Secret of the Shadow Beasts

“Percy Jackson meets The Witcher in this fast-paced middle-grade fantasy filled with creatures of the night.” —Booklist

In Brannland, terrifying beasts called Umbrae roam freely once the sun sets, so venomous that a single bite will kill. Lately, with each day that passes, their population seems to double. The only people who can destroy them are immune children like Nora, who are recruited at age seven to leave their families and train for battle at a retrofitted castle called Noye’s Hill. Despite her immunity, Nora’s father refused to let her go.

Now, years after his death by Umbra attack, Nora is twelve, and sees her mother almost killed by the monsters too. She decides to join the battle. At Noye’s Hill, Nora’s new companions draw her into a sweeping world of round-the-clock training, fierce loyalty to one another, and sworn allegiance to defeat the Umbrae above all. But there are many questions afoot: Where are the Umbrae coming from? Could the government be covering up the true reason their population has whirled out of control? And was Nora’s father, the peaceful, big-hearted man who refused to let Nora fight, in on the treacherous secret?


“Percy Jackson meets The Witcher in this fast-paced middle-grade fantasy filled with creatures of the night. . . . Nora proves to be an endearing and courageous protagonist . . . [R]eaders will be equally enchanted by the world of Brannland and the mythology behind the Umbrae. A thrilling fantasy.”


“Magras’s writing is fast-paced and engaging, and this volume leaves room for a sequel or two. The fantasy page-turner centers around the strength of friendship and the importance of working together, along with using creativity and ingenuity to problem solve. VERDICT A satisfying adventure, and one to hand to fans of Amari and the Night Brothers.”

—School Library Journal

“[A]n an emotionally rich, character-driven contemporary fantasy.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Brimming with thrills and high-stakes action, this nonstop adventure swoops like a battle-axe, even as it races along with courage and heart. This one will hold a high place on my bookshelf.”

—Brad McLelland, co-author of the award-winning Legends of the Lost Causes trilogy

“Part science fiction, part medieval quest, Secret of the Shadow Beasts sparks with action and swells with emotion. Diane Magras has created a diverse cast of compelling kid characters who forge strong friendships, fight off terrifying beasts, and above all, seek the truth. I couldn’t put it down!”

— Rajani LaRocca, Newbery Honor-winning author of Red, White, and Whole; Midsummer’s Mayhem; and Much Ado About Baseball

“This middle-grade book filled with action and heart is like Dungeons & Dragons meets Stranger ThingsSecret of the Shadow Beasts will keep young readers rooting for Nora, the story’s brave protagonist, and her friends, reminding us of the importance of taking care of our earth as well as each other.”

—Samantha M Clark, author of Arrow