Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Shadow Magic #1

The Magic Shop

Rate this book
Marcus Fith doesn't believe in magic. And why should he? Marcus and his twin sister, Ellie, live in the loft above their grandparents magic shop, and he's all too familiar with the hand buzzers, card tricks, and fake vomit kits. So, imagine his shock when he stumbles upon his grandfather hiding something in a secret room in the magic shop -- the one that all the rumors are about. Join Marcus and Ellie as they unravel a laundry list of family secrets, and are thrown into a world they never knew existed. Not only is the family business is a front, but Marcus has to develop his powers before the Dun-Bahr find him and assimilate the magic he was born to protect. Will they survive? Will they find their parents? First Marcus and Ellie must discover the secret their grandparents have been keeping from them all these years. It all comes down to what's hidden at the Magic Shop.

524 pages, Paperback

First published July 4, 2013

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Justin was born with an active imagination on a U.S. naval base in Spain, but has spent most of his life in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains of Utah. He is bilingual, and has lived all over the world. He has four children; two boys, and two girls, and one wife. He doesn't have any pets that he's aware of, but his children have been known to hide things under his bed.

In his free time Justin loves to read, write, and play games. He enjoys his close friends, and loves to make people laugh. To learn more about Justin, or his work, you can visit him at www.justinswapp.com

Justin is the author of The Magic Shop. He has also been published in several anthologies, including The Crimson Pact (Volumes 1, 2, and 5), The Memory Eater, and Short Sips: Coffee House Flash Fiction Collection 2.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
62 (38%)
4 stars
45 (27%)
3 stars
31 (19%)
2 stars
15 (9%)
1 star
8 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 66 reviews
Profile Image for Yesha- Books Teacup and Reviews.
650 reviews128 followers
October 13, 2018
*** Note: I received a review copy from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. I am glad I got a chance to read this book. ***

3.5 Stars

Story revolves around Fith family and their secrets, twin sibling- Marcus and Ellie, The Magic Shop, magical world, and lots of adventure. I will say more about characters here than magic because characters and magic in the book was of equal importance and if I talk more about magic it will spoil the book.

Marcus was irresponsible, reckless boy who was not listening to his grandparents and not understanding what actually family means. All he could see the struggle they were having because of not enough money and his electronic gadgets. He never liked magic and so never liked to work at their shop.

Ellie was bookworm who loved reading, so you can see, she was easily likable, plus she cared for her brother Marcus and always watching his back. She was responsible and more understanding.

Grandparents were too much secretive about thongs that they should have shared before but as story progressed I understood why they kept so many secrets.

Uncle Caleb, Aunt Anabell and antagonists were surprise package in the book. Actually all characters were unpredictable specially Markus. All secondary characters played a good role I could understand them better than main characters Marcus and Ellie.

At the end of the story it was like I have seen only one side of these siblings, it’s just the beginning and might know more in further books of this series.

What I Liked-
Epigraph with Percy Jackson quote. Whee!! Nothing is better than that.

Wonderful magical world and concept. The descriptions of magic, magical creature and artifacts was beautifully written. It was easy to imagine all things. Little myths thrown here and there in the book was interesting. Best part of the book was when Elba explained everything to Marcus. I won’t tell who Elba was, it will spoil the fun of reading those chapters but that was best and most interesting part of the book. Tests of Marcus gave the idea along with characters what was going on. I like it when I and characters walk at same pace through the story. I loved the lesson behind those tests about choice of being good or bad and how bad choices affects even after death.

Bonding of Marcus and Ellie was great. Few of Marcus’ remarks were rude but his sarcastic nature made the book little lighter. Magical action scenes were exciting. If book didn’t have that excitement I would have cut more stars and I’m glad author didn’t disappoint me here.

