Title: Shadowsmith |Author: Ross MacKenzie | Publisher: Kelpies |Genre: Middlegrade |280 pages
I have read Ross MacKenzie’s “The Nowhere Emporium” a while ago. I remember loving it but I don’t think that I ever wrote a review about it or talked to anybody about it. But I remember that this was the first time I’ve heard about “Shadowsmith”. It only took me four years to get to it.
Are you brave? When mysterious Amelia Pigeon turns up at Kirby’s bedroom window in the dead of night, this is the question she asks him – immediately before they tumble into a world of ancient malevolent spirits who have torn their way into Kirby’s sleepy seaside village. Ross MacKenzie weaves a world of magic and adventure, which twists and turns magnificently and will keep thrilled young readers guessing right to the end.
Do you ever read books that keeps you breathless but also make you feel right at home? That cover you like a blanket and hold you close? “Shadowsmith” has been such a book for me.
Something about the protagonist Kirby resonated with me. I just really liked him and his personality. He is a calm and maybe a little lonely boy who loves fiercely and is brave even though it was clear to see that he is afraid. Kirby’s mother is in a coma after an accident in a terrible storm that shook the island some time prior to the events of the book. The fear for his mother’s wellbeing and her coma consumes Kirby’s days while he has to learn to connect with his father who he has not that much in common with. Furthermore there are weird things going on, things that only Kirby can see. When the strange girl Amelia Pigeon shows up at his window and asks for his help, Kirby has the opportunity to learn what is going on. I think you could describe Kirby as reluctantly curious. Anyway, I loved this character.
I also was highly intrigued by Amelia Pigeon. The discovery was gradually but with time I noticed that she was no ordinary girl. Well, that she was not ordinary was kind of clear from the start but there was an air of secrecy around her. There was something strange, something so decidedly secret about her. I loved it.
Every few chapters showed what the bad guys where up to and what bad guys they were! The two brothers that were turning the whole island upside down and watched from the shadows were so wonderfully horrible. It probably should not have been so much fun to see to what terrible things they were up to, always watching, always plotting. It was great.
I loved the whole story, the magic, the witches, the danger, the atmosphere. I cannot stress enough how much I loved the atmosphere. It made me feel the mist on my skin, the moisture in the air, the smell of salt and sea and march and wet earth. It smelled like dripping caves and musty haunted houses and cotton candy at a carnival. It smelled like clinical hospital beds, and sounded like seagulls, rolling waves crashing against the harbour walls and oncoming storms.
All this made the book so real, so special, and an utter delight. It was glued to the pages, constantly wondering what would happen next. I can wholeheartedly recommend this book and hey, it would make a great fall-read in case you are still looking.