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Book Review: Son of Shadow by John Lenahan #TheWriteReads #BlogTour

My dear bookish friends,

Today I’m reviewing Son of Shadow by John Lenahan, a fun and fast-paced fantasy with lots of Celtic mythology elements that I really enjoyed! If that sounds like something you might enjoy, please keep on reading!

A big thank you to TheWriteReads for my spot on the tour, as well as to the author and Eye and Lightning Books for the ecopy of the book (none of which influenced my review in any way).

The Blurb

From the author of the Shadowmagic trilogy

A world of faeries, leprechauns and dragons – and magic fuelled by the blood of trees.

A mystery portal to the Real World.

And a pair of curious young adventurers who know they shouldn’t step through it…

Meet Fergal the Second, nicknamed ‘two’. Or ‘Doe’, in his own language. He can do magic. But, for the moment, he’s forgotten where he’s from. Or what’s happened to his blind friend Ruby.

He’s actually from Tir na Nog, the enchanted world of Shadowmagic, where a new generation of the royal House of Duir are cheeking their parents, preparing for adulthood and itching to see the Real World for themselves – whatever the peril.

My Review
When I first heard Son of Shadow is set (partially) in Tir na Nog I was immediately drawn to the book, as Irish (and Celtic in general) mythology is something I’m really interested in.
I loved the beginning of the book. We are just as confused as Doe is when he finds himself in the human world but doesn’t know who he is or where he’s from. The police officer he meets asks him a number of questions and suddenly he is able to reply in Polish, but also seems to know a multitude of other languages, which not only startles the police. Why is Doe on earth? Where is he from? And what was he supposed to do while in the human world? All questions both Doe as well as the reader wonder about.
The author has a very special writing style that I love – it’s kind of funny and sarcastic at times but very subtlely so, adding a layer of lightness, quirk and fun to the story that I really enjoyed. I also really liked that there were jumps in time as well as between the different worlds – Tir na Nog as well as our own. Oftentimes in fantasy, such time jumps and moving back and forth between places can be a bit confusing, but I thought it was very well done here.
On his way Doe meets Sarah who can see the future – a helpful ability, especially to someone like Doe, who knows he has a certain task to complete but is unable to remember what it was, let alone who he is or where it is he has landed. Together, the unlikely pair travel across America, and Doe learns things that seem the most trivial to us (like what pizza is!), and I loved his reactions every time.
What I also loved was all the mentions of Irish mythology. Tir na Nog of course being one of them, but also fairies, leprechauns and dragons making appearances, as well as the legendary Irish hero Cu Chulainn. While I really enjoyed all of the Celtic mythology and folklore elements I would have loved learning more about each creature as well as their world. I felt like sometimes we only just grazed the surface and I think there would have been a lot more to discover. However, that is the only slight “negative” I can even mention.
If you’re a fan of mythology, magic, and quirky, fun and fast-paced fantasies, then you should definitely give Son of Shadow a go. I for my part know that I also want to read the author’s previous books now!
4.5 stars from me!
Thank you all so much for reading!
About the Author
Born in Philadelphia but long settled in the UK, John Lenahan is an acclaimed magician and TV performer. He fronted his own BBC2 magic series Stuff the White Rabbit, played the voice of the toaster in Red Dwarf and has appeared on a wide range of entertainment shows including TFI Friday, Comedy Café and Celebrity Squares. He is a member of the exclusive Magic Circle. He is also the author of the popular Shadowmagic trilogy, a fantasy adventure series for young adults which combines Irish folk myth with 21st-century wit. Son of Shadow takes up the story once more, following the noble houses of the magical parallel world of Tir na Nog into the next generation.
The Banner
As some of you may know, I am the graphic designer for TheWriteReads tours, and I absolutely loved designing and creating this tour banner! The book cover is gorgeous – simple and elegant, yet somehow also mysterious and promising more hidden behind the subtle art – and I love the shade of green as well as the Celtic knot it presents so prominently. Definitely a cover I would look at for longer, so I’m contemplating also getting a print copy of the book!

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