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Shadow Magic

(Havemercy #2)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,024 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Led to victory by its magic-fueled Dragon Corps, Volstov has sent a delegation to its conquered neighbors to work out the long-awaited terms of peace. Among those in the party are the decorated war hero General Alcibiades and the formerly exiled magician Caius Greylace. But even this mismatched pair can’t help but notice that their defeated enemies aren’t being very cooper ...more
Paperback, 427 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Spectra Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,024 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Nov 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Will they or won't they?

This was my frustration with Shadow Magic. After sitting on my shelf unread for almost 2 years, I finally read Shadow Magic out of boredom. I read it in two great gulps over a weekend, because I had a pressing need to get to the end. Why? Plot? No. Great characters. No, actually. Great relationships? Not quite.

No, it was the Ross-and-Rachel factor. Will they or won't they? And I'll say, the payoff was not equal to the buildup.

I remember liking Havemercy, but I could barel
Feb 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-2018
I feel like this is a series that has the potential to be good, but consistently fails to hit the mark.

Where's the character development? We're introduced to Caius and Alcibiades, and a substantial part of the plot line revolves around their actions; but we start Caius's plot line with him deciding to be friends with Alcibiades, and we end with no sign that Alcibiades reciprocates this friendship? Even the last scene with (view spoiler)
Apr 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-edit
I really didn't think that I would love this book even more than Havemercy. Second books seem to have a tendency to be not quite as good as the first and third books in a trilogy, but then I guess this isn't strictly speaking a trilogy. Shadow Magic was an absolutely brilliant second novel from Jones and Bennett and has me desperate for more.

Within three pages I was desperately in love with Caius Greylace (the insane magician who makes a brief appearance in Havemercy) and shameless shipping a re
Dec 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gets three stars because of the lovely writing, often elegantly handled themes, fun setting (fake Japan FTW!), and Kouje, who was just super compelling and deserves the Samwise Gamgee award for being a fantastic servant character in a fantasy novel.

An enjoyable read, but I think Jones and Bennett need to work on constructing and executing better plots. This one was made up of pretty good elements - and so was actually much better than the plot of Havemercy - but even still too often the characte
Abi Walton
How is this book under M/M romance or even GLBT there is no romance in this novel. Yes there is the build up of will they won't they but then no reward! ?? Hanet wrote on Goodreads that she felt like the entire story was composed exclusively so that fan fiction could be written about it later and I completely agree I want to go and write my ending where we get to see Casius and Alcibiades living together on the farm (and don't worry thats no spoiler because it doesn't happen.) I really wanted th ...more
If you loved Havemercy, you will love this one as I did both, if you disliked Havemercy for whatever reason I would suggest to try something else since I see no reason this one will change your opinion;

If you are new to the authors, Shadow Magic follows the events in Havemercy but it has completely new characters so it can be read as a standalone.

Some characters from Havemercy have cameos, but here the four narrators, all men as in Havemercy are Alcibiades and Caius diplomats from Volstov (one a
Jan 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had a solid beginning and pretty satisfactory ending, but the middle drags. It was like the authors had just read a bunch of books on Kabuki theater and wanted to fit as much of it as possible into the book despite Kabuki not really fitting thematically with the rest of the story. The foreshadowing was weak at best; a small yet obvious Chekhov's Gun within the first quarter of the book, then a sudden reveal in the final quarter with nothing really leading up to it in-between. A good po ...more
Aug 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantas fans who have read Havemercy
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2009
In this standalone sequel to Havemercy, the authors first novel, a party of Volstovs has traveled to their vanquished foes homeland to negotiate a peace treaty. The action is split between four characters -- General Albecides, a swordsman and soldier, Caisus (sp), an effeminiate magician who is into clothes, the theater and bothering Albecides from the Volstov diplomatic party and Moromu, the current Emperor's brother and Kayou (sp) his friend and aide, who have escaped the palace and on the run ...more
Amy Aelleah
I'm kind of in a quandary about this book. On the one hand, it was well-written and enjoyable enough - even if the story was dragged on kind of needlessly and one of the characters, the one I liked the most on first introduction, grated on my nerves before the end of the story.


