Shade and Sorceress

24 December 2014

Shade and Sorceress
by Catherine Egan
Published by Coteau Books
Review by Regine Haensel
$12.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-514-6

The Mancers, ancient scholars, magicians and mystical protectors, have come looking for Eliza Tok. Long ago, the Mancers separated the One World, Tian Di, into two, for the protection of humans. Eliza’s world is Di Shang, and the other world is Tian Xia. The Mancers want to bring Eliza to their Citadel to begin teaching her to become a sorceress like her dead mother, and help guard the Crossings between the worlds. But Eliza shows no signs of magical abilities and all she wants is to go home to her father and her friend Nell.

There are others looking for Eliza, spies of the Xia Sorceress. She is the most terrible, ruthless and evil being in the worlds. The Mancers, with the help of Eliza`s mother, imprisoned the Xia Sorceress years ago in the Arctic of Di Shang.

Finally, after what seems to be a fruitless time of study, the Mancers put Eliza to a test. They give her Shang Sorceress clothing and a staff, and send her to battle a hound of the Crossing. And “something deep inside her, deeper than a physical place, something like a tight seed buried in warmth and darkness, suddenly burst . . .” She is able to kill the creature, but her difficulties with magic are not at an end. Eliza finds out that the Xia Sorceress has snatched her father. After Nell comes to visit, Eliza learns that Charlie, the boy she thought was her friend is not what he seems at all.

Eliza, her friend Nell, and Charlie escape the Mancer Citadel and cross into Tian Xia. They hope to find a way to the evil sorceress, so that they can save Eliza’s father. Many strange and difficult things must be faced on the journey. Will Eliza ever develop her magical powers?

The book contains traditional elements of fantasy such as dragons, faeries, good and evil characters. However, the author puts her own stamp on these elements to create a unique story, which moves along at a good pace. The reader is kept guessing as to what may happen next.

Author Catherine Egan was born and grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. After university, she taught English in Japan and China. She now lives in New Haven, Connecticut with her husband and children. Shade and Sorceress is the first book in “The Last Days of Tian Di” fantasy series.


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