Shadowsmith by Ross Mackenzie

Are you brave?

When the mysterious Amelia Pigeon turns up at Kirby’s bedroom window in the dead of night, this is the question she asks him – immediately before they tumble into a world of ancient malevolent spirits who have torn their way into Kirby’s boring seaside village.

Kirby isn’t feeling brave at all. His mother is in a coma following a freak (or was it?) accident, and he’s hardly talking to his dad. He’s convinced a spider is watching him, and now a weird girl in a yellow raincoat – who claims to be a powerful, evil-banishing Shadowsmith – is dragging him into unknown danger. How brave is he really?

Other books by the author

  • The Nowhere Emporium

Read an extract:

Interview with the author:

If you liked this, try…

  • The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
  • The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge
  • Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden
  • The Darkmouth series by Shane Hegarty
  • The Other Alice by Michelle Harrison
  • The Serafina series by Robert Beatty

32 thoughts on “Shadowsmith by Ross Mackenzie

  1. I found this a dramatic, scary and intriguing book full of creepiness. I loved all the characters and the friendships made. I was on the edge of my seat for all of the story and I couldn’t believe some relationships. This was a great book.

    I really liked the friendship and bonds in the book but I also found it a bit scary.

    Shadowsmith is a fantastic story about love, friendship and children overcoming scary situations. It’s dark, tense and spooky but also very fun. My favourite charter is Kirby who proves that he can be brave and courageous and my favourite part is when Kirby and Amelia are in the haunted house with the witch. I couldn’t put it down and I’d recommend this book to anyone.

    I couldn’t stop reading Shadowsmith, it was amazing! My favourite part was when Kirby’s mum squeezed his hand as she woke up from her coma; it made me feel really happy for Kirby. My favourite character was Amelia because despite her past she still tried to make a difference.

    Kirby’s mum is in a coma and he is being watched by evil spiders. Then late one night someone called Amelia Pigeon bangs on his window. When they discover the spiders’ nest and go to destroy it Kirby is dragged into an unforgettable journey where he will have to face his fears. Alicia

  2. Shadowsmith is a spooky, magical and unexpected world full of twists and turns. It is a great read. I found the spider in the book really interesting and exciting.

  3. I loved this book! I liked the plot of this book and the ending tied the story back to the beginning really well. I think at the start there could have a bit more action to engage the reader from page one.

  4. This book was quite interesting as it was very haunting and I thought it had a really good ending.

  5. Depths of darkness was discovered in these pages. This thrilling adventure was an amazing read. I especially liked the ending.

  6. I felt that the author got into the story too quickly and should have given more background information. However, I did really like the story line and structure. I also liked the ending. Daniel.

  7. This is a very powerful, fictional story. It is not my usual genre, however I still thought it was good. It kept me hooked and was well written

  8. A story of danger and daring with constant suspense which I really enjoyed. Scarlett

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this book because it was spooky and mysterious. My favourite character was Kirby because he always seemed determined to challenge himself. My favourite part was when Kirby and Amelia found the missing boy, Charlie. I loved every moment of it. The spiders gave me a bit of a fright!!!

  9. Gosforth East Middle School

    I really enjoyed reading Cogheart and I would give it 9.5 out of 10. The only problem was I got slightly confused during the book. I wouldn’t usually read that style of book however, I did find it interesting. If you do like adventure books, I would definitely recommend this book.


  10. My favourite book was ShadowSmith. This was because it included a slight brush of horror with an equal amount of mystery as well as romance between Kirby and Amelia.

  11. I thought Shadowsmith was a very thrilling novel and it was very descriptive. It had quite a lot of detail and suspense. The author described the setting an the plot in a very effective way that makes the reader want to read on and never stop.

  12. When I first picked up this book I didn’t think I would enjoy it as it isn’t the type of book I would first go for. However, I ended up loving it. I really like the characters’ personalities because they are very different to other books. My favourite is Amelia because she was quite mysterious and very unique. I also really like how it was structured – that they had to face three witches – each one bringing a different surprise. I also like the fact that at the end Kirby has to face one alone after Amelia has left, because it brings the story more to a close.I really like the ending and the plot twist with Brother Swan and Swift because, although at times I could guess what was going to happen, I didn’t expect this and it had my attention from the start and I wanted to keep reading to find out who they were and how they were connected to the spiders.

  13. This is a very good book – it’s full of mystery and is, in some places, quite spooky and dark. I love the characters, especially Amelia who is a Shadowsmith and main character, Kirby’s only friend.

  14. I think this is the best book ever! The writing is spectacular and the relationship between the characters is perfect. The balance between good and evil is brilliant and makes it a truly thrilling read.

