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Shadows Hardcover – 26 Sep 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books (26 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399165797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399165795
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.1 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 749,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle's End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jenny Zimmerman on 3 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this futuristic, Sci-Fi YA treat, McKinley delves us into the psyche of a teenage girl in a pro-science, anti-magic realm. She explores through themes of government control, and overcoming personal prejudices to reveal and fulfill a destiny one might not know exists. I recommend it, though I prefer her more classic tone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tetra on 7 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robin McKinley is one of the great creators of worlds. This book is dedicated to another great - Diane Wynne Jones and I felt that there were faint echoes of her stories here. That is not to say that this book is derivative at all. This is a unique world that I would love to explore more but more just a flavour to the way the story develops.
I loved Maggie and her friends, especially Takahiro, and her relationships with her family helped to develop the story well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Octavia Leigh on 4 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As ever with this author, the book contains well drawn characters, exquisite worldbuilding, an exciting plot and a satisfying ending that never the less leaves you craving more.
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Fabulous story. Another great fantasy with wonderful characters from McKinley.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 120 reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Robin McKinley leaves the old worlds 28 Sept. 2013
By skatinglibrarian - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So many of McKinley's books take place in worlds where "modern" technology is not yet a factor, but suddenly we're in a world quite like our own, with scanners. gene therapy, and "pocket phones." However part of that world uses magic to protect itself from disastrously bumping up against other realities, and in Maggie's country, science rules and magic is illegal.

I love the tools the good guys use to save the world ... no swords or massive explosions here! Its animals and origami, books and fuzzy friends, and there's not a bit of cuteness anywhere. The tension builds rapidly, as the main part of the story takes place in about three days. The good guys are neither stunningly beautiful nor overflowing with wisdom or power. They make things up as they go along, and the ties between parents and children, animals and their people, and deep friendships allow them to overcome a very bad situation. I like that this feels like kids awakening to a bad situation and their growing awareness that one's senior year in high school is not meant to be one of life's pinnacles.

I also like the implication that evil doesn't spring from dark supernatural creatures, but from ordinary humans trying to face problems with a military, security, or police state mindset. This is not a political book, and the canine and feline characters kept me smiling. It didn't leave me breathless (like Sunshine) or feeling as though I'd just eaten something splendid and chocolate (Spindle's End), but as if I'd spent an engrossing evening wrapped in a cozy quilt with an animal companion I loved.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Engrossing 27 Sept. 2013
By LAS Reviewer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Robin McKinley's new book Shadows is classed as fantasy, yet is a world apart from anything else in the genre.

Fans of McKinley will recognize the key elements of her works in Shadows, a writing quality that immerses readers in the place and thoroughly into the mind of the main character. Another McKinly trait is that faint `fairytale' influence; Both the sense of whimsy in that comes through in so many fairy tales, as well as the oft-grim underpinnings that are so often the dark side of fairytales.

We are at once plunged into the world and life of a teen girl, in a town that is not-quite the norm. It's not a magical world, but only because magic has been banned.

However, Maggie's problems are typical enough: she doesn't care for her step father. She has a strong memory of her love for her own father, so we can understand that she might not take to Val right off. Then there there are the less typical problems, like the fact that his shadow doesn't seem to fit him very well...and in fact, sometimes appears to be doing its own thing entirely. It's creepy, there's no getting around it. And, the primary dangers within the community (cobeys) seem to be occurring closer and closer these days, for no good reason. Although there are official precautions one can take to remain safe, Maggie suspects these are not always effective. She doesn't quite believe in `the authorities."

She's got the typical issue of really being attracted to such a nice looking guy, while wondering what that really means in terms of her long-time best friend, who happens to be male. He is also a bit more than simply human, but she doesn't realize that for ages, and it's hardly his fault, anyway.

Charm always infuses McKinley's works, and Shadows is no slouch in that department. From Maggie's careful training of her dog, to her desire to learn origami, we come to sympathize with this young girl who so strives, in her `just me' kind of way, to make her community - school and family, a better place. She is a kind person, and that will make all the difference.

In Shadows we share Maggie's personal growth and recognition of self - as well as that sense of `right' and `wrong' that we, too, perhaps learned from fairy tales.

As always the writing quality and character development are simply extraordinary. Shadows is a must-read for any McKinley fan...and if you are new to the world of fantasy, only McKinley's own Damar books might be a better place to start.

Originally posted at Long and Short Reviews
51 of 60 people found the following review helpful
McKinley does it again. 29 Sept. 2013
By paintfish - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm giving this book 3 stars. It was good, but felt incomplete and frustrating.

