Author: McKinley, Robin
Magic is illegal in Newworld, so Maggie struggles to explain the strange shadows--that only she can see--that seem to accompany her new stepfather everywhere.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.60
Points: 16.0 Quiz: 165260
Kirkus Reviews (09/15/13)
School Library Journal (12/01/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (12/13)
The Hornbook (00/01/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/15/2013 McKinley’s distinctive voice instantly draws the reader into an alternative America where magic, once fairly commonplace, has been genetically removed from the population. Although the government attempts to control magic with science, there are still collisions and unexplained breaks between worlds that release strange energy and beings into Newworld. Our narrator and guide is Maggie, whose mother has gotten remarried to an Oldworlder named Val. Val is accompanied by creepy shadows only Maggie can see, which makes her dislike her stepfather even more. She works after school at an animal shelter, and it is her intense love of animals that helps unravel the multiple plot threads, which include several romances and origami that can contain magical outbreaks. Fascinating backstories reveal that magic isn’t as dead in Newworlders as the government would like everyone to believe. Maggie’s wry and witty conversational tone is an excellent vehicle for relating her fantastic yet logical adventures. McKinley’s smooth but swift pace sets the stage for a welcome sequel. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 12/01/2013 The creeping, tentacled shadows that follow Maggie’s new stepdad around have the seventeen-year-old girl worried. Since she’s the only one who can see them, they might mean that she’s going crazy or, even worse, that she has the ability to see and possibly interact with magic, a big no-no in the science-focused, magic-abolishing state that is Newworld. Before she can decide whether or not to go to the authorities, however, a “cobie,” a cohesion break in Newworld’s reality, sends everyone into a panic, and Maggie discovers that the shadows are actually quiet friendly little critters, her stepdad is an Oldworld magician (and a powerful one at that), and that her magical powers might mean she’s the only one standing between Newworld and its demise. This is a tricky combination of genre tropes-a Big Brother-type of dystopian government, a clueless but powerful savior from fantasy, and the interpersonal dynamics of a family drama-but McKinley crafts them all with a deft hand, spooling out each element with a careful deliberation that allows them to coalesce into a fully formed story. Intricate world building is matched with rich characterization; a bit moody, a bit flighty, and all teenager, Maggie makes a relatable protagonist, and her wisecracks and astute observations help readers gain ground in this eerily familiar but nonetheless complex world of old magic, new science, and breaks in reality. The secondary cast, including the requisite dual love interests, are afforded depth and nuance as well, rounding out the setting for the ensuing emotional drama. Fans of McKinley will recognize her penchant for animal-human connections in Maggie’s affectionate guardianship of the shadows, while other readers will find this a compelling entry point to the author’s work. KQG - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2013 Gr 8 Up—This fast-paced novel is set in Newworld, where magic is illegal and individuals who carried the gene for it had their DNA modified several generations ago. Teenager Maggie is still reeling from the death of her father when her mother falls in love with a mysterious man, Val, who's from Oldworld, where magic is still used. However, it's the shadows that follow Val that worry her and not just the fact that her mother has moved on. Soon after meeting Casimir, a cute, recent immigrant from Oldworld, things really start to get strange. When a "cobey," a dangerous gap in reality, opens up at a local park, Maggie instinctively closes it by making origami talismans out of pages from her math textbook. Once her mother and stepfather finally reveal their own histories with magic, Maggie is exposed to a side of the world she didn't know existed. This fantasy focuses on the relationships among characters. There is enough Newworld vocabulary to create and support the strange and enchanted setting, but not so much as to confuse or frustrate readers. Shadows is a dense book in parts, but teens will be motivated to keep reading by the exciting action, lovable characters, and witty dialogue.—Sunnie Lovelace, Wallingford Public Library, CT - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.