Publication date: April 12, 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
About: (from the publisher)
Thorn, an outlaw's son, wasn't supposed to be a slave. He never should have run away from home, leaving his mother and siblings to fend for themselves. Now 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 on the terrible day her father, mother, and brother were killed, 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.
Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan is the tween answer to Martin's Game of Thrones. Some reviewers have likened it to Harry Potter, but the main character, Lily, reminds me of Arya Stark. Although she is orphaned and an unlikely ruler of her people, she accepts her enormous responsibilities and is fiercely loyal to her people. That does not keep her from being head strong and untamed, or taking risks that sometimes turn out badly for her or others, but readers can see her evolve and grow into the leader that she will become. She is more tomboy than girly, more fighter than princess.
Tired of girl-heavy action heroines? Thorn is not a side kick hero, but a "batman" in his own right. He is fully formed with a backstory that pulls at your heart. It's almost as if he too is like Arya Stark. Similar personality, taken hostage (or bought) by Lily's executioner Tyburn (a more morally developed character than the Hound), and skilled in using his talents to his advantage. I must admit that I slowed my reading down to keep from getting to the end.
An advanced copy of this book was provided by NetGalley.com and the publishers for an honest review.