Sceadu by Prashant Pinge

Sceadu by Prashant Pinge
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (246 pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

All this while, Matilda’s shadow had been growing larger and larger. Suddenly, it lunged out of the ground and swallowed her, like a python does its unsuspecting prey.

Nine year old Matilda ends up with a century old book through a series of strange coincidences. And disappears. Her brother and cousins are forced to suspend their hostilities and pursue her to Sceadu, a land inside the human shadow. Once there, the reluctant visitors find themselves chased by the vicious Hefigans, creatures of Sceadu. However, everything changes with the revelation of an ancient prophecy that foretells the doom of the world they left behind.

With the stakes suddenly raised, the children must now navigate the dangerous terrain, overcome grave challenges, and unlock the secrets of the shadow. But can they do it in time to thwart the plans of the treacherous Hefigans? Or will they succumb to the guile of a ruthless enemy who is equally determined to destroy mankind?

Sceadu is a fast-paced adventure which blurs the boundary between the physical and the psychological, the real and the mythical.

Shadows usually follow people around harmlessly. Sometimes, though, they break those rules for very good reasons.

One of the things I enjoy the most about fantasy stories written for this age group is how magical the worlds in them can be. There’s something special about being transported to a time and place that doesn’t share our laws of physics or biology. Discovering what is and isn’t possible in other worlds is exciting, especially in cases like this one when the worldbuilding is so intricate.

With that being said, I had a lot of trouble keeping track of all of the names, places, and terminology that was used to describe the place where the human characters had ended up. Some of these terms shared so many letters or sounds in common that I never did get them completely sorted out. It would have been really helpful to either have a glossary of them or have more context clues about the words that were most similar to each other.

The mythology of Sceadu was well done. It’s hard to discuss where it comes from without giving away spoilers, but I was pleased to see how much work the author had clearly put into piecing everything together. This portion of the book reminded me of the explanatory passages I’ve seen in fantasy tales that were written for an adult audience. While there’s nothing inappropriate here for middle school students, this is also something I suspect much older readers might enjoy as well.

I’d recommend Sceadu to anyone who likes complex, otherworldly novels.

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