Review | Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

“Her voice carried the voices of a hundred thousand souls in it; a whole history of resistance and rage moved with her.” 



Title: Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper #1)

Author:  Daniel José Older

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

Publication Date: June 30th 2015

Format: Hardcover

Page Count: 297



Paint a mural. Start a battle. Change the world.

Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of  making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears… Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.

With the help of a fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one — and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family’s past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for generations to come.

Full of a joyful, defiant spirit and writing as luscious as a Brooklyn summer night, Shadowshaperintroduces a heroine and magic unlike anything else in fantasy fiction, and marks the YA debut of a bold new voice.

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Can I just start off by saying that the cover is stunning?! I’ve had my eye on this book for a while now and I finally decided to give it a go.

The story follows Sierra Santiago who was planning on having fun and painting a mural at a junklot over summer break when her world turns upside down. After encountering a corpuscule at a party, she is thrust into the world of the Shadowshapers. As a shadowshaper, one can infuse paintings, music, and stories with the spirits of the dead. Sierra’s family has been a part of the order for centuries and she has been kept in the dark for as long as she’s lived. But when other members start to die, Sierra takes it upon herself, with the help of Robbie, to find out who is behind it all and how to stop them from harming anyone else.

The premise of the book is fascinating and I really wanted to love it but it just fell short for me.

While I do enjoy books that are fast-paced, I feel like this was bit too fast-paced. Seeing as how it’s under 300 pages, I get why it was very to the point but I would have liked if there could have been another 50 pages or so because Older doesn’t really go in-depth with the history of ‘shadowshapers’. The whole shadowshaper and putting spirits into works of art is very intriguing and I would have liked to know more about it and how this power is transferred from generation to generation.

One thing I did like was the diverse cast of characters! They were all hilarious in their own way and brought something different to the plate. with that being said, they could have been explored more. We only really touch the surface of who they are so I hope we venture into more of their backgrounds and history in the books to come.

One character that really hit home was Tía Rosa, who is a colorist (is that the appropriate/correct word?). She doesn’t want her niece to be with someone who is darker than her and her character hit home because I have family members *cough my grandmother cough* who share similar views to her. And it makes me really angry and upset that there are people who are like that but that’s beside the point. Hopefully we’ll see her grow and have a change of heart, but probably not. 

Another thing I liked was how the relationship that blossomed between Sierra and Robbie took time and wasn’t another instalove type of romance. I will say that I would have liked to have seen how their relationship developed a little bit more. We do get snippets here and there of their time spent together but I was left wanting more.

This may  not be a new favorite but I can’t wait to see what happens in Shadowhouse Fall!





25 thoughts on “Review | Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

  1. I’ve had this on my Kindle and I’m looking forward to it! Fantasy kind of stopped grabbing me, but I think the modern-day issues touched upon will interest me

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Hogwarts Tag

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