Second half of the book was pretty fast than the first one. I flew through pages like fastest magic was at work. Loved this second part. It was like information flooding in this half. Everything came at once and enjoyed all those information. I was waiting for this from very beginning and I think this will be most essential part of whole series. Unimaginable twist and turns. Even characters turned out totally unexpected. If the whole book would have been like this second half, I definitely have given it full 5 stars.

End– Awesome climax and just perfect ending. Loved that last twist.

Why I didn't give 5 Stars-
First half of the book- It took me little while to get into book. To be exact I liked book more after Ellie and Marcus paid second visit to their uncle at mental hospital. Till that it was little bit slow because I didn’t like the way Marcus was behaving and all secrecy of magic by their grandparents. It was hard to feel related to characters till that point. Plus I felt irritated at some point. I was like what we are waiting for! Just get to the point.

Second thing that I’m still thinking after finishing book, why Elba didn’t explain magic to Ellie, she took test of Markus only why not Ellie? It was clear that she was same like Marcus and if she was different, what kind of magic she had! So the Ellie thing was very unclear and book was more focused on Marcus than her. I hope in second book I will get the answers for these questions.

This book could be more fun if there was humor in it.

Overall, different concept with exciting magical adventure. I don’t want to end this adventure here and would like to read second book of the series, The Shadow’s Servant. Fantasy magic book lovers would like to read this book.
Profile Image for megHan.
604 reviews84 followers
April 14, 2014
I had a lot of fun with this book. Twins (a boy and a girl) who live with their grandparents - and their grandparents own a magic shop. The story begins at the end of school, the last day before summer begins ... and when they had home that day, the adventure begins.

This is a great book to share with the middle school kids in your lives, especially if they like magic. I loved the characters, very real and interesting to get to know. The take on magic was interesting as well. And, of course, the little bit of mystery was great fun to figure out.

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Spence.
212 reviews3 followers
August 5, 2015
My son read this book, here is his review:

This book was absolutely amazing! Once I started, I couldn't stop. I was on the edge of my seat at times. Great cliffhangers. Very imaginative, creative, and, of course, magical. Can't wait for the next one!!!

March 12, 2021
Good book

This had a concept of magic that I hadn’t seen before. Very interesting read. I would like to read more and look forward to the next book.
Profile Image for Digit.
98 reviews
September 23, 2013
The plot was okay, but there was little depth. It read like a bulleted checklist with no meat in between. At times, there were holes where the reader got confused and didn't really understand what was going on. I'd try this author again, but this one feels like a very early version.
Profile Image for Nick.
964 reviews16 followers
September 18, 2018
The story was good, took a little while to get into but once it did it was a fun ride with some good characters. Leaves things open nicely for more too.

The narrator did voices well, his normal voice had an odd slightly nasal tone and occasionally a clipped kind of speech which took a bit of getting used to. The music at chapters was nice but carried on too loudly as the narrator started to speak but luckily not for too long so it didn't interfere with the story too badly.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
857 reviews13 followers
September 25, 2022
Wow! This was a great book! Marcus and Ellie are twins who live with their grandparents. Told their parents were killed, the only other family they know is an aunt and uncle, whom they visit in the state sanitarium once a month, though Marcus really dislikes the visits. Their home is attached to the family store, where they sell magic items, though business has been really slow lately and the family struggles financially. One day, Marcus discovers a secret room with all sorts of items. While Marcus and Ellie are watching the shop, a gentleman comes in and asks for the back room. Thinking he means the secret room, Marcus and Ellie take him into it, then sell the gentleman a skull. What Marcus and Ellie did not realize is that that one simple act will catapult them into the middle of a family feud and lead them to discover that magic is real.

This was such a good book. I loved the drip, drip of the worldbuilding and the cryptic answers that Winston, Marcus' and Ellie's grandfather would give to questions they would ask, if he answered them at all. The amount of information that was hidden from Marcus and Ellie, for their protection, sure, but still hidden, ended up causing so many problems for the family. Normally, I get very frustrated with plots driven by information that has been withheld from the protagonist. In this case, though, the reasons that are eventually revealed for why Winston and Charlotte withheld the information from Marcus and Ellie make sense, and though much could have been avoided if they had told the children more earlier, I can also understand why they didn't.

