I was lucky enough to get all three books in Bontle Senne’s Shadow Chasers series recently, so armed with snacks and a more than willing cat companion, I got stuck in over the weekend. It’s what I call self-care, Sally style.
I’ve known Bontle for years and was super excited when I heard her first book for young readers was being published. Now book three is out with number four on the way and they’re winning fans countrywide. (I know this firsthand – while I was waiting for my talk to begin at the Kingsmead Book Fair this year, I had to help a boy desperately looking for the Shadow Chasers venue.)
To say I was hooked would be a complete understatement. I devoured them.
In book one, Powers of the Knife, we meet Nom and Zithembe, two seemingly ordinary kids who suddenly find their world threatened by strange creatures with glowing eyes. I absolutely loved Nom. Not even her father’s wealth and reputation as a taxi boss can protect her from the bullies at school, but Nom doesn’t let that affect her fighting spirit in the slightest. Besides, she and Zithembe have much more important business to take care of.
To save their loved ones, Nom and Zithembe have to accept their ancestral duty as Shadow Chasers, the world’s only defense against an army of shadows. It’s a fast-paced, thrill a minute.
In book two, Lake of Memories, we’re plunged deeper into the world of the Shadow Chasers and encounter more characters and frightening beasties, including the fearsome Mami Wata and her watery allies.
The fun doesn’t stop there. Book three introduces even more danger in the form of a crafty witch and Ndadzi, the lightning bird. I just couldn’t get enough and raced through the pages till there was simply no more adventure to be had and I didn’t know what to do with myself. Thankfully, book four, Night of the Red Moon, hits shelves in December.
These South African urban fantasy books are perfect for younger readers. They’re action-packed and bursting with adventure and local flavour. They’re guaranteed to capture the imagination of younger readers. I only wish I could have read these when I was a kid.
Even the cat approves.