Thursday, July 16, 2015

Review: Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older


by Daniel José Older 

Published June 30th 2015
by Arthur A. Levine Books 

 Cassandra Clare meets Caribbean legend in SHADOWSHAPER, an action-packed urban fantasy from a bold new talent.
 Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra's near-comatose abuelo begins to say "No importa" over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep.... Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on. Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order's secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick's supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family's past, present, and future.

My Thoughts

I am usually one to steer away from the blurb promise of X meets Y however, when it involves one of my favorite authors (Cassie Clare and the caribbean legends I couldn't help myself. I was instantly intrigued. I also was lucky enough to interview Jose on my person blog and it was one of the most fun interviews I have ever done. His answers were awesome and reflect his personality to a tee! If you want to check out that interview you can so *here*. Tons of people want to be a part of the We Need diverse Books movement. Well here is great place to start, by supporting some authors who have diverse M.C.'s. Shadowshaper was such a culturally rich and imaginative book that I devoured it in mere hours. I have veered away from Urban fantasy in lieu of more historical or medieval setting so this was a such a breathe of fresh air. Also the murals come to life?! How freakin cool is that?

It was very amazing watching this plot unfurl before my eyes. I thought things were going to be a bit slow at first but then the pieces started to click and it was a downhill sprint from then on. I have such a soft spots for grandparents since I was raised by mine. the knowledge they hold should be treasured and it was great to see Sierra take to that even though her grandfather hasn't been with it most of the time. The supporting cast was a riot. The romance was adorable as well! It didn't overwhelm the story of the Shadowshapers. It was simply icing on the cake. 

The thing that stood out most to me was Jose's portrayal of Brooklyn. It felt so realistic. You could truly see the author's love and respect for the city and its cultures shine brightly through in his writing. I am not a culturally diverse teen but it was nice to see some issues that are struggled with internally.

Shadowshaper is truly unique urban fantasy sure to please all fans who love art and a good story!

5 Snowflakes


  1. Unique urban fantasy with Caribbean legends? It really seems like a book I ought to give a try!
    Great review Britt!

  2. Being Caribbean, theoretically this appeals to me! Although, I'm not a huge fan of Cassandra Clare, so the comparison doesn't quite appeal to me... however, I am so glad to see that you LOVED this book! YES to diverse books! Excellent review, Britt :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  3. It's so uncommon to see WOC in fantasy, so this one is high on my to-read list. I was raised for my grandparents too, so I know I'll connect to this one! Thanks for your review.