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Shadows by Robin McKinley

Shadows (2013)

by Robin McKinley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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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. ( )
  kmartin802 | Jul 23, 2016 |
Apparently very much in the minority for having loved this. Yes, it's lacking some world-building and clarity but the more I read the more I realized this was probably because it was told in first person, and there was a lot Maggie didn't know... I absolutely related to her and found it odd that so many people called her boring and flat. I could not put this down and then waited a few days to read the lat two chapters because I didn't want it to be over! Will definitely read again and am hoping McKinley goes for a sequel. ( )
  Kristin_Curdie_Cook | Apr 29, 2016 |
Shadows is about 17 year old Maggie, who hates her new stepfather. More specifically, she hates his shadows.

Ostensibly Shadows has more in common with Sunshine and Dragonhaven than McKinley other novels: it is an urban fantasy set in a world that is a lot like our world but clearly isn't our world; it's told in the first-person by a narrator prone to tangents and digressions; and the narrator, upon discovering new information about herself and her world, is confronted with an exhausting and occasionally terrifying learning curve.

These are all things I like. I like the world-building and the way it doesn't explain a lot of things yet leaves me convinced that Maggie's world exists beyond the borders of Maggie's story. I enjoy the rambly first-person, and the way this allows one to really get to know Maggie and her history with the important people (and animals!) in her life.

In other respects, Shadows has McKinley's fingerprints all over it. There are clearly rules to magic but using magic is seen to be an intuitive thing, because the story is told from the perspective of someone who doesn't know what those rules are. The heroine is very determined, and prepared to work with a single-minded focus when it comes to the things she's passionate about. Animals are important - not just to Maggie, who has a dog and volunteers at an animal shelter, but to the plot. And they're full of personality, distinct and convincing.

I really enjoyed this. Fall into the story and gobble it up in one go enjoyment. I like how it begins as a story about a teenager who is deeply uncomfortable with her new stepfather, and how it explores that and shifts to become a story about how NewWorld (where Maggie lives) views magic. I like Maggie's friendships with Jill and Takahiro. I love Mongo, Maggie's crazy border collie mongrel.

So we brought Mongo home [...] He was maybe five months old and already crazy, and you could guess that some ordinary family hadn't been able to cope with a hairy attack squad carooming off the walls and trying to fetch pieces of furniture so someone would throw them for him. ( )
  Herenya | Mar 28, 2016 |
Excellent urban fantasy blending mythology and technology and human nature ( )
  ewillse | Jan 18, 2016 |
What is happening here? This book was nightmarishly bad. It was incoherent and did not flow at all. The slang and colloquialisms were way over-the-top, as was her wannabe "cool high school kid" lingo. Some of my favorite books were penned by McKinley, but this book is absolute crap. I couldn't even finish (because I couldn't understand what the hell was happening, and it was stupidly slow and boring). This is the second release by McKinley in recent years (the other being Pegasus) that is cringe-worthy and not worth the price of the paper it's printed on. Yikes. ( )
  Courtney_Anne | Jan 5, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin McKinleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Evangelista, Theresa M.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shutterstock.com/Isa…Cover photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tamura, MarikkaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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to Diana Wynne Jones
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The story starts like something out of a fairy tale: I hated my stepfather.
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"Magic is illegal in Newworld, so Maggie struggles to explain the strange shadows--that only she can see--that seem to accompany her new stepfather everywhere"--

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