Book Review

Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper Cypher #1) by Daniel José Older


Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “Lo siento” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Shadowshaper was a fun read. Even though it did not dip much into the Latino culture, there was enough to keep my interest. The pacing was perfect for this small book.

The characters were fun, and I can see it as relatable to the targeted audience. The one issue, I can see, is maybe a little more character building, but it did not bother me do to the shortness of the novel. There was a bit of a love interest, but not enough to distract you from the main plot.

It was nice to see that development with an idea the Sierra was not looking for a boy to get close to because she believed they mess things up once they opened their mouths. I find it interesting how the author does not follow the pristine happy family. It was refreshing to see a family not broken, but not being close. Sierra considers her friends to be her family.

The concept of the shadowshaping was interesting. I loved how the author made it feel natural and part of the world. The way there were multiple ways to shadowshape was great because there are multiple ways to express yourself. This being passed down through the family is culturally related as many folklores and myths come orally from family. Seeing the good side of the shadowshaping before seeing the bad, I enjoyed that. It seems like a lot of times in fantasy or supernatural, you always see or read about the dangerous side before seeing the good.

Even though you want more, this book is not long. The chapters are small and yes, there would be more world-building or character development. There is enough for this book. It was an enjoyable read, and I am ready to read the sequels and novellas. I recommend this book.

I give this book a 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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