Spirits that Walk in Shadow

By Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Viking, 2006

Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy

ISBN: 9780670060719

Audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 306

Setting: Spores Ferry, Oregon

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Jaime Locke is worried about starting her first year of college.  As a member of a magical family, she has been told to keep her abilities secret from everyone outside her family.  She soon realizes that this will be impossible with her new roommate, Kim, who is being preyed upon by a malicious being.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Lots of dialogue helps to maintain a brisk, steady pace.

Characterization: The story is told in first person from both Jaime and Kim; the viewpoints alternate each chapter.  Important secondary characters include Rugee, a household god, and Jaime’s cousins – Harrison, Josh, and Zilla.

Frame: The primary frame for this story is going to college for the first time.  College is a new experience for both Kim and Jaime.  Other important frames are both magic and art, for it is through these disciplines that the main characters view the world.

Story line: The story focuses upon friendship – making friends, admitting mistakes, and confiding in others – while including supernatural beings.

Subject headings:

From Pima County Public Library:

College stories — Fiction.

Supernatural — Fiction.

Similar works:

The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint

Blue is for Nightmares series by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Dry Water by Eric S. Nylund

Evermore by Alyson Noel

The Fire Within by Chris D’Lacey

Personal notes: I really enjoyed how the story’s viewpoint switched between Jaime and Kim every chapter.  It reminded me of Paul Zindel’s The Pigman, which is one of my favorite books from my youth.  While I liked this book, I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t like it more.  My favorite book by NKH is A Fistful of Sky, which I love for its humor.  This book wasn’t very humorous (although it did have funny moments).  And while this book is not a part of a series, NKH did write a previous book which included Jaime Locke and some of her family – The Thread that Binds the Bones.

Other (diversity, themes, websites): Diversity – emotionally traumatized young woman, members of the Ilmonishti, a Presence (local god), Viri (a race of beings)

While I could not find a website for Nina Kiriki Hoffman, I did find an interesting interview with her here.

She also has a profile on Goodreads.


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