Shadows by Robin McKinley
Shadows by Robin McKinley
A compelling and inventive novel set in a world where science and magic are at odds, by Robin McKinley, the Newbery-winning author of The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword, as well as the classic titles Beauty,Chalice, Spindle’s End, Pegasus and Sunshine
Maggie knows something’s off about Val, her mom’s new husband. Val is from Oldworld, where they still use magic, and he won’t have any tech in his office-shed behind the house. But—more importantly—what are the huge, horrible, jagged, jumpy shadows following him around? Magic is illegal in Newworld, which is all about science. The magic-carrying gene was disabled two generations ago, back when Maggie’s great-grandmother was a notable magician. But that was a long time ago.
Then Maggie meets Casimir, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen. He’s from Oldworld too—and he’s heard of Maggie’s stepfather, and has a guess about Val’s shadows. Maggie doesn’t want to know . . . until earth-shattering events force her to depend on Val and his shadows. And perhaps on her own heritage.
In this dangerously unstable world, neither science nor magic has the necessary answers, but a truce between them is impossible. And although the two are supposed to be incompatible, Maggie’s discovering the world will need both to survive.
I thought maybe it would get better as it went along, but it did not. The writing style was horrible and made my head ache with pain every time I read more than two sentences at a time. I love stream of consciousness; however, Maggie's thoughts weren't about connecting two dots but building the world and it was not done in an effective manner. There were words used that I still don't know what they mean because they were given to the reader without a definition or explanation -- they were seemingly random and then happened to pop up over and over again. There was no adequate description of what these world-specific things looked like which left me confused and dissatisfied overall. It took me so long to get through this book when in reality it should have taken me a couple hours at most.
Maggie was actually okay as a protagonist. She had some interesting characteristics about her and it was interesting seeing her grow into being okay around magic and the shadows. I would have liked there to be more development in terms of her relationships instead of throwing them at us but not giving enough details. I wasn't too keen on the whole "animals make everything better!!" in this novel, but none of the animals died so whatever. It did seem like a way for the author to include animals in a "logical" way without having to do much explanation for why the animals were around.
Overall: 2/5 stars and would not recommend this book to people who want to read a good fantasy/magic novel.