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Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Lenahan, John. Shadowmagic. A fantasy geared to the YA audience, this ARC was a fun little read.

Lenahan is a magician who was "the first person in 85 years to be expelled from the Magic Circle for explaining the Three-card Monte on television." Evidently, that only spurred him on to other adventures, including his own series on the BBC and this fantasy novel for young adults.

Told in the first person by Conor, who believes he is an average teenager (although he realizes that his father, a university professor, is a bit eccentric), the story is full of humor and adventure.

When Conor and his father are kidnapped and transported to the land of Tir Na Nog, specifically to a dungeon where they find themselves chained to the wall, Conor's normal teenage worries take on a decidedly more serious slant and survival becomes a more immediate concern.

In Tir Na Nog, Conor finds out that his father is much more than he seemed and that things that he thought were myth are very real. He encounters various kinds of magic and meets banshees, imps, and a lovely, if unpredictable, princess.

A book full of wry humor and adolescent hubris, Shadowmagic is a fantasy adventure of family, friendship, and courage. I thoroughly enjoyed this short fantasy escape.

You can also listen to the free podiobook, read by Lenahan.

Fiction. Fantasy. 2008. 278 pages.


  1. I really like the cover! Good pattern in the middle and good font - as a rule I feel like it's better for fantasy books to go with something like this, than to depict a scene from the book. It's nearly always a bad scene for the cover.

  2. Jenny - It is a good cover, isn't it? Some fantasy books have covers that are too lurid, but this one has great appeal.

  3. The cover immediately says, "this is your book, Ann". Is it scheduled for release in the UK, do you know?

  4. Kailana - Yes, and I agree with Jenny's comment about fantasy covers. Often when the publisher uses a scene from the book, it becomes obvious that the artist didn't read the book!

    Ann - I don't know when it is scheduled for release in the UK, but I listened to a little of the podiobook (Lenahan reads it himself) and liked the way it sounded. Originally, it was being posted in chapters, but now I believe the entire book is available.

  5. I will have to look for this one. I am dipping my feet into young adult fantasy more and more and this sounds like one I might like. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Jenclair.

  6. I'm making myself add a book to my TBR list before I buy it. The last several months I read a good review like yours and I head right over to the store and try to find a used copy. This tendency of mine has to quit.

    This one sounds like one both my daughter and I will enjoy. Thanks, Jenclair.

  7. LF - Definitely geared to a younger audience, but quite fun and more innocent than many YA books now adays.

    Rebecca - Thanks! I'll be over to check it out!

    Booklogged - I go through spells of behaving well and managing my book lust, so I perfectly understand your reasoning! Send me your address and I'll send you my copy of Shadowmagic. You will be helping me clear my shelves for more purchases!

  8. Another comment chiming in about the cover! It's very eye-catching, which of course is the main point. Glad to hear the contents of the book itself reflect the cover's allure. I'll have to let my YA person know about this one.

  9. LOL - so much for adding this book to my TBR list like I said I was going to do. It arrived a few days ago and I couldn't remember where I'd learned about it. Now I know!

    How are you doing? And how's everyone? I think about you often and am always hoping the best for your dad and husband. I don't worry too much about you because of your yoga - I just think you're healthy and feeling good. Hope I'm right.

  10. Hey there - just hadn't seen you posting in a while and wanted to drop in and say hi. Hope all is going well and you are reading lots of good books :)

  11. Lesley - I did enjoy the book and hope your YA person will enjoy it!

    Cheya - Glad the book arrived safely and hope your daughter enjoys it.

    Things have been quite hectic around here. The latest in a string of misadventures -- my youngest daughter contracted viral meningitis. They released her from the hospital Monday afternoon after about 5 days in the hospital. It has been a scary time, and she is still not well, but they have established for sure that it was not bacterial meningitis after taking blood cultures every day (sometimes twice a day)! :) The yoga has helped me stay calm.

    Thanks for checking on us!

    Iliana - Thanks for checking in Iliana! We've had one thing after another lately and have survived them all.