Michael W. Garza's A Veil of Shadows will be published by NeverHaven Press in September 2017.
Information about Michael W. Garza:
Michael W. Garza often finds himself wondering where his inspiration will come from next and in what form his imagination will bring it to life. The outcomes regularly surprise him and it's always his ambition to amaze those curious enough to follow him and take in those results. He hopes that everyone will find something that frightens, surprises, or simply astonishes them.
Information about A Veil of Shadows:
A desperate search leads to a new world.
Naomi and Gavin are on the run. Having narrowly escaped Azzmon's clutches, they find themselves hunted by Malick, another Shade Lord. He has amassed an army of foul creatures, and the city-state of Tarravale stands on the brink of chaos. Naomi's ability to open Shadow Gates makes her an alluring target, and the Shade Lord will stop at nothing to possess her. The children must find a way to escape before their new world is buried in an unwinnable war.
Begin your search for the Shadow Gate today.
A REVIEW OF MICHAEL W. GARZA'S A VEIL OF SHADOWS
Michael W. Garza's A Veil of Shadows is a sequel to The Last Shadow Gate, which was the first novel in The Last Shadow Gate Chronicles series. It wonderfully continues the story of Gavin Walker and his half-sister Naomi Walker, because the author tells more of their adventures in the vast and dangerous world beyond the Shadow Gate.
A Veil of Shadows is a novel that can wholeheartedly be recommended to readers of all ages. It appeals to both younger and older readers alike, because it's an exciting fantasy adventure with a timeless feel to it. I have a feeling that readers who love old-fashioned YA fantasy adventure novels will immensely enjoy this novel, because it has many adventure elements.
In the previous novel, Naomi and Gavin were transported from Gum Springs, New York through a Shadow Gate to an incredible new world where strange creatures and impossible dangers could be found and where the coming of evil Shade Lord was causing fear among the people. They had no choice but to begin a quest that might eventually lead them home.
At the beginning of this novel, Gavin and Naomi are being taken by horsemen to a strange land. They don't know where they're going, but when they arrive in a city, they're supposed to convince the assembly of their actions. When they're about to make their appearance in front of the assembly they meet Papa Walker. Gavin and Naomi realise that a war is coming, because the evil has to be reckoned with. Soon Gavin, Naomi and Papa Walker find themselves in serious trouble as they are taken captive by the serpent-kind who serve the evil... This is the beginning of a story that takes the protagonists - Gavin, Naomi and Papa Walker - on an exciting adventure.
The characterisation is swift, which is nice, because it allows younger readers to enjoy the story. In this novel, the author introduces a couple of new characters to his readers, but also concentrates on developing the familiar characters.
Gavin and Naomi are well-created characters who keep on growing in this novel. They care about each other and do their best to find a way to return home.
Papa Walker in a fascinating new character, because he has the ability to open the Shadow Gate and he can manipulate the rare material that was used to create them. He can block out the Shade Lord's mental attacks.
Noobit is an excellent addition to the cast of characters, because he's a Treekin male who has human features, but is covered in tree bark. I enjoyed reading about him and how he became friends with the protagonist.
The worldbuilding is fascinating, because Michael W. Garza continues to reveal more information about the world beyond the Shadow Gate. Various places ranging from cities to jungles and bogs are introduced and explored in a compelling way. I enjoyed reading about what was revealed, because - for example - some of the local people are indigenous to the world, but others maybe from elsewhere and have used the Shadow Gates to travel between the worlds. What makes the Shadow Gates especially interesting is that knowledge about their creators has disappeared.
It was interesting for me to read about the serpent-kind and how devoted they were to Malick, because they were intriguingly dangerous and malicious. I also found myself being fascinated by the Kenaan frogs, the Treekin, Damroons and giants. The Kenaan frogs were fascinating and dangerous frogs that could use sounds to render their prey helpless.
I find the author's writing style intriguing, because he knows how to entertain his readers and doesn't bore them with fluffy filler material, but delivers a good and firm story that goes forward in a powerful way. The story is filled with fascinating scenes (the journey towards Sugaal, escapes from enemies etc) and interesting details, which will delight readers. The story become increasingly interesting as the siblings get separated from each other, because they have to survive and do the best they can to avoid being caught by their enemies.
One of the best things about this novel is that the author fluently combines elements of YA fiction and epic fantasy. He also writes well about the relationship between Gavin, Naomi and Papa Walker. I think that readers will find his warm-hearted way of writing about the siblings and Papa Walker charming, because there's a real bond between them.
The strengths of this novel lie in good and fast-paced storytelling. The story has been paced well - the author never lets the story become boring or stale, but keeps it on the move and delivers surprises along the way. I found the story satisfyingly thrilling and enjoyed the adventure elements, because everything worked well.
This series has faint echoes of the novels written by Enid Blyton, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper and C.S. Lewis. Although the novels are different from the works these authors have written, it has the same kind of charming appeal to it, which makes it engaging and thrilling.
I give this novel five stars on the scale from one to five stars, because it has plenty of entertainment values that are often missing from other similar kind of novels. The author aims to entertain younger readers and he succeeds in it. I look forward to reading the next novel, The Shadow of War, because I liked this novel very much.
Michael W. Garza's A Veil of Shadows is a novel that delivers a strong story and plenty of thrilling moments to readers. It evokes a sense of timeless and exciting adventure, which will intrigue readers who love YA fantasy adventures.
A lovely and charmingly old-fashioned yet modern YA fantasy novel for readers of all ages!