If knowledge is power, then what is a secret? When Marcus, desperate to be included in the search for his missing sister, wishes for a sign—some way to help—he gets... a cat? Ellie’s guardian arrives unannounced to deliver a plea for assistance, and a cryptic warning that only Marcus can work out. Only, he’s too late. Shadow magic has been released into the world again, and with it, the rise of the Shadow Master looms imminent. Now, with time against him, Marcus must cross into another world on a magical adventure, and team up with pirates and dragons to fight against the mystical forces mounting against him and his family in an attempt to keep him from his sister, and the secret part they all play in the Shadow Master’s plan to return to power. How will Marcus succeed? Well, he has a few secrets of his own.
Justin was born with an active imagination on a U.S. naval base in Spain, but has spent most of his life in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains of Utah. He is bilingual, and has lived all over the world. He has four children; two boys, and two girls, and one wife. He doesn't have any pets that he's aware of, but his children have been known to hide things under his bed.
In his free time Justin loves to read, write, and play games. He enjoys his close friends, and loves to make people laugh. To learn more about Justin, or his work, you can visit him at www.justinswapp.com
Justin is the author of The Magic Shop. He has also been published in several anthologies, including The Crimson Pact (Volumes 1, 2, and 5), The Memory Eater, and Short Sips: Coffee House Flash Fiction Collection 2.
This was second in Shadow Magic series that revolved around Marcus Fith, his quest of finding his twin sister Ellie and saving her from the danger. It was about dark magic, conflicted family relationship, sibling love, and good vs evil. It included loads of action packed adventure with magical mysterious twists.
Initially, I couldn’t recall much what happened in first book but author didn’t let me stray from the current plot and I could go along easily and could grasp what was going on with the current situation of characters. As I read more I could figure out what was in first book and how it followed in this one. I highly suggest read this book in sequence and without keeping much gap between sequels to enjoy it thoroughly.
characters- Marcus was impulsive and curious character who loved his sister and family. He was the only conscience character among the deceiving secretive adults he encountered in this book. I loved the way he tried to connect with his parents after what happened in the first book and even though deep down he knew that he shouldn’t trust them. He had confusing mind but nice heart. Author gave his action realistic approach that made him interesting to read.
There were many characters in the book with some old and some new interesting characters but it mainly focused on Marcus. It is hard to talk about other secondary characters without giving away much. All characters were highly unpredictable. Till the end of the book I couldn’t figure out who to trust. They all were deceiving except Marcus which made book hard to put down.
what i liked.- First thing, I liked this sequel more than first book. Better writing, more engaging plot, humorous and action packed. Book was third person narrative from Marcus’s viewpoint that showed his emotions remarkably. His love for his sister and the danger he was willing to drown in for her was awe-inspiring. The family dynamic was getting more complex. Back stabbing, misleading, secretive, treacherous nature was so common that I pitied kids in the book.
Book started with situation in Fith family after 1 year of their last encounter with Old Ones, shadow magic, Ellie’s disappearance- Marcus’s lonely feeling and frustration of being trapped in house and helpless in finding Ellie, a cousin he never met before coming to live with them. It gave the gloomy feeling that I couldn’t shake off. Then all of sudden it took interesting turn– Ellie’s guardian, Ellamir whom Marcus didn’t know about came to him for help in saving his sister which drags him into exciting travel on ship having talking monkey as companion, dangerous encounter with shadow’s servant on secretive island, to the mysterious magical forest and deadly escape from the ancient shadow master. I got more and more engrossed with each adventure. There was constant air of uncertainty, anxiety, thrill and excitement that never left till the end of the book.
The world of Shadow magic was explained more precisely in first book. In this book, author expertly unraveled more secrets and some more information without any repetitive information from the first book focusing on how characters were deeply tangled into its complex structure of the world.
All twist and turns were brilliant. Climax was cleverly written with vivid description of war between good vs evil. End was much more satisfactory in than first one. I simply enjoyed this book. I would love to see what happens in the next book of the series. This is getting more interesting.
why 4.5 stars- Characters are still under development. Looking at the plot it was not major point. Another thing is, I would like to know why Marcus’s grandparents are so secretive after all that happened? I would like to see Ellie and her magic more in next book, I’m saving that half star for that.
Overall, it was absorbing, unputdownable, cleverly written, adventurous dark magical world of shadow with complex family dynamic and lots of twist and turns. I highly recommend this book to all fantasy lover but make sure you are reading this in sequence.
Note: Many thanks to author for providing e-copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
My dad is the Mr Winegar at the start of this book. He's in the book, I think because of my constant pestering of him asking Mr Swapp if his book was done yet. I loved The Magic Shop and couldn't wait to continue the adventure.
