Saturday, August 27, 2016

Book Review: Shadows by Robin McKinley

Author: Robin McKinley
Publication: Nancy Paulsen Books (September 26, 2013)

Description: 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 Crown and The Blue Sword, as well as the classic titles Beauty, Chalice, Spindle’s End, Pegasus and Sunshine

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 generations ago, back when Maggie’s great-grandmother was a notable magician. But that was a long time ago.

Then Maggie meets Casimir, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen. He’s from Oldworld too—and he’s heard of Maggie’s stepfather, and has a guess about Val’s shadows. Maggie doesn’t want to know . . . until earth-shattering events force her to depend on Val and his shadows. And perhaps on her own heritage.

In this dangerously unstable world, neither science nor magic has the necessary answers, but a truce between them is impossible. And although the two are supposed to be incompatible, Maggie’s discovering the world will need both to survive.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed SHADOWS very much. It is narrated by Maggie who is a new high school senior. Her mother has just married a man named Val who comes from Oldworld where they still practice magic. In Maggie's Newworld magic is so illegal that a couple of generations earlier a medical procedure was developed to remove the magic gene from anyone who had one. Of course, that didn't work quite as expected.

Maggie dislikes Val not just because he is short and hairy and has no fashion sense, but because he is surrounded by scary shadows that only she can see. She stays away from him by spending more time at the Orchard Animal Shelter where she got her own Border Collie Mongo. Maggie seems to have unique understanding with animals.

One day she meets a gorgeous new boy named Casimir who is also from the Oldworld and who has come to study worlds philosophy at the local college. The two of them happen to be together when their is a magical occurrence that which Maggie is able to contain by using origami figures she makes from her Enhanced Algebra textbook. No one is more surprised and confused that this works than Maggie herself.

The military is called in to figure out what happened which raises suspicions about Maggie and Val. When Val is arrested, Maggie and her friends are determined to rescue him. Along the way, Maggie learns a lot about magic and herself.

The story was action-packed. I liked Maggie's relationship with her dog Mongo. I also liked her relationship with her friends Jill and Takahiro who are both closet magic users themselves. The world that the author created was well realized and well rounded.

Fans of fantasy who want an intrepid female main character will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
I wanted to scream or throw up or run away or all three, but I couldn't. Takahiro , as many times as I'd wanted to kill him in the last more than seven years. was my friend. And werewolves were a myth. Like mgdagas. I gut up, a little unsteadily, and picked up the mug of coffee on Val's table. "Coffee?" I said inanely, and held it out toward Takahiro.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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