Shadowhouse Fall, by Daniel Jose Older

Shadowhouse Fall

What It’s About

Sierra Santiago restores her shadowshaper legacy, only to find it threatened by newly rising magic factions.

Why I Think You’d Like It

If Shadowshaper was like the very first Star Wars film (a blending of classic archetypes and modern SF that reawakens your hunger for quality genre fiction) then Shadowhouse Fall is The Empire Strikes Back; the story that goes beyond the tropes and shows what this world is truly capable of. It is nuanced, meaningful, and exciting as hell.

I loved how shadowshaping, a power that uses art to connect the living to the dead, meshed with Black Lives Matter protests and student activism. Integrating real world issues into fantasy worlds is a tricky feat. The impact can be powerful, but there is a high risk of either trivializing the issue, or going gratuitously grimdark in a panicky overcorrection. A lot of what makes this book work so well is the raw, passionate, life affirming emphasis on art and community. It can go deep into the honesty of the pain, simply by having enough hope and joy and love to balance the scales.

I could write a full dissection of all the nuances and details that this book does just right, but I need to leave it to you to discover and enjoy it’s brilliance for yourself. This is a fantastic series, and I cannot wait for the next installment. Go get on this epic shit!

Content Warnings

Some intense action scenes. Also the threat of police brutality on several main characters.

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