VOYA Magazine Review - Shade and Sorceress

Reviewed by: Mark Flowers

In this debut novel and first in a projected trilogy, Egan weaves a surprisingly fresh and exciting tale from many basic fantasy threads. Eons ago, the Mancers divided the world of Tian Di into the mortal world of Di Shang and the magical world of Tian Xia, and ever since it has been the duty of the Shang Sorceress, trained by the Mancers, to protect humans from the magical beings of Tian Xia, most importantly from the evil Xia Sorceress. When Eliza Tok is twelve years old, she learns that she is the next Shang Sorceress, despite never knowing her mother, and despite the fact that she displays no talent for magic at all. Before she can begin to unlock her power, though, Eliza learns that the Xia Sorceress has abducted her father, and she must set out on a quest through both worlds to save him, with the help of only her mortal friend, Nell, and a seemingly untrustworthy Shade (shapeshifter) named Charlie.

The worlds of Tian Xia and Di Shang are well imagined and the characters strong and detailed. Most importantly, Egan's prose is strongly propulsive, and never sinks into fantasy cliche. Without being flashy or calling attention to herself, Egan has built a quietly first-rate fantasy world, which, with the right marketing, could easily catch on in a huge way. We can only hope the sequels live up to the promise of this first novel.

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