Rating: 3.5 STARS
Standalone/Series: Spellslinger #2
How I got this book: Bought
It's a few months since Kellen left his people behind. Now aged sixteen, Kellen is an outlaw, relying on his wits to keep him alive in the land of the Seven Sands. He misses home, he misses family and more than anything, he misses Nephenia, the girl he left behind.
Then he meets Seneira, a blindfolded girl who isn't blind, and who carries a secret that's all too familiar to Kellen. Kellen and Ferius resolve to help - but the stakes are far higher than they realise. A Shadowblack plague is taking hold - and Kellen can't help but suspect his own people may even be behind it.
I've been a bit under the weather for the past few days and I've really struggled to get the words to flow with this review, so apologies in advance if it stinks!
I read Spellslinger at the end of last year. I'd initially started it in October, got about 40% of the way in and then stopped because I just wasn't connecting fully with the story. But, I knew there was potential there and maybe it was just my mood at the time because I came back to it in December, finished it and really enjoyed it.
The characters are fantastic, and not the typical characters you'd expect. The main character Kellen is, well, I'm not really sure what he is. He isn't your typical hero, but he's also not an anti-hero. He's pretty helpless, clueless and s*** out of luck to the point that even his own sister lands him in a heap of trouble that will change his entire life...for better or worse, it's not all that clear yet.
Shadowblack starts shortly after Spellslinger ended and begins in the borderlands, our unwitting hero, Kellen is now an outlaw with the magical disease Shadowblack. Hunted by his own people, he's had to leave everything behind and now travels in the company of Ferius, a mystery Argosi traveller with a sharp tongue and even sharper card-fighting skills, and Reichis, a talking Squirrel cat with a thirst for eyeballs and thievery.
The story begins with Kellen finding himself on the wrong end of a beating (yet again), which is consistent with the previous book. The other thing consistent with the previous book is that I found the first 40% a little slow going. I kept pushing because, like with the last book, I was hoping things would pick up, and they did. Just after that 40/50% mark the pace definitely took a turn for the better and I found myself flying through the pages.
This instalment introduces new characters, new mystery and a deeper plot to the original story.
Ferius, as always, is there to guide Kellen, without getting too involved (as is the Argosi way) but this time there's discord in their relationship, and it's enhanced by the arrival of some new faces:
- Rosie (a.k.a The Path of Thorns and Roses) - an Argosi from Ferius's past - the relationship with these two was fun to watch but left a fair amount of mystery that I hope will be revealed in the future.
- Seneira - a blindfolded girl who isn't blind. Seneira has a secret, a potentially deadly one, and her snarky, no-nonsense attitude made a great addition to this book.
- Dexan - a mysterious Jan'Tep outlaw who gives Kellen a new path to follow.
- Mama Whispers - other than my absolute favourite character (I'll get to him in a minute), I absolutely loved the creepy Mama Whispers. I want more of her!!
Now to my favourite!! Reichis is without a doubt the best character of this entire series. I don't think I've ever related to a character as much as I did in the bath and biscuit scene (look out for it). Reichis is all of us after a long, hard day.
''Right now I just want to murder another one of those biscuits. Gimme.' I really don't understand squirrel cats.'
Kellen might not understand you Reichis, but I do! Biscuits are life!
And his constant need to murder someone after being around them for more than 5 minutes is entirely relatable!
'I crave human flesh tonight, and I will drain the blood of every skinbag I catch!'
The second book in this six book series shows Kellen coming into his own a lot more. He's starting to grow, using his head to figure things out and learning more about who he is, who he could be, and who he wants to be.
The overall plot that started in the first book really thickens in Shadowblack and it'll be interesting to see how it plays out over the rest of the series.
One of the things I enjoyed a lot about Shadowblack was that we get out of Jan'Tep, away from Kellen's home and can finally explore a little more of the world. I particularly love the idea behind the Seven Sands and that each region has a different colour of sand.
This book is packed to the brim with bounty hunters, magic, danger, mystery, secret plots, Argosi wisdom and trickery, squirrel cat bravery, a few kisses, spirits, butter biscuits, a bath or two, a lesson in smiling, a pink squirrel cat, and a crocodile.
Enjoy skinbags ;)
Never miss a post!
About Kayleigh (She/Her)
Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
About Sophie (She/Her)
Sophie loves books (obviously). She has a passion for photography and spotting wildlife, and is interested in anything made with passion and creativity.
THIS BLOG IS SPOILER FREE!
5 Stars - AMAZING!!
4.5 Stars - Almost perfect!
4 Stars - I really loved it
3.5 Stars - I liked it alot
3 Stars - I liked it
(I don't typically review books that I rate below 3 stars)
Upcoming Blog Tours: