Expected publication: April 12th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
I couldn’t wait until Wednesday to share this book with you! And not just because this review was originally planned for March 🙂 No, this book was amazing, and you really need to check it out.
Joshua Khan has created a wonderfully unique world filled with amazing characters the participate in a story that is equal parts fantasy, adventure, mystery ,and finding self. There are two main characters, both younger since this was written for middle school readers, Lily and Thorn. Both of them face challenges and overcome those challenges with cleverness and consideration instead of violence. The depth of each character matches the cleverness of the plot, and there are plenty of twists and turns in the story to keep the reader reading.
The cleverness extends to the naming conventions of both places and people. I don’t want to spoil any “Aha” moments, but I wanted you to be aware of how the author chose names to portray certain characteristics just through the naming.
Most of the story is set in the country of Gehenna, which as the land of Darkness is basically horror world with mentions of classic gothic horror memes throughout the description. It reminds me of Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon, which was also a spin of gothic horror tropes written for middle grade readers.
And the best part is the author is already working on a sequel, Dream Magic, which should come out in 2017. Oh, and did I mention the giant bat?
From the publisher:
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.