The beginning was a good touch. Seeing it was from Winston’s perspective made me immediately start to smile. I was eager to read the book since the last one. The suspense was killing me when my dad told me to stop reading and get in the car. I couldn’t put it down while reading it. It was an emotional roller coaster. I wanted to chuck the book across the room, keep reading it, and cry all at the same time. Let’s just say Tofu was my favorite character. And, dang, Marcus! I could almost feel his emotions. The detail was insanely good with the surroundings. In my style of writing I spend a lot of time describing the eyes and over all appearance. I never really focused on surroundings, but I could tell you spent a lot of time on it. I could vividly picture everything.
I loved this book! it was so worth the wait. Can't wait for more.
It's been a year since the events of the previous book. Ellie is still missing and Marcus is extremely frustrated because he's being kept as a prisoner in his home in order to make sure he isn't taken as well. Unfortunately, Marcus has never done well with captivity. He doesn't care that his grandparents think he's "too important." His sister is missing, and he is determined to find her, though he doesn't know how.
That changes when a letter is delivered to him one day. Though it takes him a while to figure out the secret to the letter, when he does, he discovers that a plan to help save his sister is already in motion and he can join in, but he has to move quickly. Unfortunately, Marcus has never been great at making good decisions and frequently makes rash decisions without thinking them through. Will those decisions cost him his sister, or will they actually help him find her and bring her home? And who is this new cousin that is suddenly allowed to live at his home with him? And how does he have all this knowledge of magic when Marcus is kept in ignorance?
This book is another home run. I loved the mystery combined with all the twists and turns in this book. Though I missed the back-and-forth interactions between Marcus and Ellie that were present in the first book - and I'm still mad at the author for having Ellie kidnapped at the end of book 1, though I will admit it provided a great opportunity to get to know Marcus more and to see him grow and develop throughout this book.
In addition, since the world was largely established in the first book, there was more room for plot and character development in this book. We also got more information about shadow magic in this book, which really fed into the twists and turns in this book.
There was so much that happened in this book, and I cannot wait to see where the plot goes from here. Also, with all the moving, I'm beginning to think that Grandma and Grandpa may not be the most trustworthy family members, and I can't wait to learn more information about them.
For this book, as with the first book, I listened to the audiobook. The same narrator returned for The Shadow's Servant and while he gave another wonderful performance, I still don't like his standard narrating voice. I'm not really sure why, but it sounds like he's trying to make himself sound younger and ends up coming out whiny. I do like the voices he does, though, so as with the first and second book, that won't necessarily prevent me from listening to the next book. After all, it's not a bad performance and after the first hour or so I've sort of gotten used to the voice and can tolerate it to keep listening. Of course, all of that is entirely a me thing, and others are likely to enjoy his voice and performance.
The Shadows Servant: The Shadow Magic Series, Book 2 written by Justin Swapp. The audiobook is narrated by Steve Barnes with a total running time of 12 hours and 2 minutes. During that time the listener is taken on an adventure with Marcus Fifth as he endeavors to save his twin sister Ellie one year after she was taken by the absent Mother Mirella. When Ellie’s guardian Ellamir; a talking cat, arrives and leaves a mysterious blank letter for him to solve to find his sister the story begins to really take shape. Marcus lets his impulsive nature lead him off on the quest to find his sister without telling his Grandparents or Aunt and Uncle.
The story truly holds the listener's attention through the entire audiobook. This was truly a story about Marcus and how who he is and the man he will become if is depending on the path he either chooses for himself or is forced by events caused by his own impulsiveness. This is also hopefully the start of his path on a hero’s journey to save his sister. The cast of new and old character is somewhat larger and their relationships complex. The main character Marcus is driven and overly focuses on his goal of saving Ellie at the expense of his own safety and those around him.
The narration by Steve Barnes was excellent. In this audio performance, he gave voice to a diverse cast of characters. Marcus was the lead, but some of the smaller characters were truly funny and memorable like Erasmus the monkey first mate. That is a character that just stands out even with a small role. Mr. Barnes did an outstanding job performing this audiobook. The production quality of this audiobook is also the highest quality. I heard no problems during the entire performance. There were not any detectable flaws that I was able to hear during the entire performance such as loops, breaks, or buzzing. The production was crisp and clear. Justin Swapp delivered an excellent audiobook production. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review
What an enjoyable follow up to The Magic Shop! I struggled a bit with the first book largely because I'm not quite the target audience, but it still left me interested to see where these characters would go and The Shadow's Servent does not disappoint.
