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Shadowghast by Thomas Taylor is the third book in the Legends of Eerie-on-Sea series. Another summer is drawing to a close and the seaside village is preparing for Ghastly Night which involves a shadow play. This year though, a traveling stage magician has arrived to put on the show, upsetting the usual ebb and flow of things.
Eerie-on-Sea has a long history of paranormal happenings — usually in the form of sea monsters. But there's a land based on involving Ghastly Night. If a candle is lit before the right time, the Shadowgast will be summoned. It is a shadow stealing entity with ties to the founding of the village.
The magician brings the promise of information on Herbie's parents. She also promises to give him a home. But to Violet and the observant reader, he's clearly being manipulated. I would go so far as to say he's being gaslighted by the magician. More broadly, though, the unexpected arrival of the magician and her crew gives this novel a similar vibe to The Boneshaker by Kate Milford (2010).
Like the previous two books, Shadowghast sits on the Road Narrative Spectrum. As the second book took the series in the opposite direction, thematically, from Malamander, Shadowghast manages to find a middleground.
As Hermie and Violet are working together but don't have much agency due to being children, they are marginalized travelers (66). Their destination is home (66): namely saving Eerie-on-Sea and establishing that the village is Herbie's rightful home. Their route is the maze (CC): literally through the underground tunnels, and metaphorically as they try to understand what's happening to the village.
The fourth book, Festergrimm is scheduled for release on September 1, 2022.