Shadow Magic (Macabre Academy Book 1) by Sherry J. Soule
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal Mystery & Romance
Publication: May 1st 2020
Publisher: Disenchanted Publishing
PG-13: No F-bombs, sex, or graphic violence.
Heroine: A quirky supernatural Nancy Drew.
Premise: An older university-age paranormal academy series with mystery and light humor.
Ghost summoning? No biggie.
Raising the dead? Bring it on.
Solving my sister’s sudden disappearance? A bit more complicated…
I’m Serena LeStrange, a necromancer who prefers to hide her freakishly fabulous skills from others. Only my sister makes me feel less of a weirdo, so when she mysteriously vanishes from college, I enroll at Macabre Academy to start my own investigation.
Except this is no ordinary school for the magically inclined, it’s home to all monsters—even the most dangerous ones. And after meeting an incredibly gorgeous vampire and a sinfully hot reaper, I find myself entangled in a passionate, yet forbidden, flirtation. To complicate matters, I get stuck with a ghostly genie sidekick and suspect a sinister sorority of misdeeds.
But to solve the mystery, I’ll need all the help I can get. Someone at Macabre knows what happened to my sister, and I won’t stop until I dig up the truth.
Unfortunately, some dark secrets prefer to stay buried.
Do you enjoy not-so-cozy paranormal mysteries, slow-burn romances, and unconventional heroines?
Welcome to Macabre Academy, the first spellbinding book in a paranormal mystery romance trilogy!
The story opens with our POV character Serena attending Conjuration University taking part in a Resurrection 101 class. As a Necromancer Serena is looked down upon, with other paranormal entities believing the magic she processes to be dark and unnatural, and even amongst other Necromancers she feels like an outsider. Serena is an animal lover who wants to become a pet and familiar resurrection specialist and use her abilities to help people, and to do that she needs a degree in Necromantic Rites.
Serena has been so focused on her studies that she has lost touch with her sister, Harper, the only person she feels truly accepts her for what and who she is. After a disastrous resurrection practice lesson, Serena gets a phone call from her father telling her that her Sister Harper has gone missing from Macabre Academy. Serena is an emotional reck after hearing this news. But she makes the decision to enroll at Macabre to seek the truth and track down her sister and thus kicks off this new paranormal series.
I liked the paranormal set up and world-building in this story of its schooling system and genetic hand me down powers. In this world that Sherry Soule has created powers and abilities are a roil of the dice. And though different “breeds” (e.g. Bear-Shifter, Siren, Harpy, Vampire, Sorceress etc.) reproduce, their offspring can inherit the supernatural traits of any ancestor within their lineage.
Serena is an easily likable protagonist. She is kind, caring and when she believes in herself she can accomplish amazing magical feats and do some super sleuthing. Throughout this book Serena unearths her sisters and other Macabre Academy students’ secrets, solves mysteries and makes friends, real friends that except her freaky death powers and all.
Serena grew up feeling like she didn’t belong anywhere. When she first starts at Macabre Academy she is afraid of people finding out she is a Necromancer. She is also trying to hide the fact that she is Harper’s sister, which creates all sorts of awkward situations throughout the book. Serena’s self-hate is mainly because of her dad. He has made her feel like trash her whole life, for a card she was dealt at birth via past family genetics. Her Dad is an asshole, straight up no other way to describe him. I really want to see her find the courage to stand up to him in the next book.
We are given a cliffhanger ending regarding her Sister, so that storyline continues into the next book. And there is also the budding forbidden romance with sexy reaper Dante to be explored further. “A necromancer and a reaper. Sounds like the beginning of an incredible love story” – and that’s what I’m hoping for in the next book. Yep, I will be reading the next book. I am curious to see where Sherry Soule takes these storylines.
All in all, this is a light and fun read about friendship, self-acceptance, and the acceptance of others, with a lil bit of forbidden romance thrown in for good measure.
Sherry Soule is a Multi-Genre Author, who lives in Northern California with her family and two spoiled rescue cats. She likes to surround herself with positive people and reads daily.
Sherry writes exciting tales of passionate romance, epic drama, and thrilling suspense. Many of her books have been on the Amazon bestseller lists and nominated as top picks in the “Best Paranormal Romance” categories on numerous review sites.
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