old. There's magic and mystery and dark versus light (the Shadow family versus the Solar an interesting twist that I'm still uncertain how I feel about it...the Shadows (dark) are the good guys and the Solar family are not so good). It's a fun story with a ginormous bat and some fun twists. It was interesting because near the end, you discover who killed Lilly Shadow's parents. The person who did it proclaims that he did it for the good of Gehenna. He say ...more
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There is a lot of middle-grade fantasy that sounds pretty cool, that goes onto my ever-burgeoning “to-read” pile without a second thought. But Shadow Magic came with blurbs from two of my Top Five Favorite Authors (Cinda Williams Chima and Jonathan Stroud), so I bumped it up and read it right away. And yeah, it lives up to those blurbs.

Shadow Magic takes place in a richly imagined fantasy world that I cannot wait to explore. There are six kingdoms ruled by six great houses, but with the addition
Lori Murray
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this story a lot it had me laughing like crazy. The characters of Thorn, Lilith, and K’leef were so fantastic and I loved all three of their friendship. Thorn and K’leef were so great when they were around Lilith or even when it was just those two around one another. I loved how Thorn didn't believe that K’leef did what he was accused of and he did what he had to in order to help K’leef. Lilith I really liked because she did what she feels is right even if it does get her as well ...more
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For those who love the kingdom of darkness, large bats named Hades, and an underdog that can turn out to be the hero, this is the perfect book for you. I absolutely loved it. Thorn, a young slave sold to the dreaded executioner, wants more than anything to be free,. Lillith, the new ruler of her kingdom since her parents were murderer, wants nothing more than not to have to marry the arrogant prince of light. Together they begin an adventure that will mean the salvation of a kingdom or the end o ...more
Alyson Kent
Absolutely loved this book. Engaging characters, friendships, betrayal, a girl learning to step into her unwanted role as leader, a Robin Hood type character who does what's right no matter what the cost is to him, and a giant bat named Hades. I want a giant bat named Hades. I can't wait to be able to recommend this book to my patrons and my friends. Thank you, Netgalley, for granting me an ARC. One complaint. I really hope that the formatting for the ebook gets fixed before publication, because ...more
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan, Hardcover review, paperback coming out March 14, 2017
Best Middle School book of 2016! (in my humble opinion) All takes place at Castle Gloom where there are secret passages, magic, vampires, monsters, zombies and a giant flying bat (of course it comes with a saddle) to lead three 13 years old on an absolute thrill ride.
Heather Burns-Schmidtke
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommend, recommend, recommend!!!! Excellent writing, wonderful character development, good twist at the end. This title should be on every library shelf and highly promoted to young readers who want a fast paced, addictive read. Sorcerers, magic, heroes and bats!!! What more could you ask for. Definitely putting Mr. Khan on my read-everything-he-writes list.
This was read as an ARC through for an honest review.
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This exciting adventure was published April 2016. Thorn, a slave looking for his dad, and Lily, a princess who lost her family, meet in a world of magic, zombies, and a giant bat. Who killed her family? Who poisoned the goblet? This story has many twists and turns and has a difficult mystery to solve.
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was surprisingly light hearted and inspiring for a plot containing necromancy, specters and the undead. A, dare I say, heart warming (?) coming of age - in a really creepy setting! (....With the help of some unlikely friends, 12 year old heroine finds her strength in overcoming trials...) Fun middle grade adventure book for today's kids who can stomach the company of zombies.
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shadow Magic reviews state that all Harry Potter lovers will love this book...
I enjoyed this book. It was well written, had a good flow and and it kept you interested.
Was it like Harry Potter? No, but I am glad of that. This was completely different, but still a wonderful book to read. Wonderful characters!!! Thorn and Hades are an awesome team whom you totally fall in love with.
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great book for middle readers. Adults will catch on to the secret (as may younger readers) but despite that, the action and intrigue carry the reader through to the end. Loved the strong female protagonist, Lily, and her realm of shadows.
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Writes a bit about goth princesses, outlaws and giant bats. And zombies.

Lives in London but would rather live in a castle and is a lot less scary in real life than his photo would suggest.

Other books in the series

Shadow Magic (3 books)
  • Dream Magic (Shadow Magic, #2)
  • Burning Magic (Shadow Magic, #3)

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