What I liked: The self-aware nod to frustrating choices by the grandparents in the first book (still maintain they're the villains!), , high adventure, Steve Barnes' narration grew on me from book 1 to 2, an interesting and conflicted cast of characters who in a few cases are more than just their archetypes, and the end leaves me wanting more.
There wasn't a whole lot I didn't like in this book, in fact, it redeemed a bit of what I didn't like about the first book. Pretty solid 4.5 stars for a likable YA fantasy and would selectively recommend to fantasy-loving middle-grade teens.
Note: I received a free copy of the audio book with encouragement for an honest review, and picked up the kindle edition separately.
I just have to be honest and tell you how hard it was for me to put it down! My kids would wake up from a nap or wake up in the morning and I would say NOOOOOOO! It took me two days and only about 9 hours to read because I couldn't stop!
I haven't read an actual book in a while and it reminded me of my love for reading. There were several time's I told my husband they really need to make a movie of the series, as I read I could picture everything vividly. I love how descriptive Justin is in his books! The level of detail reminds me of when I read the Lord of the Rings and the hobbit before they were ever movies. I would definitely recommend it for all ages. It's fun and it keeps you wanting more. I will definitely be pre-ordering the third!
I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
Marcus is trying to save his sister Ellie after the events of book one, the cast of characters is good and I think the story is better than the first book. There's plenty of action and Marcus story is engaging and interesting as we see him develop as he does everything he can to save his sister. There's lots of different settings and the whole family situation develops well too as well as lots more magical things going on.
The narrator did voices well, his normal voice had an odd slightly nasal tone and occasionally a clipped kind of speech which took a bit of getting used to but once you did was ok.
Another spellbinder from the master. Justin loads us into his tale, and abruptly swings into the current. Twists and turns bouncing us off hidden boulders, spinning around whirlpools and, occasionally, letting us settle into the lulls between the rapids. A master storyteller, I highly recommend following Marcus as he searches for his sister - Listen to The Shadow's Servant or catch up to the beginning with The Magic Shop.
Marcus is still trying to find his sister who was taken by their mother in Book 1.A new cousin shows up,but is he good or bad?This was a good follow up to The Magic Shop.I enjoyed it. Steve Barnes was a good narrator.I was given this book by the narrator,author or publisher free for an honest review.
An outstanding book that picked up right where the first book left off. I found myself really enjoying my commute to work and sometimes I didn't want to get out of the car. There was much more action in this book compared to the first. The Shadow's Servant has an entertaining storyline and the narrator was fantastic.
In this second installment the reader is taken along on a journey with Marcus to save his twin sister Ellie after she been abducted by her mother Mirella. As in the first book each twin has a guardian and we are introduced more Ellie in this one as she leaves a mysterious letter for Marcus to solve. Marcus is not a patient kind of character that takes time to think things out he is all impulse and it really makes the story flow along as you not sure what kind of danger is going to befall him. Marcus is the star of this audiobook as his adventures are played out either from his impulsiveness or by the events that come to pass. Their a few side characters that bring some comedy relief to this rather dark tale about shadow magic. Erasmus the monkey and i did like the addition of more of the dragon as well. The performance is flawless and throughly kept my attention . Hard to tell by the ending if we will have more story in this world or not but i hope their is more story.
This was a really good story, but for some reason, it did not hold my attention as well as the first book in the series. I think it is a little darker (which isn't a bad thing). The narration of the audiobook is great, and the narrator does so many different voices to give life to the characters. There were a lot of good twists and new information brought to light. I listened to this one with my kids, and it seemed to hold their attention for the most part, though it is quite a long book. Overall, a good book. I would listen to more books in the series as they come out.
I also enjoyed book two of the series. More adventures and more magic. Once again the narrator was great. The story was a little more complex then book 1. There were some sections that kept my attention and I wanted to read more. Some other sections felt like a chore to get through. I think my children will enjoy these and I'll let them listen to the series once I can get them into audiobooks.
Disclaimer: My enjoyment of the narrator is based on my listening speed. I only leave 5 stars for books I've listened to multiple times. I'll update my review if I listen again.
I requested this book from the author, narrator, or publisher in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
I did not enjoy The Shadow's Servant as much as I did The Magic Shop, but out was still an enjoyable listen. There's no single problem I can point to; it's more like a dozen or so minor nitpicks that collectively dampened my enjoyment.
This is a good conclusion to the shadow servant storyline. But I’ve got a suspicion that Justin has left the story open for the Fifth to get into some more trouble. It was a great ride and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The only issue I had was that Ellamir and Ellie sounded like the same character, and it was a little annoying that Marcus learned no new magic in the year his sister was missing. And he had an uncanny luck that seemed frustrating, but maybe that’s his magic power.