One of the main characters is casually transphobic, homophobic and sexist. The story itself is very, very low on women, much less important women. Two, maybe three, and that's pushing it, but there are a lot more rando
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good book, brilliantly written! I'm impressed that two so young could write a book of this standard when many fantasy writers much older than them can't manage it. Two brilliant authors who I hope keep writing for many years to come.

We follow four characters, the story told from all of their points of view. Mamoru, the Prince, deemed a traitor by his brother, Isuel, the Emperor. He and his servant run away from the Palace and most of their story is about their journey to get away
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-read-books
Well, I didn't think I'd read it that fast... suffice to say it was a page turner. (It helped that I didn't work this weekend.) I was a little put off at first that the second book in the trilogy wasn't going to include Thom and Rook but once I'd pushed myself to get through the first twenty or so pages I found I enjoyed Caius, Alcibiades, Mamoru and Kouje just as much. I'm definitely interested in what Jones and Bennett have for me in the third book. Highly Recommended.
I didn't think it was possible, but I love Shadow Magic even more then Havemercy, the debut novel from this young author team. Shadow Magic continues right after Volstov wins the war against Ke-Han, but with an entirely new set of characters. Two of the characters were on the fringes in Havemercy and two are entirely new, but Jones and Bennett prove that their flair with the character-driven novel isn't a fluke: they can create stunningly original people and put them in situations where they dev ...more
As soon as I finish this one, I’ll be working on reading Beautiful Creatures. Why oh why does Beryl always have to dare me to read gigantic bricks that look like lame attempts at Twilight?

Shadow Magic starts exactly where Havemercy ended: the century-long war between the Volstov and Ke-Han Empires is finally over, and Volstovic diplomats are negotiating (what they are negotiating is beyond my knowledge, maybe the terms of surrender or something).

I had first started to read Havemercy, the first t
Aug 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
This is probably my favorite book in this series??? Mostly because the setting Asian!! And I didn't hate any of the characters in this one, in the other three there was always one narrator that I wish I could have skipped.
The second novel by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett is one that I wanted to read badly, but It took me quite a long time to do it. The simple reason was that I was afraid that I wouldn't like the four new narrators. Especially Caius Greylace, because all I remembered from „Havemercy“ was that he was the creepy guy with the eye-scream aspect who could torture people with his mind. And then I started reading „Shadow Magic“ and the book had me the very moment that Caius chose that Alcibiades would ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Like Havemercy, Shadow Magic captured my attention from the very first page and held it throughout with its character narratives. In this novel, there are two narrators from Xi'an, the prince Mamoru and his servant Kouje, and two from Volstov, the delegates Caius and Alcibiades. After only seeing characters from Volstov in Havemercy, the inclusion of two of the Ke-Han with a broader, more sympathetic look at their culture and how they were affected by the war was very welcome. Mamoru and Kouje w ...more
First and foremost, I found all the characters quite lovable. The four main were enjoyable and completely different and none of them were that infuriating save for Kouje. We deal with the Ke-Han culture and, probably because I'm not at all inclined towards their traditions, have to deal with their troubles.

I didn't get as much as a sense of adventure from this books as the first, and I didn't get that much of a sense in the first! So that was unfortunate.

This was mainly a character driven stor
Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved the setting and the description of Ke-Han culture, and the culture-shock humor was reliably funny. I may even go as far as to say I liked the characters as much as or more than the characters of Havemercy. However, when the book ended, I felt dissatisfied. Perhaps it's the goober in me that wanted romantic resolution, but it is also likely the part of me that felt that while there was a climax, it was not very climactic. As far as the dramatic acti ...more
May 29, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, fantasy
Really bland book. Feels like not much truly happened despite all the fancy prose. And as in Havemercy, the real plot doesn't kick in until maybe the last 80 pages or so. And it's still bland and boring.

