Book Review: Shadowshaper (The Shadowshaper Cypher, Book 1) by Daniel José Older

Shadowshaper (The Shadowshaper Cypher, Book 1)       

Author: Daniel José Older

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

American release date: June 30, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/YA Contemporary Fantasy/239 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Sierra Santiago is a mural artist. She, along with other artists, work on murals at the Junklot, owned by Manny the Domino King. Her own mural, which is going to be awesome, lies on the side of an old brick building which already contains other murals. One day Sierra notices something odd. The murals seem to be fading, but not with time or weather. And one of the figures seems to be crying. How is that even possible?

Things start to get stranger when Sierra’s stroke-ridden abuelo, Lazaro, apologizes to her and warns her of shadowshapers. What does that even mean? He tells her to contact Robbie, a boy at her school she doesn’t really know but wishes she did. And then at the first party of the summer, a corpse walks in… and life for Sierra will never be the same.

Sierra and her friends, as well as Robbie, and Sierra’s family, including her rock star brother Juan, have been plunged into a world they never imagined existed. But they better figure it out quickly, because something wicked is definitely coming their way.

This is my first time reading this author, but it certainly won’t be the last, even after I finish this series. He has a very smooth, easy-to-read style that draws you in even as he develops intriguing and interesting character. He has created a new world with new entities in the form of the shadowshapers. Sierra is a great heroine, and Robbie her match. I like the way he creates whole characters, neither wholly good or wholly bad, but some of each. Nobody is one way or the other, and even characters you dislike may have redeeming qualities.

I’m greatly looking forward to the next book and highly recommend it!

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