Of Thorns, Flames and Houses of Shadow • Macky Reads Burning Magic

April 12, 2018

I had no idea what I was signing up when I said yes to doing this blog tour. All I saw was a manageable due date for a third book in a series that I had the time to catch up on. But for whatever reason (magic, perhaps?), my intuition said, "Macky, don’t wait on the library… just go and get the Kindle version of the first book".

From there, it has been a steep dive into binge reading all three books with the profound joy of not having to wait for the release day (April 10, so yes, you can get your hands on this one now!) to dig into what is happening with my crew, Lily and Thorn. 

Burning Magic is book three in the series, which I don’t plan to spoil it for you. But I will start by saying that this is a coming-of-age tale for our cast of main and supporting characters, hinging particularly around the destinies of Lady Lilith Shadow and a boy named Thorn. In brief, Lily’s family has been murdered, making her the ruler of Gehenna, while Thorn, who hails from far away finds himself entangled in Gehenna’s affairs, and more specifically Lily’s. Burning Magic finds them long past their initial awkward meeting and in view of the known world as the anomalies they are, what with Thorn not Gehennish and working closely with its ruler and Lily ready to settle any rumors about her magical abilities in a world that has outlawed women from practicing it. 

As I write this, I am torn between geeking out incoherently and writing a dissertation as to why this book series, and this last book in particular, deserve to be up on the shelf with likes of Garth Nix, Rick Riordan, Tamora Pierce and JK Rowling. In the interest of time, I'll do a bit of both. 

I am a fiend for storytelling, character development and world-building. At this point, it’s safe to say that for me, Burning Magic does these three things so well that the entire series is something I know I will reread. I haven't been this attached to a middle grade series since Henry Neff’s Tapestry series (which is also deserving of more acclaim). 

At the heart of all these three books, and even more so in book three, is this dynamic between the Lily, who always finds herself in over her head, and Thorn, who is also overwhelmed, and how they find ways to meet in the middle and face the insurmountable odds together. If anyone has read my reviews on this blog before, this is a solid case of the “me and my friends save the world” trope that I can never get enough of. 

The best part is that the success of one does not undercut the success of the other. The insane things they face and the equally crazy things they do in response makes them something the world has never seen regardless of how the other helped. That’s pretty rare these days and pulling off two characters that are given equal lead billing is so difficult. But throughout all three books, I’m like, "OMG THORN….", followed by "OMG, LILY", and that's followed by, "OMG, YOU TWO!!!"

Lastly (and perhaps the only spoilery thing I will mention, because if this doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will), how can you not fall in love with a world that has created giant bats named Hades? Yeah. You heard me. Giant. Bat. Hades. He has a name. And he serves House Shadow out of his own free will. Not as a servant, mind you, but as a giant fricking bat that will take crap from absolutely nothing and nobody. 

In and around Hades, the lore and even the history of Gehenna, its rival nations (all of which were founded by six princes with the same magical abilities as each country’s ruling monarchs) are so rich and well thought out that it honestly makes me die a little inside that we only have three books. The world is so huge! And yes, the story resolves perfectly well (more on that when I release my author interview with Joshua Khan, who was gracious enough to geek out with me), but I honestly cannot get enough of this place. 

I woud read about Lily and Thorn buying groceries at the market if that’s all I can get. That’s how much I have taken to this tale. Lily and Thorn just keep getting one-upped and one-upping back. They are heroes and, to me, friends and I know I will keep rereading this series as the years go by. 

Go grab the entire series! All three books are out now, and I would highly recommend them. Also, stay tuned to ye auld book blog for my spoilery series review in tandem with my author interview that should be out in the next week or so!

Burning Magic by Joshua Khan | Series: Shadow Magic #3
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Source: Hardcover received from the publisher (Thanks!)


  1. Ohh, great review Macky :D Yay for loving this series so so much. First time I hear about these books, ack. But gosh, that cover is awesome :D And sounds like such interesting books too. Thrilled that you loved them so :)

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