Review Blog

Feb 16 2010

Shadowmagic by John Lenahan

cover image

HarperCollins, 2009. ISBN 9781905548927.
(Ages 10-12) Conor is your average American teenager, who enjoys burgers, going to the movies with his girlfriend and watching shows on TV. He lives with his Dad who is not your average guy. He has one hand, speaks Celtic, has a variety of ancient weaponry at hand and insists on Conor practicing his swordsmanship. Things go seriously weird when he answers the door one day and his aunt tries to kill him.
Conor and his dad find themselves in The Land, a place apart from the real world, but one which his father is very familiar because he is heir to the kingdom of Tir na Nog. There is a prophecy which tells of the son of a one handed prince who must die or it will be the ruin of The Land. Conor's father moved them both to the real world, and lost his immortality, to protect his son from the prophecy.
Uncle Cialtie, and it seems every one else Conor meets, is eager to see the prophecy fulfilled. Fortunately magic protects Conor from the members of his own family who wish him dead. Conor is introduced to the inhabitants of the land which includes Leprechauns, Banshees, Elves and Imps. Lenehan has Conor lead us through The Land exploring the various groups and factions and using Conor's ignorance of their ways and customs to provide some humorous moments.
The story itself is of no great originality; the fight of good over evil, romance (of a very chaste type), a battle and the eventual triumph of the forces of good, despite overwhelming odds, and the restoration of the proper order. I suppose if you are a reader of between 10 and 14 there may be some laughs but for those looking for some serious fantasy it may be best to look elsewhere.
Mark Knight

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