  15. Shadowsmith was a great read with lots of description to keep me going. I liked how the witches could be disguised both as people and objects. I liked Amelia Pigeon because she was always ready for an adventure and had advanced skills. The brothers were evil but in a very humorous way so it made them seem less dangerous than they really were.

  16. Ever wanted to read a book in which a dark and dangerous battle between good and evil is lightened with comedy? Well I certainly recommend you read this one! Fast paced and gripping, I don’t know what’s not to like about this second novel from Ross Mackenzie. I think this is a great contender for NEBA.

  17. This was a perfect combination of love and mystery. I thought of it as an entertaining but quick read and I will probably read it again and again. The author described the scenes so well I felt like I was there watching Kirby fighting the third witch or with him, surrounded in spiders. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it captured my imagination perfectly.

  18. I loved this book! It was really mysterious. When I first picked it up, I just wanted to read and read and I couldn’t put it down. My favourite parts were when Kirby and Amelia were fighting the witches. At some points it was reeeally scary – but not too scary! As I said before I loved this book – it was an extremely gripping read. I can’t describe in words how good this book was but it should get five stars!!!

  19. This is a brilliant book as it’s full of action. I love it how the author links the beginning to the end by re-enacting one of the first scenes of the story on the last page. This book is packed with exiting settings and something different happens on every page.

  20. I thought this was an amazing book. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down! When Kirby and Amelia fought the witches, it was gripping and scary. Just perfect!

  21. I hate spiders but that didn’t stop me loving this book. I was pulled into from the start, it was so compelling. My favourite part was when Amelia and Kirby were at the fair looking for the child – it was really mysterious. I liked how it finished with Amelia asking someone else, “Are you brave?”

  22. Shadowsmith is a very imaginative and interesting book. I liked the way the author used humour to make Brothers Swan and Swift both ridiculous and frightening at the same time. I liked that there were two stories: the struggle between good and evil and the struggle in Kirby’s family with his father going to pieces and not supporting Kirby. I loved he end of the book when Amelia goes off to help someone else because you know it’s the start of another story.

  23. My favourite part of this book was the ending as it made me very curious about what would happen in the next adventure. Amelia Pigeon was quite a strange girl at the beginning but, as the story went on, things started making more sense. Kirby was brave and tried his best to save his mum.

  24. I liked the beginning because it was mysterious and began with a question, “Are you brave?” It made me wonder what Kirby had to be brave about and what the hazel twig was for. I wasn’t sure about the ending. I was concerned for Kirby because he had lost his friend and would never know what happened to her.

    I liked the way that the first characters introduced were the brothers and how, at the end, the story is re-enacted but with a different ending.

  25. After reading Nowhere Emporium, I was extremely excited to read Shadowsmith… and I wasn’t disappointed!
    Although I found it slow in parts, the ending and each encounter with a witch or spider was thrilling and had me on the edge of my seat! I loved the chemistry between Amelia and Kirby and the humour always lightened the thrilling darkness of this tale. Even though this book is a dark fantasy, I found it quite credible and felt as though I was on there, which is probably why I loved this book.

  26. Shadowsmith was a great book, partially because of the structure – just when something big was going to happen, the action switched to another character, leaving a cliff hanger and making you want to read more. Another way it was good is that there was always something happening and you didn’t know exactly what… until it actually happened. I especially liked the end because there was a lot of action and a bit of change of role. The ending was great because it repeats the start and leaves you wondering what might happen afterwards. The descriptions of the characters were amazing.

  27. Shadowsmith was a great read and was written incredibly. I found it fast paced and exciting and the plot was like nothing I have read before. I was drawn in from the very first page and the ending tied up any loose ends. I loved the idea of three siblings, one good and two bad. The darkness of the three witches was realistic I found, and I loved how they each had their special trait. I thought this book was a brilliant read, and feel like the Nowhere Emporium is now a must-read.

  28. This book had me hooked from the beginning. I liked how Amelia just came from nowhere and gave Kirby a stick because it set up lots of questions. The ending is one in which you imagine the rest and I imagined that Amelia had more brothers and maybe even quite a few step- mothers. Since I love this book I can’t wait to read Nowhere Emporium.

  29. This book was amazing – definitely a book I must re-read. Each character had enough of a backstory to make me want to hear more from them in a sequel. However, my favourite character has to be Amelia Pigeon – a quirky addition to the set and a personality that can only be truly identified through friendship.
    At first I thought that this book wouldn’t be my style of reading so I’m really glad that I gave it a go. Thank you for proving me wrong!

  30. I find Shadowsmith very gripping and fascinating. It is a story of a mystery and darkness. It made me want to read on forever because it is such a good book. I would say this book is for older children around 9 – 10 because it is so creepy. Emmy

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