A mystery of a disappearing mother, the discovery of magic and other worlds, and a curse driving characters into action. With many forces acting to drive the narrative, Creeping Shadow by Caroline Peckham is an action-packed, quick-paced story that follows two young adults on a journey of self-discovery and solution finding.
Oliver Knight and his adoptive sister May come home after school one day to find that their mother is missing. With no where else to go, Oliver and May go to live with their grandfather Ely, whom they’ve never met before now. While there, they learn more about their family and the world (or worlds) in a few short days than they have over their 16 years of life. As May is woken from sleep screaming and dark veins appearing over her body, the two children are thrust into an understanding that there are seven worlds and magic in all of them. Needing keys to cross from one world to the next, everyone must undergo challenges to earn their keys. Working to get keys to leave Earth and venture through these worlds to find a cure for May’s mysterious curse, Oliver and May learn more about their shrouded past, as well as the novelties of the new worlds now open to them.
Much of the story was familiar with its similarities to already popular fantasy literature, namely Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. Utilizing the elements of magic and survival of kids makes the story familiar, yet the way in which these elements are used makes this narrative set itself apart from the rest as its own entity. One grammatical choice that threw me was the use of “span” as the past tense of “spin.” It’s an older, lesser used past tense, particularly in American English, and it tripped me up when I read it throughout the text as I initially thought it was referring to a length of something instead of turning–but maybe I’m in the minority here and others won’t have even noticed it. I received an ARC from the author in exchange for a review, and I’m hoping that when all is said and done that some of the final grammatical and typesetting issues are resolved, making the text squeaky-clean to match the cleanly devised plot that has me interested to find out what will happen next.
Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.