Game of Shadows
by Erika Lewis
Published: 28 February 2017
Publisher: Tor Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
My Rating: 4/5!
Ethan Makkai thought that seeing ghosts was the worst of his problems. Between his ethereal gift and life with a single mother hell-bent on watching his every move, he feels imprisoned. When Ethan sees a chance to escape, to leave the house by himself for the first time in his life, he seizes it, unaware that this first taste of freedom will cost him everything.
Ethan is thrown into a strange and eerie world, like nothing he's ever seen. He's assaulted by dive-bombing birds and rescued by a stranger who claims to be his bodyguard. His apartment is trashed, and his mother is kidnapped to a place Ethan never knew existed—a hidden continent called Tara.
Travelling to Tara in search of his mother, Ethan discovers that everything he knows about his life is a lie. His mother is royalty. His father is not dead. His destiny is likely to get him killed.
Confronted by a vicious sorcerer determined to destroy the Makkai family, Ethan must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother and all the people of Tara, including the beautiful girl he’s fallen for.
Favorite Authors Read This Year
Juliet Marillier - Daughter of the Forest
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - Illuminae
Kevin Sands - The Blackthorn Key
Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn
Pete Hamill - Forever
Gayle Forman - Just One Day
Kathleen Glasgow - Girl in Pieces
Neil Gaiman - American Gods
Samantha Shannon - The Bone Season
Jennifer Nielson - Mark of the Thief
Where to even start? Well, let's start by saying this novel centers around Ethan Makkai, a teen living with his over-protective mother. He has the ability to talk to ghosts, which he isn't allowed to talk about, and he can't go anyway without his mom accompanying him. Though he loves his mother dearly, he wants nothing more than to have his freedom and be able to escape the feeling of always being watched over. He decides to sneak out of his apartment on his birthday to go to school by himself instead of waiting for his mom to go with him. Unfortunately, this one decision triggers a chain reaction that leads to his mom being kidnapped and Ethan discovering his life is not what he thought it was.
Oh my goodness, this book is quite the ride! I loved it from start to finish and couldn't stop myself from flying through it. Ethan is headstrong, brave, smart, and caring. So much happens to him a short period of time, I have no idea how he is able to stand up straight, let alone find a way to rescue his mother. I don't want to give anything away, but some of the stuff he finds out is crazy life-altering! As mentioned in the synopsis, he travels to the land of Tara. Just finding out that there is a mystical place like Tara in existence would be enough, but then he discovers his mother is from there? AND she's a princess in the realm of Landover? Mind-blowing. As I mentioned, Ethan is determined to rescue his mother. However, with his Uncle recently murdered, Landover is without a King. General Niles of Landover is determined to keep Ethan safe, so he tries to keep him from leaving. Ethan escapes with his newly discovered cousin, Christian, and sets off on a journey. They are joined quickly by General Niles' daughter, Lily, who is determined to prove herself to her father. I am quite fond of Lily, in all honesty. She doesn't want to be looked over as nothing more than just a healer. She wants to fight and protect Landover like her father and brothers do, but her father doesn't want her to get hurt. She is super smart and she really keeps Ethan in check. She calls him out when he's being stupid, but she also stands with him when he needs her most. Other than Ethan, I think she may be my favorite. Speaking of Ethan and Lily, when Ethan arrives in Tara, something within Lily awakens. She discovers she has magical powers! How cool is that? The trio face a lot of dangers on their journey, but with Ethan's bravery, Lily's magic, and Christian's fighting skils, they are able to get through quite a lot.
There are multiple creatures and characters in Tara that are positively marvelous, frustrating, terrifying, and intense. Ethan discovers his dad is not dead but alive in Tara. The trio initially heads off to find him, Runyun Cooper, because he knows where to find the bad guy. He's kind of a cad, but I kind of really like him. Can they trust him, though? Only time will tell! The "bad guy" in Game of Shadows is really, really bad. His name is Sawney Bean and he is a seriously evil master sorcerer. He had the Ravens - shapeshifters who have sided with Bean - kidnap Ethan's mom from our world and bring her back to Tara. Naturally, his reasoning behind this is known only to him and his cronies, but you can imagine they are quite evil. Every realm in Tara is terrified of Bean and they fear the day he might escape from his prison. The author has definitely created a villain of masterful cruelty, malice, and evil.
One of my favorite parts of this novel is the setting. The story starts off in Los Angeles, which is familiar of course, but as soon as it moves to Tara, the book really comes alive. Tara seems like an absolutely gorgeous place. Sure, there are many dangers, and even some less than wonderful locales, but this magical land is positively enchanting. Ethan's ancestral realm of Landover seems like a picturesque place and I found myself utterly in love with it. Every realm has its own look, feel, and inhabitants. They all come together so wonderfully in this book, and the author has given such detail to each, you can't help but be immersed in the setting.
Game of Shadows is a fast-paced, engaging, epic quest novel that readers of all ages are sure to love. I definitely recommend getting lost within the pages of this book and joining Ethan on his adventures through Tara!
Praise for Game of Shadows“A fantastical journey that I didn’t want to end!” ―Sherrilyn Kenyon, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“It’s impossible to put this riveting page-turner down!” ―Stan Lee, author, editor, actor, and former president and chairman of Marvel Comics
“This book’s got heart . . . a wonderful adventure.” ―R. A. Salvatore, New York Times bestselling author of The Hunters Blades novels
“One of those thrilling tales you can’t put down . . . the perfect blend of imaginative world-building and nonstop action wrapped up in a compelling mystery.” ―D.J. MacHale, New York Times bestselling author of Pendragon and The SYLO Chronicles
“We were hooked. This is an adventure story for the ages.” -- John Barrowman & Carole Barrowman, authors of the Hollow Earth trilogy & Conjuror
“Riveting from the start.” ―Steven Gould, author of Jumper
“Lewis has created a whole new world that is at once exciting and affecting. . . . She weaves a web of mythology that is both reminiscent of the Celtic world and redolent of the unique creation of a rich and fertile imagination.”―Dara Hellman, Lecturer, Celtic Studies Program, University of California, Berkeley
Erika Lewis graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Math. And what do you do with a degree in Math? You become a writer of course… eventually…
She moved to the west coast following her dream to work in television. And after fifteen glorious years developing and producing for truly awesome places, like Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fireworks Television, 20th Television, that’s a division of Fox if you didn’t know that, and then at G4, where she could finally be free to be the nerd she had always been. She had more collectible toys in her office than even the famed executive producers of Attack of the Show and XPLAY. At least that’s the way she remembers it.
So how did this circle back to the beginning of this bio? A Math major becoming a writer? Because she’d actually always been a writer, she just never told anyone. She would write and write, edit and edit, then realize that it wasn’t good enough and go back in for yet another pass. And when she finally had several projects she really loved, that’s when she knew it was time to unleash them to the world.
Her first project, a graphic novel, The 49th Key, is currently being featured in Heavy Metal Magazine, and will be released in trade in summer, 2017. Along with her amazing partner, Jessica Chobot, she’s currently working with LINE Webtoon and Legendary Comics on Firebrand, an ongoing comic series. Her first novel, Game of Shadows hits the bookstore shelves February 28th, 2017 from TOR/Forge Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.
There are several other really exciting projects that you will be hearing much more about soon, but if she leaked them now, she’d get in big, big, big trouble. She resides in the sunshine state of California. When she’s not chained to her laptop, she’s usually playing with her big fluffy Golden Retriever, or running, or at one of the bookstores or comic shops by her house. And always drinking coffee.
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