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Review: Shadowblack by Sebastien de Castell (Spellslinger #2)

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Shadowblack by Sebastien de Castell // VBC Shadowblack (Spellslinger #2)
Sebastien de Castell
Published: Aug. 21, 2018 (Orbit)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference previous books. If you haven’t started this series yet, check our VBC’s review of book 1, Spellslinger.

For four months Kellan has been on the run from the Jan’Tep after he discovered corruption within his clan. Now Kellan, his enthusiastically murderous/thieving business partner (don’t call him a pet) squirrel-cat Reichis, and Kellan’s still mysterious mentor in the way of the Argosi Ferius Parfax find themselves wandering through the Seven Sands avoiding the hextrackers sent after them.

When they run into a girl who seems to be afflicted with the Shadowblack, same as Kellan, their investigations lead to a conspiracy involving blackmail and murder.

I really liked that Sebastian de Castell chose to have Kellan leave at the end of Spellslinger. I was excited to open up this wild-west fantasy world and see Kellan grow as a character and Shadowblack does just that by starting Kellan on his journey.

The story starts out with Kellan in a predicament we saw quite frequently in Spellslinger: getting into a fight, and subsequently losing said fight. Almost as an homage of where he’s been, by the end of Shadowblack we see where Kellan’s character has the potential to go, and I liked that a lot. While he still exhibits his penchant for getting into/out of trouble on the spot, he’s still struggling with the uncertainty of his path since the traditional way of the Jan’Tep is all but closed off to him. But the maturity he shows as he learns what options await him speaks to wonderful character growth.

Much of Kellan’s growth comes from Ferius Parfax’s influence, however frustrating Kellan may find it as Ferius still manages to maintain the air of mystery that surrounds her and the way of the Argosi. We do meet up with another Argosi, and pretty much what we learn from that experience is Ferius still marches to the beat of her own drum. The way she teaches Kellan and the wisdom she imparts is subtle, but I loved seeing it put to good use by Kellan in the end. I equally look forward to continuing to learn more about Ferius as her story unfolds along with Kellan’s.

Shawdowblack’s storyline, like with the characters, builds upon what was started in Spellslinger and leaves a clear path of where the story will go next. With things still unresolved between Kellan and his family, I can’t imagine that, in the end, all roads won’t lead Kellan back to the Jan’Tep, but in the meantime I’m enjoying seeing him spread his wings a little as he continues to defy expectations.

Sexual content: kissing

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