Shadowblack Review

Title // Shadowblack
Author // Sebastien de CastellPublication Date // October 2017Publisher // HotkeyReadership // Young AdultGenre // FantasyAustralian RRP // $19.99Rating // ✭✭✭✭


The second book in the rich, compelling and laugh-out-loud Spellslinger series for all teen, YA, adult and fantasy readers. Perfect for fans of The Dark Tower, Firefly, The Hunger Gamesand Guardians of the Galaxy.

It’s a few months since Kellen left his people behind. Now sixteen, Kellen and Reichis have developed something of a reputation for being able to kill unruly mages. So it’s no surprise when a wealthy but desperate father asks for their help in hunting down the men who’ve blackmailed him by putting a deadly curse on his only daughter. 

But when Kellen realizes the girl is showing all the symptoms of the Shadowblack, he starts to wonder if those same mages might be able to cure his own disease for the right price. 


Shadowblack is the fun, adventure-filled continuation of the Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell.

When I first read Spellslinger, I enjoyed it for how different it was to other young adult fantasy books, but there was a lot of world-building that slowed down the pace a bit. Shadowblack didn’t have the same pacing issues – the story opened and didn’t slow down until the end. The stakes are raised, the history of the characters is further developed and the world is expanded to show the overarching story that links both books together. 

What truly shines in Shadowblack are the characters. Kellen is learning to adapt to his new circumstances and changing situation after running away from his home, with a price on his head. He’s trying to unravel the mystery of his new life, and where he fits into the wider world and this allows him to be a very relatable character. 

Ferius continues to mentor Kellen in this book, and remains one of my favourite kick-ass female characters. We get to know her more through this story arc, as well as the beliefs that underpin everything she does. She’s not infallible, but she’s remarkable and her method of training Kellen was really fascinating to read.

Then there’s, Reichis, the squirrel cat, who’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for murder and mayhem can be curbed by only the most bizarre of circumstances (as you’ll find out when you read Shadowblack). Reichis continues to provide a lot of the laugh-out-loud moments throughout the story, and his relationship with Kellen, Ferius and some of the side-characters are really well-nuanced.

While the story upped the darkness level, some of the magic systems from the first book are left to the background, which doesn’t really affect the story overall. The magic is important within the world, but necessary to the story, and I liked how the author made the decision to focus on a different aspect in this particular book.

Overall, Shadowblack was a highly entertaining read and I look forward to the next book in the series.

4 out of 5 stars.

I received a copy of Shadowblack from Allen & Unwin in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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