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Shadows by Robin McKinley

Shadows (original 2013; edition 2014)

by Robin McKinley

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4553639,420 (3.88)27
"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"--
Authors:Robin McKinley
Collections:Switzerland, Your library
Tags:Shelf 2, Top 2

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Shadows by Robin McKinley (2013)



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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this book a lot, although it took me 30 or 40 pages to get into it. There is a slightly annoying tendency to heavy-handed repetition, but otherwise the characters are interesting and well-drawn, and the story is engaging and fun. ( )
  elenaj | Jul 31, 2020 |
From the reviews I'd read, I was expecting Shadows to be fairly mediocre. Happily, this was not the case, and I ended up enjoying Shadows much more than I did Pegasus, the last Robin McKinley novel I read.

Maggie lives in Newworld, a country that, unlike the rest of the world, uses only science and not magic (to the extent of disabling the gene that carries magical ability). She is therefore deeply disturbed by the mysterious, and apparently magical, shadows that seem to be following her new stepfather (an immigrant from Oldworld, which does use magic) around. And when a magical crisis strikes her town, she is forced to question many of her assumptions about her world, her family, and herself.

I found Maggie to be an interesting and relatable character. I liked that she had strong relationships with her family and her friends. Because this is a Robin McKinley novel, I was not surprised that she also had strong connections with animals (especially dogs). As an animal lover, this is an aspect of McKinley's writing that I always enjoy. The romance element (which seemed to be stronger in Shadows than in many of McKinley's other novels) was both sweet and, in my opinion, believable. The system of magic and science in Shadows was fascinating, with many elements that I would love to find out more about. The use of origami in magic was... kind of awesome, and is making me want to start doing origami again.

That said, there were a few elements in Shadows that I found just a bit, well, silly. Like, did Casimir really have to be that gorgeous? Not to mention extremely capable and level-headed in an emergency. (Luckily, Takahiro made up for it by being adorably dorky.) There also seemed to be a few too many dogs than were really necessary by the end (especially when they were cramming them all into one (albeit large) car), and I'm still a bit puzzled by the sheep and bunnies.

Just as with Sunshine, the ending of Shadows is just begging for a sequel to be written to it. I would love to read more about Maggie, and learn more about her world (but don't get me wrong, Shadows does work as a stand-alone novel). Unfortunately (and again, just like Sunshine), this is probably not going to happen. (In fact, with my completion of Shadows, I've now - sadly - read all of McKinley's novels.)

Shadows may not be the best of McKinley's work, but it certainly is a book I would recommend. ( )
  Heather39 | Jan 19, 2020 |
So, this felt like Sunshine-lite and not in a good way. There was little plot and the protagonist was forgettable. None of the side-characters were memorable. Hell, the most memorable thing about the book was the protagonist's algebra book.

also: I am tired of werewolves. Can the urban fantasy world move on, please? ( )
  treehorse | Nov 7, 2019 |
McKinley let's us know that she's channeling Diana Wynne Jones with her dedication. It's like a trip to Witch World with the hidden magics and the dread of authority. There are also many critters and origami. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
McKinley is one of my all-time favorite authors, so I’ll never pass up a chance to read one of her books. It’s so funny, though, because they all follow a very similar pattern. For all of her books, I’m supremely bored for the first 50 pages or so while she sets up the world and then BAM! something happens, and I can’t stop reading. Shadows was no different. I read the first few chapters wondering if I should slog through or give up and then everything turned on its head and I was in for the ride.

Shadows is set in an almost futuristic world, but one where magic very much exists. I loved the world for how it felt both familiar and “other.” It has a fun alternate-world type vibe. This story is very much a coming of age story, where Maggie’s idea of what the world is completely turns upside down as she learns more about magic, her family’s involvement with magic, and what the government is actually doing. I loved following along with her, being surprised at each new revelation and basking in each newfound magic-user and their powers. As I said, the beginning is slow, but once the plot gets going, it doesn’t stop. It’s one thing after another and it’s really hard to stop reading once you get to this point.

The characters are all absolutely fantastic, and the romance is PERFECTLY DONE! This is exactly the kind of romance I love where it doesn’t interfere with the story and I’m not irritated at how stupid the characters are for kissing in the middle of a crisis. Instead, it adds to the tension and the characters act like reasonable people with their feelings for the most part. I was all about it.

Overall, this is a pretty solid one-off fantasy. The story resolves satisfactorily while still leaving some details left to the reader’s imagination. Highly recommended for fantasy fans, especially since there’s hardly any commitment, because it’s a standalone!

Also posted on Purple People Readers. ( )
1 vote sedelia | Oct 31, 2018 |
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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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The story starts like something out of a fairy tale: I hated my stepfather.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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