As for how the story ended. Wow. Just wow. I did not see that coming. What I thought would happen ended up not happening and what did happen was just ... mean. It was mean of the author to do that to me. Thankfully, book 2 is already out, so I will be able to find out what happened.

For this book, I listened to the audiobook. The narrator, Steve Barnes, did a good job. I didn't really like his voice, but that is just my personal preference on my part; his performance was good, and my dislike of his voice isn't strong enough to prevent me from listening to book 2.
Profile Image for Jennifer Goebel.
Author 5 books8 followers
August 5, 2013
Marcus and Ellie live with their grandparents, and don't always see eye-to-eye with them. When Marcus gets in trouble at school, his grandparents decide he and Ellie both need to take responsibility by working in the family magic store, a dull, dusty place. When Marcus finds his grandfather going into a secret room, he discovers that the Magic Shop's shabby exterior is a front for a real magical world that exists all around them. Marcus accidentally sells a very valuable artifact to a stranger, setting in motion a chain of events he never would have imagined. Swapp's fast-paced adventure takes unpredictable twists and turns, as Marcus and Ellie are suddenly immersed in a world filled with dark secrets and dangerous characters.

Great story for kids (and adults) who love magic and adventure!
Profile Image for Robin Halvorson.
404 reviews3 followers
February 1, 2017
Okay, narration was great, story was good, it was done well enough that I want the next book in the series. I must have gotten drawn in because I wanted to slap Marcus around for some of the less than wise things he did!

Profile Image for David Munch.
80 reviews2 followers
September 26, 2019
The Magic Shop by Justin Swapp is the story of the teenage orphan Marcus, who lives with his sister and grand parents. The grand parents own a magic shop, which sells trinkets and other sleight of hand tricks, and most of Marcus’ daily life is relatively uninteresting. As it turns out, the magic shop is not all it seems to be, and his grand parents harbour secrets which they keep to themselves, and Marcus and his sisters life is turned upside down. They also regularly visit the local asylum where his aunt and uncle is located, and here things are also a bit strange.

The book is well written, and it has a nice flow to it. Most things are clearly described, and while I would have liked a tad more descriptive prose now and then, it is quite a minor thing. Story wise it was good, albeit a bit too generic young adult fantasy.
I really liked the beginning of the book, as it set things up nicely, and created some open questions, especially with regards to the nature of the magic shop. Unfortunately, it dragged on way too long, so it took way too long for the plot to really pick up the pace. As a reader, you are well aware that there’s something more to the magic shop, but the main character Marcus is extremely gullible to the point where I just laughed at how far out it was. He’s getting continuous hints of magic being a real thing in this world, just short of unicorns jumping up and down in front of him with signs saying ‘Magic is real!’, and despite this, he keeps just putting of everything as being normal. To me it felt as if there was a huge box of fireworks with ‘PLOT’ written on its side in most scenes, and every time the characters took a match to light the box up, the flame went out. Also, the grand parents start out seeming nice, but act more and more irrationally as the story progresses, and at the end of the book they came out as some of the most arrogant people I’ve ever read about, and I whole heartedly disliked them, which I don’t think was the authors intention. In a large part the grand parents are at the core of my problem with the book, as their actions keep making me getting disappointed in yet another outset of getting the plot developed.
Fortunately the last half of the book picked up the pace significantly, and the ending set things up nicely for the sequel. If the beginning had been shortened (Which could easily have been remedied by the grand parents going "Okay, well, you are old enough to learn, so this is how things are"), I would have given it another star. In addition, the sisters role was quite underdeveloped, and it would have made things a tad more interesting if we had her character developed more. She was generally just a sidekick throughout the entire book.

