Thorn, an outlaw’s son, wasn’t supposed to be a slave. He’s been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they’re headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire. Lilith Shadow wasn’t supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?
Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky. Book 1 of a three book series.
This book is spellbinding. From the moment I started I found it hard to set down. The chapters are all the perfect length. It flows well. There are lots of little word games and word connections for readers to find, which is quite fun. I loved all the aspects of this novel, and there were no parts I glanced over or was annoyed at having to read to get to the juicy parts.
I absolutely loved the characterization; everyone had such solid personalities and attitudes, especially for the teenagers. There wasn’t as much forward knowledge of the thoughts and feelings of the adults, but that was understandable. The knowledge and love of different hobbies and activities shown by the main characters in their daily lives was refreshing, even if they might not like their overall jobs.
I loved this book, and am only sad I didn’t realize it was a three book series based on the blurb on the back when I purchased it at the store. I will, of course, continue on to finish this series- hopefully sooner than later! I do believe this was written for a younger audience, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome!
Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯
Genre: Young People/Young Adult
Number of Pages: 288
Date Started: December 10, 2016
Date Finished: December 14, 2016
Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Everyone has heard the story — the dwarves, the talking mirror, the evil witch. But this tale doesn’t belong to Snow White anymore….
Bert and Will, the twin sons of the baron of Ambercrest, are best friends. They do everything together and can’t help it if trouble just seems to…find them. But the baron is fed up and has decided that separation will keep them out of mischief. One twin, he proclaims, will stay in Ambercrest for the summer, while the other will be sent to The Crags — a foreboding, rocky outpost on the edge of the kingdom.
It is there, hidden in a forbidden black chamber, that one of the boys discovers a bejeweled and mysterious mirror. What is the precious object? And why does it make him feel so…powerful? Soon the twins’ kinship is replaced by dark magic and deceit, and a kingdom hangs dangerously in the balance. What becomes of one who is ruled by the forces of evil? And can brotherly love conquer a consuming quest for power?
I love that there are elements of the classic fairy tale of Snow White in this book. I think that the story was perfectly entwined so that it didn’t deal so much with the fairy tale as it referenced it as most stories are– an event that most people don’t know the entire truth about. The depth of characterization was surprising and refreshing for the grade level, giving the villains realistic and understandable qualities and traits that readers might also face.
There are so many morals that one could take out of this book, including but not limited to: sometimes the life path you dream isn’t one that suits you, you can always improve your own behaviour if others find you act inappropriately (which is a far better plan than to act out and potentially hurt someone you care about), that not everything is as it seems.
Author Biography: (From Amazon)
If you would like to read P. W. Catenese’s biography, check his Amazon page here.
Genre: High Fantasy/Young People/Young Adult/Children
Date Started: June 22, 2016
Date Finished: June 23, 2016
Synopsis: (From Amazon)The highly acclaimed first book of a fantasy adventure series set in a mysterious forest, starring a daring new hero.
“Readers will thrill to journey with Jinx” (SLJ, starred review), a wizard’s apprentice, as he sets off on a quest through the dangerous Urwald, a magical forest full of wizards and were-creatures, and discovers that it is more complex than he could imagine, and that it needs him more than he could ever guess.
This humorous and smart tween fantasy adventure is perfect for fans of Septimus Heap, The Sisters Grimm, and Fablehaven.
Supports the Common Core State Standards
This story is magical. I am so glad that this book is the first in a series because as I got further and further along I was really worried that I wouldn’t get to continue on and learn more about Jinx’s life. The Urwald is perfect. Simon is the perfect differentiation from Jinx’s stepparents. Jinx is refreshing and unique without shoving anything in your face. The characters are gripping, the plot is intriguing, and I found myself less and less willing to set the book aside. I definitely think this book is along the lines of Howl’s Moving Castle but this book has such unique qualities that it’s hard to compare it to anything. The magic seen is new, refreshing, and interesting. Everything you thought you might have known about magic and magical creatures might be right, or it might be turned on its head, depending on the person. There are great morals, and it’s overall an amazing book.
Author Information: (From Amazon)
Sage Blackwood was born in Chicago and grew up in New York State. She graduated from Antioch College and the University at Albany, and taught ESL for many years. Her first fantasy novel, JINX, was selected as a Best Book of 2013 by Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal, and Amazon.