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Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper #1) by Daniel José Older - Review

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Sierra planned on a summer of making art and going to parties with friends, but she begins to think something strange and sinister is taking place. She sees murals cry and fade, a seemingly dead man crashes the first party of the summer, and her grandfather begins to apologizing over and over for something unknown and it's the first time he's been lucid since his stroke last year. With classmate and fellow artist, Robbie, she discovers the world of shadowshaping. Shadowshaping infuses art of all kinds with the spirits of ancestors, but someone is murdering shadowshapers and the murderer believes Sierra is hiding a major secret. Sierra suddenly learns that she has to uncover her family history, take down a murderer, and save the future for shadowshaping and shadowshapers.

Shadowshaper is an intriguing and diverse urban fantasy novel featuring an artist protagonist who learns that there's much more to her family history than she ever knew. I loved that the family relationships and friendships are incredibly important in this contemporary YA urban fantasy. There is also a little bit of a romance between Sierra and Robbie, but it's slow build and quite refreshing, especially in the way he's presented. The magic system behind shadowshaping is very unique and I've never come across anything quite like it, but I really wish it had been more developed a fleshed out. I listened to this story on audio book and the production is excellent - enough to boost a three star read up to four. The narration is expertly performed by Anika Noni Rose. I didn't know she acted as an audiobook narrator before now and based on her performance here I will definitely be checking to see if there are any other audio books that she's lended her voice talents to.

Overall, I recommend this if you enjoy unique new voices in diverse YA urban fantasy. In my opinion, Anika Noni Rose's performance for the audiobook makes Older's Shadowshaper a must read.

I listened to this audio book from September 9 - 12, 2016 and my review is also on Goodreads.


  1. Oo, this looks interesting. I love that cover too!

  2. I should have listened to this book rather than read it. It isn't my usual genre but everyone was raving about it so I gave it a try and was underwhelmed. I wondered if it had something to do with not being able to related to the urban setting. Glad you liked it.

    1. Sometimes I have troubles relating to urban settings too...probably has something to do with living out in the country!

      Thanks, Anne!

  3. I love seeing family relationships and friendships in books! And you have me intrigued about the magic now. This does sound like an interesting book, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Thanks, Kristen! I really hope you enjoy it if you give it a shot.

  4. I hadn't heard of this one but it sounds fantastic! I will take your advice and pick up the audiobook; it sounds like a perfect fall read honestly.


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