Book Review – The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby

shadow cipherIt was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction.

Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment house—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long-held by the people of New York. And if Tess, Theo and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.


gold_star-svggold_star-svggold_star-svggold_star-svggold_star-svg  5/5 Stars

I think I may be in love with Laura Ruby’s writing. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of reading Bone Gap, and since was eagerly awaiting this. Well all I can say is I wish I’d read it sooner!!

This is supposed to be middle grade, and I get why, but it didn’t read massively different to some YA so don’t let that put you off either. This is the pseudo fantasy mystery thriller book I didn’t know I was waiting for. It has everything. An almost recognisable but definitely different world. A brilliantly described New York. Amazing self running mysterious machines. Genius twins who create a city of wonders and suddenly disappear. Other eccentric and brilliant twins and their friend, who are curious, intelligent and strangely free of adult supervision! What more can one want from a book, I ask.

Yes in places, it’s a little slow. I didn’t actually really notice, I was fully wrapped up in the story. It’s a great mystery – not sadly one you can really solve along with them or guess too much before, but it’s doled out in small enough parcels to feel like you’re there with Tess, Theo and Jaime. You get to explore this magical world and run around solving mysteries, being chased by creepy and/or sinister bad guys. I just enjoyed every second of it and I need to sequel right now please!

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