BAYA Book Review

Shadowshaper Legacy (The Shadowshaper Cypher #3) by Daniel José Older

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Older, Daniel José. Shadowshaper Legacy (The Shadowshaper Cypher #3). Scholastic, 2020. 423p. ISBN: 9780545953009. $18.99. MS, HS, OT *****

The book cover of Shadowshaper Legacy.
Shadowshaper Legacy (The Shadowshaper Cypher #3),

Sierra and the whole house of Shadow and Light are at war. At the end of Book #2, Shadowhouse Fall, they got physically separated – some in jail, some in hiding, relationships tested or severed. Now the hierophant wildcards have come into play, things are heating up and threats are escalating. And with a spy in their ranks, the stakes have never been higher. Sierra is empowered by a deal her ancestors made with death; ancestors whose stories intertwine with Sierra’s own imminent battles. Can she protect the shadowshapers and those they love? What powers do the cards hold? Will Sierra be able to harness the powers of her legacy to bring about a satisfying conclusion to this epic urban fantasy trilogy?

The Shadowshaper trilogy concludes in this mythic, relationship and battle-filled fast-paced book. Readers of the first two books will be all-too ready to uncover the historic underpinnings of the magic in this world and watch the epic battles of the story’s finale. All the familiar characters are here, along with new characters who have only been alluded to in earlier books. The battles are bigger (though with less shaping) and the stakes higher as the book moves from familiar settings in Brooklyn and New Jersey all the way out to Puerto Rico where Sierra’s legacy was born. This book is more complex in that it weaves together intergenerational family stories and shifts back and forth in time. Still it retains the feel of the earlier two with a firm grounding in social justice narrative, romances that are less drama and more mutual support, family connections that are reinforced, a few awful sadnesses, and many triumphs. This book rounds out the whole story into a wholeness and a conclusion that was not what I was expecting but was thoroughly satisfying. There is some rough language and contextual violence. Readers who have not read the earlier books will likely have difficulty catching up with the story. For readers who have read the first two books, this one will not disappoint!

-Andrea Mullarkey, Berkeley Public Library – Tarea Hall Pittman South Branch

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