Review: Shadowblack

cover-shadowblackTitle: Shadowblack
Author: Sebastien de Castell
Series: Spellslinger #2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: Novel
Available: 5th Oct


The second book in the page-turning SPELLSLINGER series for all teen, YA, adult and fantasy readers. 

It’s a few months since Kellen left his people behind. Now aged sixteen, Kellen is an outlaw, relying on his wits to keep him alive in the land of the Seven Sands. He misses home, he misses family and more than anything, he misses Nephenia, the girl he left behind. 

Then he meets Seneira, a blindfolded girl who isn’t blind, and who carries a secret that’s all too familiar to Kellen. Kellen and Ferius resolve to help – but the stakes are far higher than they realise. A Shadowblack plague is taking hold – and Kellen can’t help but suspect his own people may even be behind it. 

Perfect for fans of The Dark Tower, Firefly, The Hunger Games and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Source: ARC from  Hot Key Books via NetGalley

Outlawed, with little magic, a whole heap of bad luck and some less than helpful companions, Kellen’s back! After the fun and frequently frustrating events of Spellslinger, the young Jan’Tep outcast is now on the run in the dangerous Seven Sands with only a trash-talking squirrel cat and the ever-mysterious Ferius Parfax to help him stay alive.

It did take me a while to settle back into this, if I’m honest. Much though I like Ferius, her methods of teaching Kellen are pretty abstract and there were times when I wished she could have been more direct with him. Yes, he can be self-absorbed and a little slow on the uptake, but with everything that keeps happening to him, it’s understandable. Everyone is always so horrible to him when they first meet him and it got on my nerves.

Which is an excellent way to keep me on Kellen’s side, of course, even when he does something foolish. Which he naturally does, because he’s sixteen and has only just escaped from his brainwashing clan-cult, who are now doing all they can to kill him.

Anyway, once I got settled in, I found this book every bit as fun, frustrating and exciting as the first, although this time around there’s more exploring and a lot more mystery. Namely, why has the Shadowblack started infecting non-mages? And is it turning into a plague? The search for answers introduces new characters, new settings and a lot more darkness and intrigue, giving Kellen ample opportunity to show that he’s actually pretty smart underneath his troubles, even if things don’t always turn out the way he wants them to.

I loved seeing Kellen change and mature as the book progressed, and it was great to learn a little more about Ferius too. And then there was Reichis, the ever-awesome squirrel cat, who takes all the prizes for best business partner ever. The bath scene was priceless.

So, basically, if you liked the first one, you’ll probably really like this one as well. If you’re new but you’re looking for a fantasy series that is both amusing and frustrating, has some great characters and an intriguing frontier-esque setting, and you have a soft spot for blood thirsty, talking animal side-kicks who steal every scene they’re in… then this series, my friend, may be just the one you’ve been searching for. I can’t wait to read the next one.

Shadowblack is out October 5th.
Visit Sebastien de Castell for more details.



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