Hey you all! I told you I had some great reviews waiting for you guys and girls and today I will be posting one of those 🙂 For Kinderboeken (www.nienkekinderboekenblog.nl) I got to read the second part of Sebastien de Castell’s Spellslinger serie Shadowblack ❤ Whenever I love a first part in a series I get a little bit anxious for the next installment, because you never know if the second book will be just as good as the first. In this case I needn’t have worried haha. Shadowblack is freaking AWESOME!!! It was like coming home and taking a warm bath with my best friends and a cat and some butter cookies 😉
If you don’t like spoilers, don’t read this review because there can be some references to book one.
It’s a few months since Kellen left his people behind. Now aged sixteen, Kellen is an outlaw, relying on his wits to keep him alive in the land of the Seven Sands. He misses home, he misses family and more than anything, he misses Nephenia, the girl he left behind.
Then he meets Seneira, a blindfolded girl who isn’t blind, and who carries a secret that’s all too familiar to Kellen. Kellen and Ferius resolve to help – but the stakes are far higher than they realise. A Shadowblack plague is taking hold – and Kellen can’t help but suspect his own people may even be behind it.
In this book we follow Kellen, Reichis and Ferius once again on their adventures ❤ This time Kellen doesn’t have to pass some magical tests, but there are trials and tribulations waiting for him and he will learn the paths of the Argosi. Once again Sebastien de Castell excells in his writing and manages to walk his own paths without getting lost 😉
Let’s start with the first path: main character Kellen. In this book he is still the awesome anti-hero he was from the start. The cowardly, reluctant hero who gets beaten up and defeated a lot of times, and he’s still egotistical at times and pities himself a lot haha. I don’t know if he is worse at being a magician or at being an outlaw, but neither role seems to fit him. And, yet, he learns and grows in this book and slowly, but surely discovers that the ways and worldvisions of the Jan’Tep are not the only ones, and maybe not the best ones. As a reader you can see him grow up and become more mature and independent. Furthermore, he learns to trust in his friends and to not always take the easy way out.
The second path: the side characters. I have to salute the author on this point. De Castell, seemingly without effort, knows how to create a wonderful cast of intriguing characters. I can’t help but start with Reichis ❤ I love that squirrel cat!!! He’s just as sarcastic, devious, and mischievous as ever. The interaction between Kellen and Reichis in this book is even more funny than in the first book, and half of time I was reading with an idiotic grin on my face (full on Cheshire haha). Of course Ferius is back too as the inscrutable mentor. Once again she manages to get tangled up in all kinds of arguments and fights, and once again she seems to bluff and talk her way out of almost everything. Her wise lessons are just as vague and hard to decipher as ever for Kellen, which results in a lot of funny scenes.
“First thing you learn travelling the long roads, kid: language is as much in the way you speak as the words you choose.”
In this book we meet a few new characters too, including Seneira and her Argosi mentor Rosie. Seneira is a really fun character with a strong personality, who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and tell Kellen he’s an idiot. The interaction between Kellen and Seneira is very humorous and had me laughing out loud multiple times.
“I instinctively reached out to steady her. Unfortunately for both of us, at that precise moment she shifted her weight to catch her balance. Our foreheads collided with a painful thud, and worse – much, much worse – it’s entirely possible that my lips brushed against hers in the process.
‘Did he just try to kiss me?’ she demanded loudly.”
The complicated relationship between Ferius and Rosie adds another layer of humor and tension to the story (and a lot of delicious chaos). The two are constantly competing with each other or arguing with one another. All the dialogues in this book are really amazing and wonderful!
The third path: tension, worldbuilding and plot. This is another one of those things De Castell seems to excell at. The moment Kellen, Reichis and Ferius paths cross with Seneira and Rosie you are plunged into the action and you won’t be able to put the book down. The group will have to find a cure for the shadowblack that’s torturing Seneira and her younger brother. Along the way they discover that there might be something else going on with Seneira, her brother and some other kids attending the Academy, a prestigious school in the Seven Sands, a barren wasteland where various peoples live, that is ruled by no one and isn’t even acknowledged as a proper country. The shadowblack of these children could be something far more sinister, something connecting back to the Jan’Tep and their hunger for power. Throughout the whole book you will be wondering if Kellen and his companions will be in time to solve the mystery of the shadowblack, if they can find a cure, if such a thing exists, and if they will be able to find the one who is behind all of this. The tension remains high the whole story long and the plot is crafted masterfully.
And then the final, and fourth, path: the writing style. I don’t think you will be surprised to hear that the writing is still AMAZING. Even funnier than in the first book, fast-paced and filled with suspense! I just flew through the pages. Furthermore, there is enough emotion to keep you hooked to and sympathizing with Kellen.
If you haven’t started reading this series yet you really should! These books are fantastic, filled with humor, suspense and emotion and they are incredibly fast-paced!!! I think I will be putting this series in my current top three with Harry Potter in first place, the Six of Crows duology in second place and the Spellslinger serie in third place <3<3<3
Happy reading you all!