Secret of the Shadow Beasts (Hardcover)
Diane Magras is a middle grade author with the gift of writing books with real heft and dimension within a breakneck adventure story. Her newest book manages to incorporate some of her established strengths and interests and weave them into a wholly different setting. I knew from spending a pre-pandemic day with Diane in area schools that she had real command over the historical dimensions of her books and was not surprised to see her evidence that same command over the fascinating world in which she set her terrific new book. This is a story with exceptional degrees of both heart and appeal.— From The Holiday Twenty
In Brannland, terrifying beasts called Umbrae roam freely once the sun sets, so venomous that a single bite will kill a full-grown adult—and lately, with each day that passes, their population seems to double. The only people who can destroy them are immune children like Nora, who are recruited at the age of seven to leave their families behind and begin training at a retrofitted castle called Noye’s Hill. But despite her immunity, Nora’s father refused to let her go. Now, years after his death by Umbra attack, Nora is twelve, and sees her mother almost killed by the monsters too. That’s when Nora decides it’s time for her to join the battle. Once she arrives at Noye’s Hill, though, she and her new friends are left with more questions than answers: Where are the Umbrae coming from? Could the government be covering up the true reason their population has whirled out of control? And was Nora’s father, the peaceful, big-hearted man who refused to let Nora fight, in on the treacherous secret?
"[A]n emotionally rich, character-driven contemporary fantasy."—PW
"Part science fiction, part medieval quest, Secret of the Shadow Beasts sparks with action and swells with emotion. Diane Magras has created a diverse cast of compelling kid characters who forge strong friendships, fight off terrifying beasts, and above all, seek the truth. I couldn’t put it down!"—Rajani LaRocca, Newbery Honor-winning author of Red, White, and Whole; Midsummer's Mayhem; and Much Ado About Baseball
"Brimming with thrills and high-stakes action, this nonstop adventure swoops like a battle-axe, even as it races along with courage and heart. This one will hold a high place on my bookshelf."—Brad McLelland, co-author of the award-winning Legends of the Lost Causes trilogy
"This middle-grade book filled with action and heart is like Dungeons & Dragons meets Stranger Things. Secret of the Shadow Beasts will keep young readers rooting for Nora, the story's brave protagonist, and her friends, reminding us of the importance of taking care of our earth as well as each other."—Samantha M Clark, author of Arrow
"With Secret of the Shadow Beasts [Magras] begins a terrific new series blending her penchant for medieval settings and weaponry with modern gaming elements. Great characters and a taut narrative await you!"—Kenny Brechner, Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers