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A-red-lipstick-wearing bibliophile extraordinaire. Word nerd & Joss Whedon fangirl; Literature lover & book reviewer. Lady Libertine; Tea collector; Potterhead.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Review: Shadowmancer

I was about 14 when my then best friend first handed me a copy of this book. "Read it." That's all she had to say. And I did. I started anyway, I had a vague recollection about the sea and moonlight. I never got passed the description of the moon.
It was at a time in my life where my book love hit an all time low and I was in that awkward goth stage. It was Edgar Allen Poe or it was nothing. 
"Read it," she said.
We danced this same book tango for years and she gave up the day we parted ways at 16,she took the book with her. Years later it became symbolic, only known as the one that got away. When I started this book list, I knew it had to be on there.
Unfortunately, Shadowmancer has been honoured with my first ever poor review. There are so many reasons why this book falls short for me and of it's expectation to 'counteract the rise in atheist propaganda'.  
The story speaks of the loathsome Demurral, the antagonist of the story and the archetypal good-vicar-gone-bad. As a character, Demurral is mean, stealing money out of the collection plate kind of mean. You see, Demurral is fed up of serving God and so he decides to act on that lovely cliche; if he can't join Him he's just going to have to beat Him. He needs the Keruvim to properly control death, problem is- he only has half of it. Not to worry, he already knows it's twin can't stay away for too long.
As with all stories, there needs to be the good guys. Queue, Raphah and his band of merry agnostic men. Raphah is young holy man from Africa who possesses divine healing powers from God (Riathamus). Using this force of goodness he shows people the righteous path and the will to follow it. With the help of characters; the smuggler Jacob Crane; Thomas, the village utchin; and his tomboy sidekick Kate, Raphah sets out to thwart Demurral's plans. 
I'm not new to Christian stories being interwoven into fantasy and children's literature, C. S Lewis' series holds a very special place in my heart. I guess the difference is The Chronicles of Narnia was done well without being too preachy. Shadowmancer goes in the complete other direction, at times I wasn't sure if I was reading a fantasy novel or a sermon. For me the novel seemed to be about each character's journey to accepting God in their hearts.
The characters were little to be desired, they didn't seem fully developed to me at all. Save for maybe Jacob Crane, but his character was all but lost as soon as he accepted God as his saviour. There were other characters that seemed to disappear completely, seemingly off the edge of the earth and for no plausible reason at all.  I don't know if they're yet to appear in the sequels or if it's just down to the inconsistent plot. 
I don't think I'll be holding my breath to find out though. It's highly unlikely I'll be picking up any of the sequels any time soon. 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆


  1. Hey, somebody else who thought this book was as terrible as I did :D
    Also, you might find it funny to know that I found this year old post by Googling "shadowmancer is a terrible book".

    For me, it wasn't just the bland characters and inconsistencies, it was that god awful excuse for a climax at the end. I was excited; the bad guys were getting what they wanted, all seemed hopeless, but the protagonists kept on. Then there was this Angel with a badass magical sword, and I was sure that something awesome was about to happen. Then... nope, good guys just win because it's God and you can't beat God because he's God. Book's over, sorry guys.

    1. Haha, you're not alone! There must be a lot of people who hate it as much as we do! I'm quite pleased you found my review the way you did. :)
      I completely agree with you! My review skills have improved since this post, but I was thinking a lot of the same things you are. It was probably one of the worst books I read that year.

      Thanks for stopping by!