I had hoped and suspected that "Shadows" might be connected somehow to McKinley's "Sunshine" book, and it does feel as if it's in the same world, but on a different continent. We have 17 year old Maggie, our hero. Instead of baking at a coffee shop like Sunshine, she volunteers/ works at an animal shelter. Her family (mom, aunts, sisters, step-dad) are somehow magically talented. So is she, and she's clueless. Her personal failure at Algebra in school seems to have infected her with generally low self-esteem. I'm honestly rather tired of the teen girl heroine with magical powers who just can't bring herself to open her mouth, ask useful questions of more experienced adults or people, and take some control of her direction. Maggie just seems so hapless and squeamish and sure, she's brave when she decides there's nothing else for it, but she never seems to grasp her own worth.

I'm sure I feel the same as many other McKinley fans. Whatever happened to Sunshine and Con? Will we ever get the rumored sequel to Pegasus, which cut off in an amazingly cliff-hanger season finale type way? And I'm just now recalling 'Chalice,' yet another McKinley story with a hapless young woman who muddles through with no real grasp of her own powers. It would be easier as a reader to forgive the whole helpless confused girl character if we ever got a sequel where she's grown into her powers and changed the world for the better. But it doesn't seem like that will happen.

Overall, I'm disappointed in this book. It's as if McKinley has a very clear, developed idea of what this character's world and politics and dynamics and slang ARE, but we're only seeing it through the clueless eyes of a high school girl who doesn't apply herself in school to pay attention and know anything about what's going on around her. And there's a lot of future slang, but it's not as decipherable and charming as the slang in Sunshine. I give it 3 stars for potential, because if McKinley would ever write a sequel bringing together Sunshine and Mags, that would be really really amazing. But I don't think it's gonna happen. 3 stars... Fast story, kind of cool plot, but really, not that fresh or clear or conclusive or anything. Argh.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I love Robin McKinley, but not this one... 16 Nov. 2013
By M. Fuller - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
hmmm.... I still hardly know what to think of this book. I just barely understand what happened, and I might care about the characters even less. Yet I keep saying to myself... but, but, but... Robin McKinley wrote it! It can't be that bad, it must just be me! And for some reason, I kind of hope that it is.

The world of shadows takes place in an unnamed future where science and magic are at odds - the newworld tries to block all magic (which is an inherited gene in people, because they are afraid it causes holes in the world- to which they have discovered a scientific way to fix these rips - except it doesn't actually work and magic isn't causing it. hmmm....)

Add to this a teen named Maggie. We meet her, and she loves animals, hates her new stepfather and can ramble like you wouldn't believe. No seriously, ramble, in a false "look at me, I have teenage angst" kind of way. I love middle readers and YA books, so I am prepared for that kind of thing, but Maggie rang false to me. One of her main complaints was a super huge algebra book. No really, it is gigantic and a topic of many conversations. Her rants were hard to relate to, partly because it is in a future where we don't know what many of the words mean and don't know what a "silver bug" or "cobey" is, and partly because she likes to drop in the random word of Japanese to keep us on our toes, but I think mainly because she just isn't all that deep. She is passionate about animals, and their proper training... and I could follow that part.

As for the action- I am still somewhat scratching my head, though I think I have a fairly good picture of what happened. Strangely, every character we know the name of happens to be good and on the same side- and the anonymous science-lovers aren't ever introduced. The book ends as if there will be more books coming out, but I haven't seen anything to suggest this is in the plans.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
good, a little unoriginal 30 Sept. 2013
By ephemeral - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been reading Robin McKinley's books for over 20 years, and I am always excited to get her latest novel. Reading Shadows was something like a homecoming for me; it was pleasant and heart-warming, but not particularly surprising. It had all the standard, familiar characteristics that almost all McKinley's books share. There is a strong-willed but sometimes awkward young female protagonist, lots of animals, some magic, and a motley crew of friends who band together to save the day. I like all these things, just as I like the style and the rhythm of McKinley's prose. So I definitely enjoyed reading Shadows.

I just wish that there were a few surprises in the book. Everything pretty much played out just as I expected it would. I remember reading the Hero and the Crown, Sunshine, and even Dragonhaven practically on the edge of my seat because I was so riveted by the story and was desperate to find out what would happen next. I read Shadows sedately; I was entertained but not captivated. It's a good book and I definitely recommend it, but it's not the best book I've read all year, or even all month.
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