Secret of the Shadow Beasts

Dial. Jun. 2022. 336p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735229327.
Gr 4-8–Shadow beasts have been ravaging the land daily during the time of gloaming, the line between day and night, safety and terror. Everyone is expected to be inside during the darkness, lest they be killed by the shadow beasts. The creatures come in different forms, ranging from spiderlike to wolflike, and can only be destroyed by the few children who have immunity. Nora is one of them. Most immune children begin training at age seven, but Nora’s father refuses to let her join the National Council. After he is killed by one of the monsters, she decides to join the trainees in hunting the shadow beasts. What ensues is one adventure after another as Nora, who reads as white, and her close-knit group of fellow cadets, who appear to be from varying cultures and backgrounds, take on the beasts. A mystery connected to Nora’s father and why the beasts have become so numerous unfolds along the way. Magras’s writing is fast-paced and engaging, and this volume leaves room for a sequel or two. The fantasy page-turner centers around the strength of friendship and the importance of working together, along with using creativity and ingenuity to problem solve.
VERDICT A satisfying adventure, and one to hand to fans of Amari and the Night Brothers.

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