Title: Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper #1)
Series: YA Urban Fantasy
Release Date: June 30th 2015
Narrator: Anika Noni Rose
Listening Time: 7 hrs 21 mins
Goodreads Synopsis: Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears… Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.With the help of a fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one — and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret.
With the reading slump I’ve been in, I decided to see if doing more audio books would help. This audio book was available through my Overdrive library app and decided to go for it. I originally saw this book on Sam from Thoughts on Tomes’s channel and it sounded interesting at the time. But while the beginning had a great pacing and atmosphere, it ended up falling flat for me.
- Atmosphere: I’ve read/listened to books that are based in New York City, but this felt like a different side of New York with the Latinx characters. It was cool to see how they lived, talked, food and lifestyle. The book also discusses the Haitian, Hispanic and the other communities living in the area and the little things that made them different from each other. The Spanish was really cool to listen to as well.
- Writing: Daniel Jose Older has a great voice in this book. He describes this lifestyle of latinx well enough that I could understand to some degree of they act and go through life. He also describes trying to understand something that comes unexpectedly in life. He gives Sierra a solid, sometimes fiery voice. It can be difficult for someone (male for example) to write a female character and be realistic or authentic. He nails it! Sierra worries about her hair, body image, understanding her grandfather and helping others. She worries about girl things and she reminds me of myself when I was a teen with worrying about fitting in and understanding life.
- Narrator: Anika Noni Rose was a great choice for this audio book. The Spanish just flows effortlessly when she speaks it and she channels Sierra extremely well. She even gives the creatures in this book the right weird and creepy tones. Even if I was a bit bored at some parts, her smooth voice did keep me listening.
- Magic System: I felt like the magic system was two different things in this book. There’s an emphasis on murals (how they fade and move) in the beginning. But as we learn about the shadowshaping abilities, the mural aspect fades away and just focuses on shadows. It was confusing; the idea of the murals and their purpose just fell to the side as the story went on. The concept of shaping shadows became something I’ve read before in other fantasy books and didn’t remain interesting.
- Mimic of another book: Just before the halfway point, this book started becoming a mimic of City of Bones. I personally do not like that book and I didn’t like seeing the similarities of the two books: girl finds out she has powers, has to be trained, guy lets her know what’s going on, guy and girl fall for each other, mystery surrounding a guy who became power hungry, girl is the key to her family’s powers…yep. Those were the main things that I picked up. It’s fine for books to have a couple small similarities in characters, folklore, etc. but I don’t like it when a book starts to mimic another book through many angles.
- Pacing: In the beginning, this book was cool, mysterious and fun. But then it started to slow down. Random things just happened and then they were left to not be resolved. Someone just ends up dead and it never goes into detail why. They keep asking other what something really means when they don’t actually think about it. They decide to dance and have fun, ignoring the serious situation at hand. Things had to keep going without having time to explain them or expand the characters. It felt like the author only had a few chapters left to end the book and just kept going.
- Mood: There were many times that the book felt too happy/hip. I never really felt the tension when the enemies came or the urgency at the end to figure out where the riddle led them. Instead, it had a bit too much of them chatting, dancing and feeling like carefree teenagers.
Rating: 1/2 stars
I’m really sad that I didn’t enjoy this book. The narrator was good but the gas ran out at the end. I don’t think I’ll do the second book, but maybe I’ll read reviews of it when it comes out. If you’re needing another diverse book, try this one if it sounds good to you. Have you read this book? If so, what did yo think?