Title: Shadows

Author: Robin McKinley

Maggie does not like her new stepfather Val. He’s mysterious and foreign and the shadows around him aren’t quite right. They move when he’s not moving. They have too many legs. In Newworld, where magic has been cut out for a few generations and science is king, the mere accusation of being a magician incurs stiff penalties. But Maggie has more to worry about than a few shadows as the world begins to go haywire around her. Dimensional instability is breaking out close to her hometown, and everything she loves may soon be caught in the middle of it. . .

This book contains several things I adore: dimensional rifts, shapechangers, the weirdly-awesome magic McKinley writes so well. If you’ve read Sunshine, this novel is similar in a lot of ways, but the story is different enough that it manages to be its own thing.

Maggie doesn’t begrudge her mom’s new happiness, exactly, but she’s stressed out beyond belief by her new stepfather. Especially his shadows. I liked Maggie for the most part, although the romantic relationships were probably the weakest part of the book, since Casimir is one of those love-at-first-sight relationships.

The Enhanced Algebra book, however, vies for my favorite secondary character in the book. It’s amusing how much Maggie hates it at first, and then it gets exposed to a cobey and starts taking on signs of life. She’s getting stalked by her math book, basically. And she’s trying so desperately not to look like a dweeb who carries her math book everywhere she goes.

I think Takahiro was my favorite character. Maggie’s self-professed terrible use of Japanese (and her love of origami) stem from his presence, and once he starts to open up to her a little more, the friendship that was always there starts to grow even deeper.

It’s a shame McKinley doesn’t really write sequels, because the ending on this is very good, but also very open. It feels in many ways like the cast of characters has just been introduced, and now they’re ready for even bigger adventures (such as tackling the rather enormous string of cobeys they now have to deal with). But I am glad for what we’ve got, as it was entertaining and amusing. I rate this book Recommended.


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