It's also quite obvious that both authors are huge fans of Japanese culture-- Ke-han is basically feudal Japan, though oddly enough, their naming scheme also uses names from other East Asian cultures (a few characters had Chinese- and Korean-sounding names while others had Japanese ones). All fou
Jun 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 22, 2013 rated it liked it
It's official: I prefer wartime books to let's-try-to-make-a-treaty-time books.

I didn't find myself quite as invested in this book as I was in its predecessor, and I believe the rather slow-moving plot is partially to blame. I'll admit, Mamoru and Kouje had an interesting storyline pretty much from the start, but the diplomats' story didn't really get going until about 80 pages from the end.

Also, I tend to have a problem with getting attached to characters in a series, and I get grumpy when my f
As with Havemercy, this book follows four paired protagonists, Kouje and Mamoru and Caius and Alcibiades. Unfortunately, the Caius and Alcibiades chapters felt like filler half the time. They were often amusing and replete with bantery dialogue, but filler nonetheless.

An additional annoyance was how the Xi'an characters constantly referred to themselves/their country as "Ke-Han." Way to privilege the perspective of (white) Volstov and to other (Asian) Xi'an.

The book's saving grace for me was Kou
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light
Quieter than book 1. One for the fans of Japanese/Chinese movies this, with the gentle prince, his stoic body guard, and a palace made of paper walls and mirrors. Traditionally in many old films/stories from that part of the world there is a fool to counterbalance/contrast against the stark majesty (and self absorbed ego) of those in power, and I was looking for that character here. There may be two of them, both very different. One very definitely playing the fool, and one the innocent, decent, ...more
I really enjoyed this story. The lead characters were not the same as the first book in the series, Havemercy, but since it's been so many years since I read that book, I found that it was actually refreshing, because I didn't need to remember much detail about those characters to follow the story.

I thought the characterization that went into this book was top notch fun. It followed 4 very distinctly different characters, which--while at first was a smidgeon confusing--eventually became very sa
Dec 21, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
well ive got to start saying compared to the last bok this one seems fleshed out with much more thought, the characters were all very interesting and unique, the plot of this book was way more enjoyable and it was interesting to find out more about the Ke-Han and there were at least a few female chaacters nothing that could pass the Bechdel test but a slight improvement. It still feels like the whole book i was waiting for something to happen between the 4 main characters, and waiting and waitin ...more
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk, slashable
I have mixed feelings for this book. On one hand, the plot is almost non-existent; on the other, two of this novel's main characters kept me laughing long enough that I slogged through Shadow Magic's less eventful scenes just to see more of them.

This, like the rest of the Havemercy series, is a character-driven book. If you enjoy that sort of thing, there's a good chance you'll like -- or even love -- Shadow Magic. If you're not, well, don't waste your time. Fans of homoerotic subtext and slasha
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Jaida Jones is a graduate of Barnard College, where she wrote her thesis on monsters in Japanese literature and film. A poet and native New Yorker, she had her first collection of poetry, Cinquefoil published by New Babel Books in 2006. she also writes the Shoebox Project - a Harry Potter fan website with more than five thousand subscribed members.

- From the back flap of Shadow Magic

Other books in the series

Havemercy (4 books)
  • Havemercy (Havemercy #1)
  • Dragon Soul (Havemercy #3)
  • Steelhands (Havemercy, #4)
“He tried to kill me," I said, not because I thought I could trust Caius, but more because I didn't have anyone else to tell.
Caius opened his eyes again, and I could see the milky outline of his bad eye through the fall of his hair.
"Oh, my dear," he said. "I know.”
“Alcibiades held on to him in the same way he held on to all beautiful things- as though her were somewhat afraid of their beauty.” 0 likes
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