This review is spoiler free.
“Here endeth the lesson, kid.”
Published: 2017, by Hot Key Books.
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic
Contains: Violence, Death, Fire, Blood/Gore, Anger
‘Shadowblack’ is the second installment of the Spellslinger series, following on from Kellen’s decision to leave his people behind and start anew as an outlaw. He falls into trouble more often than he’d like, making him miss his old life more and more regardless of how he didn’t make the best mage. However, distraction soon comes in the form of Seneira, a girl with a blindfold around her eyes and secrets that are a little too similar to his own.
I loved the first book, its concept and its characters luring me in from the first page; there’s so much potential in the Spellslinger world. So, I knew the moment I bought this book that I’d feel the same. However, this book made me love it so much more.
Kellen makes for an incredible protagonist. He’s clumsy, inexperienced and overly-curious, yet that’s what I love most about him. With Kellen as a narrator, the readers fall into sync with him, exploring the world alongside him in a way that makes it impossible not to be immersed in the world. In this installment, his negative traits are heightened as the threats rise, yet we can’t help but understand and sympathise with the mistakes he makes; we know just as much as he does. Sebastian de Castell’s writing is impeccable, the immersive language and short chapters move the story along smoothly, bouncing from humorous dialogue to action in such an effortless fashion. The chapters are short, making the read more addictive with only a handful of pages per one. It fuses with your hands until you reach the conclusion that makes you itching to pick up the next book.
In ‘Shadowblack’, the story progresses to where readers are introduced to a few new characters, all of which who are difficult not to love. Argosi Rosie, a tough-love character is initially difficult to chew, yet the more she interacts with the characters the more you discover the reasons why. Although, I personally couldn’t say that I liked her, her devotion to her path was admirable. However, Seneira, the known ‘blindfolded girl’ was an immediate delight. She’s sharp-tongued but full of heart from her first page, showing her strengths in every situation thrown at her. I desperately hope she’ll be fleshed out more as the series progresses; I love her character.
However, while discussing the characters it’s impossible not to mention the return of Ferius and Reichis; my favourite duo. Ferius’s aura of mystery is explored more in this sequel, with outcomes that prove she’s almost human behind the badassery. Reichis has a similar resolution, but one consisting of bathtubs and butter biscuits.
Overall, I adore this series. The characters and the page-turning world they inhabit is an absolute delight to read. I can’t wait to continue Kellen’s journey in book three.