As I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Steve Barnes, my perception of the book was somewhat swayed by the narration. Steve turns out to be a very good reader, with a clear voice and is excellent at tuning his tones to make up different discerniblele characters. My only but, it that his voice is too dramatic all the time. He’s reading as if danger is going to happen every single second. Like, when you are watching a movie, and there’s a brooding music in the background. For tense scenes this is perfect, but for an entire book it is way too much.

Overall, not completely up to my taste, but if you are into young adult books, chances are that you’ll like this one. 3/5 from me.

I received this audiobook for free, in return for a review.
Profile Image for Joshua Lawson.
45 reviews1 follower
August 27, 2019
*Edited after reading The Shadow's Servant. The parts I'm striking from the original review are marked as spoilers instead. If you care, this will give a view into how my review evolved after reading further in the series.*

I am going to divide this review into two parts - an objective review of what is a solid YA fantasy novel, and my subjective thoughts based on my own tastes.

Objectively this is a pretty good YA fantasy novel, targeted I think to young teens and following most of the normal conventions. Kid discovers he's more than he knew, goes on a journey into unknown territory, tastes both darkness and light, runs into fantastical things along the way, and comes out of it more mature. There are enough minor twists to keep it interesting enough for older and younger readers/listeners alike. This is a good start to a series for young fans of magic and adventure. +After reading further, I'll double down on this; it's an awful lot of fun once you get into it.

My subjective opinions are from the perspective of a middle-age adult. I struggled to get fully interested in where the story was going until half way through. There were a half dozen times or more that I threw up my hands in frustration because someone did something illogical for what seemed like no reason other than to lead into the next confrontation. This, more than anything was the biggest hurdle for me, and I maintain that the real villains of this story are the grandparents for many of these moments. +After reading further in the series, it's clear this was an intentional choice and I've come to view my frustrations as investment in the characters. It doesn't make the first half of this book less frustrating, but it is worth soldiering on if you feel the same!

I give the book an even 4 stars. It is right in the wheelhouse for YA fantasy amd I think the book accomplishes what it sets out to do, and the series gets better from here. Would selectively recommend to fantasy-loving middle-grade teens.

Note: I received a free copy of the audio book with encouragement for an honest review, and picked up the kindle edition separately.
9 reviews
May 31, 2019
I got this book free for an honest review so I didn't really know what to expect. After completing this book I was pleasantly surprised.

This book follows two teenage siblings, Marcus and Ellie, whose grandparents own a magic shop. As punishment for misbehaving in school they run the magic shop over summer break. Soon after being employed at the shop they start to discover weird things, people, and their grandparents begin to act strange when asked questions. Alas, they discover that magic is real and a dangerous surprise is awaiting them and their family.

Personally, I believe this book is heavily influenced by Harry Potter, which is great because I love HP. It follows your typical YA tropes; possibly a chosen one (not sure yet); An internal struggle between good and evil for the main character (when using magic); the magicians talk in that wizardly code so you never really know what they are saying; there is a dragon.

One cool thing about this book is that magic is harnessed and you don't have to be a magic wielder to use it, any normal human can use it.

One thing I disliked about the book is the magic system was never really explained, so they we know that the characters can use magic to battle, we don't really know where magic comes from or how it is used. But I feel like the next book may answer some questions and am excited to read it!
Profile Image for Mojoreb.
24 reviews2 followers
April 20, 2017
The Magic Shop was a fantastic and magical(get it?) adventure that is sure to thrill younger audiences and even older ones as well.

I had a great time following Marcus and Elle's adventures as they uncovered a world hidden away and abilities they didn't know they had. Marcus and Elle were likeable and charming protagonists that made some mistakes as the book progresses and I found their growth as they realized what they had just done to be well done. The supporting characters each had their own charm and quirks and the narrator in the audiobook did a great job of giving each one a unique voice. But the real star of the book is the creative world that Swapp creates. While it does borrow some elements from other books, I felt that it did enough to differentiate itself from other books and also immerse you in the world. The plot does take a bit to pick up, in my opinion, but once it does it does not stop. The book has some twists that keep the plot from becoming predictable and I was surprised by some of the dark secrets that awaited.

