Tag Archives: Daniel José Older

Book Review: Shadowhouse Fall (The Shadowshaper Cypher, Book 2) by Daniel José Older

Shadowhouse Fall (The Shadowshaper Cypher, Book 2)     

Author: Daniel José Older

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

American release date: September 12, 2017

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/YA Contemporary Fantasy/368 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

A lot is going on in Sierra Santiago’s life. After learning she was a shadowshaper, and so is Robbie, a guy she likes but never really talked to, Sierra discovers the existence of the Deck of Worlds and then is made the new Lucera by her dead grandmother. A whole lot to absorb! Sierra has initiated some of her friends and family as shadowshapers as well, and now she needs to find out what’s going on with this deck, and who does she need to fight to keep it from falling into the wrong hands? Sometimes it’s impossible to tell who can be trusted.

A girl named Mina shows up unexpectedly and tries to give Sierra a card – the Hound of Light, but Sierra wants nothing to do with it. Does the card represent someone to be feared? Where is this person? Could it be Mina herself? And why is Robbie so often as not MIA? What’s going on with him, and what about their feelings for one another? Were those real or were those just shadows too?  When she learns Tee has accepted a different card from Mina, Sierra suddenly feels that maybe she should retrieve the first one before it’s too late.

Sierra finds that the Deck of Worlds is being brought into play, and that houses are forming which could be dangerous to her Shadowhouse. Maybe even more dangerous than the Sorrows.  She ends up with the deck and different cards begin to connect to various people in her life, including her mother! Who saw that coming?

Sierra finds herself growing closer to one of her brother Juan’s bandmates, Pulpo, except now she thinks of him as Anthony, and she is definitely attracted to him. Things are so complicated without adding that to the mix. And what about Robbie? She has no idea. But things are escalating, and the police are a large part of what’s going on, and Sierra fears for the lives of everyone she loves. If she’s gonna be the Lucera, she might just have to kick some butt and take numbers…

There is a lot going on in this second book, no lie. Forces are coming into play that threaten Sierra and her family and friends. How can she stop this? Can she stop this? There are so many dilemmas Sierra is facing, not least of which is not being able to tell Bennie she’s seen his dead brother. I love the part about her uncle Neville and Nydia – so cute! And I am thrilled that Izzy can shape with her words. I have no idea what will happen in the triangle of Sierra, Robbie, and Anthony. I don’t think anything is settled yet, far from it.

Parts of this book will make you laugh, parts will make you cry, and others will make you gnash your teeth in rage, while others are pure page turners as you rush to find out what is going on. A splendid second volume for the series and I can’t wait to read the next one.

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!