Shadowhouse Fall is the second and latest installment in Daniel José Older’s riveting Shadowshaper series and doesn’t disappoint. In fact, the next stage of Sierra’s story is even better than the first and does everything a sequel should do.
1. You’ll go deeper into the world we already know and love
One of the best things about Shadowshaper, aside from the very diverse setting of Brooklyn, was the magical world building of the shadowshapers. In this installment, Sierra and her friends to get roped into an ancient power struggle with the Sorrows (they’re back!) that will have you flipping through the pages. The plot moves so fast that if I add anything else, I’d veer into spoiler territory.
2. You’ll fall in love with new characters
My new favorite character—Pulpo! *Cough* I mean, Anthony! I thought I loved Robbie—and I still really do—but this book shifted my allegiances. I loved Anthony’s vulnerability, his friendship with Juan, and his connection with Sierra. Seriously, every time his name popped up on the page, I perked up.
3. There are epic magic battles
The shadowshaping battles are taken to the next level. Things get so next level that different forms of art come into play, deepening the shadowshaping world.
4. And real-life social commentary
There are protests, instances of police brutality, unlawful arrests, and spirits with black hoods. Older had something to say, and he said it. There’s a great mix of the fantasy world and the real world, which grounds the story in the present day and blends the issues that people of color are currently facing.
5. The dialogue is brilliant and witty
Good dialogue keeps the story moving. Great dialogue illuminates characters and deepens relationships while also moving the plot forward.
6. The heroine is kickass
Sierra is the new Lucera and as the spiritual matriarch of her tribe, she gets to exercise her leadership skills. Sierra makes mistakes along the way, but she learns from her mistakes just as any good leader does. And it’s refreshing to have the lead heroine of a team of fantasy fighters be a teenage girl with a curly afro.
7. And the family dynamics are realistic and believable
I love YA stories with loving families, especially loving parents. Sierra’s family is not only present but an integral part of the story. And any scene with Juan and his band is a win in my book (pun intended).
8. Three words: Pacing. Pacing. Pacing.
With the addition of more magic and higher stakes, the story rarely lets up and keeps you anxious for what will happen next.
9. Shadowhouse Fall has a very satisfying conclusion
I honestly didn’t know what to expect at the end and was slightly surprised by the turn it took.
10. But gives the perfect tease for Book 3
Of course, there was a promise at the end of something greater to come. Of course. Now, we all have to wait to find out what happens next.
Shadowhouse Fall is now available wherever books are sold, and if you want more from the shadowshaping world, be sure and check out Older’s novella, Dead Light March.
I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.