What if your family tried to keep their connection to a powerful magic away from you?
What happens when you find out that your family is connected to that magic for years?
Sierra Santiago learns about her family’s connection to a powerful magic in Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older, the first book of the Shadowshaper Cypher Series. She is a normal teenager from Brooklyn that loves making art murals and hanging out with her friends. However, she goes to a party and a corpse was there. Sierra finds out that corpse was not there by accident and is pulled into a world that has family ties.
Sierra gets connected to another artist named Robbie and he brings her into the world of the Shadowshapers. Also, her grandfather shows remorse in an unusual manner and Sierra discovers the deep family connection to this magic. With the help of her friends, Sierra faces Wick, an anthropologist that wants to harness the Shadowshaper magic for himself.
Older created an interesting and likable protagonist with Sierra Santiago and provided an excellent setting with Brooklyn that adds a lot to the story. However, I did not find Wick as a compelling antagonist for Sierra. I wanted to know more about him and his motivations for pursuing the Shadowshaper magic. I realized this is the first book of the series and has a lot of room for further development.
I plan to read Shadowhouse Fall and Shadowshaper Legacy to get the full picture of Sierra’s story. Older has written a love letter to Brooklyn and Boricuan culture that is much needed in contemporary fiction.