Shadow Run

STRICKLAND, Adrianne & . 400p. ebook available. Delacorte. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399552533.
Gr 8 Up—Shadow, a volatile and dangerous galactic energy sourced from the stars, can be harvested only through risky piloting known as "fishing," and it seems to permanently affect humans exposed to it. After coming into contact with it, some humans are driven mad, some become gifted, some experience both reactions, but all can expect an early death. Powerful and greedy families are willing to go to any lengths to acquire the key to shadow affinity, as it greatly enhances wealth and authority. Captain Qole Uvgamut is supposedly the youngest and most skilled shadow fishing captain in the galaxy and is also rumored to have a special shadow affinity. Nev Dracorte is posing as a shadow loader, hiding his true identity in an effort to persuade Qole to unlock the powers of shadow. These elements are skillfully combined into a grand space adventure, chock-full of action, battles of good and evil, love, and betrayal. The characters are well-developed; Nev and Qole's initial antagonism and mistrust are authentic, and their companions are also nicely fleshed out. The characters are diverse as well, including Basra, whose gender is flexible. The world-building is excellent, with a convincingly unique source of cosmic energy that has the potential for extraordinary power. The writing is accomplished; the plot, though familiar, has good twists; and the pace is appropriately fast.
VERDICT Fans of the "Lunar Chronicles" by Marissa Meyer and the "Starbound" series by Amie Kaufman will especially enjoy this strong debut in the YA space opera genre.

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