Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose` Older

22295304Published June 30th 2015 by Arthur A. Levine Books

Young-Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Supernatural

Purchased Kindle Book

My Rating 3.5 Stars

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Cassandra Clare meets Caribbean legend in SHADOWSHAPER, an action-packed urban fantasy from a bold new talent.

Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.

MY THOUGHTS You know that I hate comparisons between books. I just can’t express that one enough. In fact, I think I ranted that on someone’s post a few months ago. I understand that the author/publishers want to drive readers to something that they already love and want them to experience something with similar elements. This one has been on my radar since the beginning of the year. That cover drew me in, not the blurb (at first). After I finished admiring the artsy cover, I then saw Cassandra Clare’s name. I was immediately sold, and I wanted this book like nothing else I’ve wanted before. “Shadowhunters” and “shadowshapers” are similar, in that they “draw or paint” to urge or discourage. I love that this book was right on in that comparison. And then we have the author’s uniqueness thrown in to make it stand on it’s own, to which I found very engrossing. I was, however, let down on all that awesomeness. I think there could have been more thrown in to make it even better.

It started out great, with Sierra in the junk lot painting a mural and admiring the fading one beside it. The painting was crying – if that doesn’t raise goosebumps, I don’t know what will. And then there’s the introduction of the other characters at a party. Nothing serious happened until a strange and smelly old dude crashes the party and chases Sierra. Okay, so Sierra’s talk with her grandfather beforehand didn’t really give much away. He just told her to ask Robbie for help. Robbie is an artist who lives in his own little bubble. I immediately loved his character. Then there are the domino guys who tell Sierra to paint as many monsters in her mural as possible, without actually saying why. Manny doesn’t want to talk, Mami doesn’t want to talk, NOBODY wants to talk about shadowshapers, magic, spirits, demons. NOTHING. I was beginning to feel annoyed that nothing was happening, and then it did. When Robbie and Sierra get down to the whys of what is happening, things really take off. I knew that Sierra was key to the whole thing and that she was bow-down worthy. Everything sort of spilled out and time was against Sierra to find the mysterious Lucera and Dr. Wick.

There were a few characters who actually added nothing to this story for me. Juan, her brother, was there to further the “boys-only-club” rule, since he is male. Sierra was a bit bitter about her grandfather telling Juan about their family history and magic. She was gung ho about what she learned from Lucera, so it all evened out. I want to say Neville was meaningless, but without him Sierra wouldn’t have gotten in the campus library at Columbia. He’s all cloak and dagger and doesn’t mind being all bad axx. Still, I think Sierra could have gotten around New York without him, especially after she realized what she could do. Shadowshaping is quite interesting. I think that the scenes could have been more powerful, and longer. Especially with that dragon coming out of Sierra’s mural! I want another book because I want to see how Sierra handles the role she has been given, and how all of her friends take to their initiation. And what of her grandfather? Did his condition reverse after all was said and done? See, I need more more more.

This book is filled with spirits/ghosts, magic, and a little mayhem. Corpuscles (not sure if I spelled that right) – basically the walking dead – are running around creating chaos in Sierra’s world. Shadowshapers are being hunted and killed for their powers, no one in Sierra’s family want to talk about it, she also has a thing for Robbie, her friends are all down for the cause and want to help….. Even with all this, I still feel like something is missing.  I’m just glad that the little romance didn’t take this story by storm. Otherwise, I think that I would have given up. Sierra starts out as a little self conscious, but that changes quickly after she goes in on her aunt Rosa. Loved that moment! I loved all the Puerto Rican slang thrown in throughout and you may need to brush up on your Spanish for this one. Not that it’s hard to understand what is being said because of the translated narration that follows. If you love Clare’s Shadowhunters, then you will love these Shadowshapers. It wasn’t a bad read for me and I’m sure that a lot of paranormal/supernatural readers will definitely love it. Recommended!


21 thoughts on “Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose` Older

  1. This one sounds interesting and I am not sure I can entirely make out what it is going to be about to the point. It seems like it has a bit of a slow beginning, taking a while for things to take off because no one is explaining, but that it gets better when people begin to do so. It’s shame about there being some useless characters and so on, but it seems like a decent read. I like the cover ^^


  2. Well I love the fact that this is such a diverse book! Puerto Rican slang? Gosh, I’m sold. AND the fact that it’s similar to Cassandra Clare gives it that wow factor like you said. BUT the only thing that does give me loads is the fact that you did there were times when nothing was happening. I’m like you in that I CAN’T STAND for there not to be something interesting happening in the book. I NEEDS, I CRAVE it. So did you end up liking the book or was it just a meh read?

    Liked by 1 person

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