In conclusion, The Magic Shop was a ton of fun. The likeable protagonists, enchanting world, and twisting plot separate the book from other books of this genre.

I was given a free audiobook by the author in exchange for a review.
Profile Image for Kitty_ranma.
498 reviews11 followers
August 12, 2017
Audio version. Magical twins coming into their magic. This started a little slow but it quickly picked up. It's also a cliffhanger, I hadn't known it was a part 1.
The narrator makes the story come to life, he has a soft compelling voice.
This audiobook was given to me for free at my request from the publisher or author or narrator and I provided this voluntary review.
Reasons I enjoyed this book:
Action-packedEasy-to-readEntertainingOriginalPage-turnerUnpredictable WhimsicalWonderful characters
2 reviews
January 18, 2019
This was such a great book and it really had a different twist on magic. Normally magic is accompanied with a wand but Justin Swapp was able to reinvent the idea. The characters were well thought out and developed through the story. I never felt lost as the story developed and I don't feel there were any holes in the storyline. The book had witty humor, lots of action and a great twist in the end. The narrator was wonderful and really made the book come alive. Overall I am very happy with the book and I have already started The Shadow's Servant ( Book 2)
385 reviews52 followers
June 30, 2017
As Marcus and Ellie finished their school year, they began working in the family business... The Magic Shop... and they quickly find out that there is much more to magic than just parlor tricks.

There are so many twists and turns in the storyline that I just couldn't put it down. I can't wait for the next book to find out what happens next!

A wonderful story by Justin Swapp and fantastic narration by Steve Barnes.
186 reviews11 followers
April 21, 2019
I enjoyed this audiobook. It was a fun ride that started slow and quickly built speed and tension. The narration was similar to what you would expect in a whispered story around a camp fire. The magic system has its own unique quirks. All together it made for an intriguing start to a series that I will likely continue reading.

Disclaimer: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
Profile Image for Deedra.
3,779 reviews19 followers
May 21, 2017
Marcus and Elle are siblings raised by their Grandparents after their parents die.The grandparents own a Magic Shop.Little do the kids know, it is REAL magic and they are going to be dragged into the family business whether they believe it or not.Steve Barnes does a wonderful job narrating.I was provided this book by the author,narrator or publisher.
January 29, 2019
I was given a review copy of this audiobook in exchange for a voluntary and honest review.

This is a very good book. A little slow in the beginning but it picks up pretty quickly . A little different from other magic books in that the magic in this book has some dangers to it.
Production quality and narration was of high quality.
Profile Image for William.
358 reviews4 followers
October 5, 2019
I received a review copy of this book.

The story is fun, the characters hold my interest, and I'm curious art what's coming next in the series. It isn't a masterpiece of literature, but it's a fine example of YA Fantasy.
405 reviews5 followers
March 23, 2017
My god son wanted me to read this, and I can honestly say I loved it, the book has a rich mix of characters and mystery. Its a bit darker then I thought it would be, its like skipping to book 4 or 5 of HP.
I love the magic and action and how its not rushing but not taking it slow, This book for sure has its own take on magic. I love Tofu and how everyone ends up shocking you .
I received this title for free, in exchange for an unbiased review
347 reviews1 follower
March 3, 2021

A great book that isn't just for kids. A magical journey into the unknown with wild and strange happenings that I couldn't even imagine. Definitely worth reading.
Profile Image for Laura.
588 reviews
June 11, 2019
I received this book for free. I am voluntarily leaving this review and all opinions expressed herein are mine.

