Sierra Santiago has lived her whole life in Brooklyn surrounded by friends, family, and neighbours. She thought she knew who they were, and who she was, but when a corpse-like thing chases her, calling her name, things rapidly unravel. Turns out, her family has the ability to act as a conduit for spirits, to infuse the dead into art, thus bringing it to life. They, and others in her neighbourhood, warded off evil until something started hunting them. Sierra must not only discover who is doing so, but scramble to understand her own powers before she is next. As an urban Fantasy, Shadowshaper feels fresh because it's magic and voice is steeped in the values and traditions of culture that is different than the traditional white, western one. The importance of community, the power of art, and the societal pressures that people of colour feel shape the world that Sierra lives in. Through her, we see the pride she has in her heritage, but also the negative effects that a white dominant society has on her psyche. Her story is a coming of age story, but also one about learning to accept herself, and those in her family who did what they thought was best. While the ideas are to be praised, the execution of the story does fall a bit short. Characters sometimes feel like they're talking to thin air rather than listening to and conversing with one another, and there are times where something dramatic has happened, yet a page later, it is just life as usual. In some ways these are more realistic portrayals of teens, but it doesn't necessarily make for good storytelling. Fortunately, Sierra's development goes smoother. She is a young woman with her own agency, but she is also not afraid to ask for help, and seeing how her confidence in herself grows gives you a good feeling inside. Her relationship with Robbie, a fellow shadowshaper, helps her reach these new levels. For those seeking a quick urban Fantasy with a different coat of paint, hope into this world of spirit murals, and those who shape them.

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