Shadows usually follow people around harmlessly. Sometimes, though, they break those rules for very good reasons.
One of the things I enjoy the most about fantasy stories written for this age group is how magical the worlds in them can be. There’s something special about being transported to a time and place that doesn’t share our laws of physics or biology. Discovering what is and isn’t possible in other worlds is exciting, especially in cases like this one when the worldbuilding is so intricate.
With that being said, I had a lot of trouble keeping track of all of the names, places, and terminology that was used to describe the place where the human characters had ended up. Some of these terms shared so many letters or sounds in common that I never did get them completely sorted out. It would have been really helpful to either have a glossary of them or have more context clues about the words that were most similar to each other.
The mythology of Sceadu was well done. It’s hard to discuss where it comes from without giving away spoilers, but I was pleased to see how much work the author had clearly put into piecing everything together. This portion of the book reminded me of the explanatory passages I’ve seen in fantasy tales that were written for an adult audience. While there’s nothing inappropriate here for middle school students, this is also something I suspect much older readers might enjoy as well.
I’d recommend Sceadu to anyone who likes complex, otherworldly novels.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.