Here, twins Marcus and Ellie live with their grandparents, who own a magic shop. After receiving a review from their school teacher, their grandparents decide that the twins could use a little responsibility by working in the magic shop. The twins are less than thrilled with the idea. One day Marcus sees his grandfather take a customer to a secret room. He is curious about it. Marcus also sees there is a magic shop across the street with lines around the block - so what are they doing to pull in all these customers? One day, the twins are left alone in the shop when a customer makes a request for some unique magical items. Marcus takes him to his grandfather's secret room and sells one of the artifacts from the room, believing this will help his struggling family. However, when he tells his grandparents, he realizes how wrong he was and his family is not quite what had believed.

This is a book for the entire family. It has a lot of twists and turns as Marcus and Ellie try to help their grandparents and get the magical artifact Marcus sold back. This story is completely engaging as you learn about magic, how it used and it is more than just slight of hand. This is a wonderful magical adventure - highly recommend! Be warned - the story ends with a set up for the next book in the series [a soft cliffhanger].

I listened to this book - the narrator was superb. He has a magical voice with a variety of accents and knack for bringing each of the characters to life. He made a wonderful story even better.
Profile Image for Scott.
159 reviews1 follower
April 4, 2019
This was a good read. Characters seems a bit under developed. I'll have to find the next installment to see if they grow. Seems like it took along time to tell the story. A few twist and turns but only one truly shocking development. All in all pretty entertaining.
March 6, 2017
Absolutely fantastic read! Justin Swapp has a way of engaging you, drawing you into the story and keeping you guessing. It's a phenomenal ride! And if you like audiobooks, the narration is wonderfully done! It's really hard to find narration that's as great as the story content, but this narrator was spot on and made the book that much more enjoyable. Definitely worth a read whatever format you choose!
Profile Image for M.C. Muhlenkamp.
Author 3 books12 followers
January 28, 2015
I don't know where to start. The premise of the book is fantastic, and the characters are so quirky and individual you can't help liking them, or hating them respectively. I found myself rooting for Marcus the entire way through and the final battle is by far my favorite part of the book. The relationship between Marcus and Ellie (brother and sister) reminded me a lot of Fablehaven, the novel by Brandon Mull. As did the involvement of the grandparents. But the concept of the book is very different, a little bit darker even. I did find myself incredibly frustrated at times, not only because the author kept postponing information, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but also because of the reaction of some of the characters in regards to the main conflict. I also found that I figured out things way faster than the characters did. Things they should have realized sooner, obvious leads, and curveballs that I couldn't believe they missed several chapters before. A lot of the scenes were super engaging though, and the world building was very unique. It was a quick, entertaining read with interesting concepts.
January 12, 2017
Great for all ages. Entertaining. Unexpected twists.
The Magic Shop - The Shadow Magic Series Book 1 by Justin Swapp and narrated by Steve Barnes. I listened to the audio version of this book. This is a great story for adults and / or children. The audio version is 11 ½ hours of pure entertainment. Magic, adventures, action and unexpected twists will keep you listening to this story.
The main characters are Marcus and Ellie who live with their grandparents over their magic shop. The children don’t believe in real magic YET. But they soon discover the hidden room when they see their grandfather enter it (he does not know they are watching him). Without revealing any of the twists, I am sure you will want to read Book 2 to hear more of their adventures.
An original story. Entertaining.

I listened to the audio version which is great. The narrator does a great job at reading this book.
Profile Image for Linda Ulleseit.
Author 10 books122 followers
July 23, 2013
This novel begins as typical kids are in conflict with their grandparents, who are raising them. The grandparents decide Marcus and his sister, Ellie, would benefit from helping in the store that is the family business, the Magic Shop.

Marcus hates magic, but his interest blossoms as he gradually learns that the family business is a front for something much more dangerous, and as his own magic develops.

This novel is full of wonderful characters as well as plot twists that keep you wondering exactly who the good guys really are. Marcus and Ellie had wonderful adventures in The Magic Shop, and I can hardly wait for the next book of their adventures. If you loved Harry Potter, Fablehaven, or Percy Jackson, you will enjoy this book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 66 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.