The Shadowverse

A YA Sci-Fi Superhero Adventure

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
552 Pages
Reviewed on 01/28/2019
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Author Biography

John-Clement Gallo is a 17-year-old Christian author of The Shadowverse, a Science-Fiction Superhero novel. He enjoys astronomy, astrophysics, ambient music, and ice hockey, while also a trumpet player. While living in Houston, Texas, he was the youngest person (11) to become a licensed RC pilot. On the other hand, he is ranked a black belt in Taekwondo and Hapkido, though he is very unassuming and tends to keep that accomplishment a cool secret. Currently, he lives in Orlando, Florida with his family, trying to outlive the constant heat.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

The Shadowverse: A YA Sci-Fi Superhero Adventure by John-Clement Gallo is an adventure that is as satisfying as any can be. Well-written and loaded with action, it features Johnny Sparks, a young protagonist who suddenly discovers that he has powers after an encounter with a mysterious stranger. Perhaps this could be the start of an exciting life for him. When one of his gifted friends is captured by the evil warlord Titan, Johnny and his friends are sent on a rescue mission that takes them across the galaxy. They will need the help of a legendary warrior who has gone missing for centuries. But Titan has grimmer plans for the fate of humanity.

John-Clement Gallo pits his characters against impossible odds with explosive action. The narrative starts with a prologue that captures a moment five hundred years ago and presents a character that will intrigue readers. Then the action moves quickly to New York City in an offset room in an alley where two men are talking about events about to take place. The author grabs the reader’s attention right off the bat by creating a setting that is filled with mystery and putting questions in the reader's mind.

I immediately became curious about the characters and the impending events. The setting is interplanetary, and I enjoyed the powerful images conjured up in the writing, and loved the author's gift for apt descriptions and insightful writing. The novel is fast paced, with plot elements that enhance the unpredictability of events. The characters are real and it is interesting to follow them as they develop through the challenges. The Shadowverse: A YA Sci-Fi Superhero Adventure is written in a cinematic style, filled with ingenuity in plot and imagination. It feels so real and it’s easy to ride alongside the extraordinary characters.

K.C. Finn

The Shadowverse is a superhero adventure written for young adults, and penned by author John-Clement Gallo. Combining science fiction, suspense and comic book action, the plot begins when Johnny Sparks and his three fellow college friends are imbued with superpowers from an encounter with a mysterious stranger. Soon after, they discover that fellow college attendee Rose is actually an alien, sought after by powerful forces from across the galaxy. As tensions rise and danger looms, the new heroes are called out of this world to find the only person who can help them, but even this immortal warrior has issues that must be resolved. What follows is an even bigger battle for the soul of the universe itself.

I enjoyed the progression of the plot very much, from the small-time discovery of Johnny’s powers right up to the whole universe-at-stake blockbuster ending, and I think the pacing is really good for a young adult novel. This was a long read with plenty of concepts to enjoy, and author John-Clement Gallo takes time to really craft the heroes and villains of the piece to give a fully rounded set of people (and aliens) who feel like so much more than comic book heroes by the time the tale ends. The prose is complex, so I’d certainly recommend it as a read for ages fifteen to nineteen in the young adult genre, but I’d also say that plenty of adult readers and fans of science fiction are certain to enjoy The Shadowverse as well.

Divine Zape

The Shadowverse: A YA Sci-Fi Superhero Adventure by John-Clement Gallo is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that takes readers across the galaxies. An encounter between Johnny Sparks and a mysterious stranger leaves him and his friends with unimaginable powers. But soon after this encounter, one of his friends is taken by a powerful alien warlord called Titan. Now begins the hunt to rescue his friend. The only help they can get is from an immortal warrior who has gone missing for centuries, and to reach him the group has to travel across the galaxy. Titan has sinister plans for humanity and it won’t be long before he destroys the world they know. But can they get the help they need in time and stop a catastrophe that is irreversible?

John-Clement Gallo’s work is highly imaginative and readers will enjoy the young characters. Johnny Sparks has found a purpose for his life, but he also has to learn the hard lesson that special gifts come with great responsibility. Readers will enjoy the journey of this young hero as he learns to forget himself and to seek the common good. While the action is pulsating and the adventure breathtaking, the lessons of this narrative are among the things that set it aside — the importance of teamwork, endurance, the strength of trusting in one’s heart. The characters are strong and believable, and I even loved the way the villain looks. I always believe that the strength of a protagonist depends on the cunning of the villain and this author justifies that belief. Readers will genuinely hate the villain and find themselves rooting for the hero. The Shadowverse: A YA Sci-Fi Superhero Adventure has a lot that readers enjoy in Young Adult fantasy and adventure — non-stop action, great prose, characters who develop through the conflict and high stakes.

JoJo Maxson

Sometimes people are chosen to become heroes; just like in The Shadowverse. John-Clement Gallo creates a novel around a team of young adults destined for greater things. These friends entertain us as they learn about their powers and the different ways to use them. Johnny, Ryan, Sam, Dustin, Rose, and Jane have a lot to learn and everything is a learning experience.

The Shadowverse, by John-Clement Gallo, is comical for a time travel novel. With a familiar plot altered in a unique way, this book is fresh and amusing. The author being a teenager himself, you will find the characters have a personal feel about their personalities. Overall, I love the book, but my favorite characters are Sam and Dustin. These brothers are goofy, yet fun. They work well together for siblings and are so vain they make me laugh. I would highly recommend this for time travel and science fiction fans.

Remmy Meggs

The Shadowverse
John Gallo

Superheroes. Since the 1940’s every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Jane has been writing about superheroes. Some were kids, most were adults, but they all had super something in their beings. The teen superheroes in this book caught a vague interest in me because I grew up not having any. In fact, I have seen cartoons but never paid attention. I was into action-adventure books. Comics/comiccon/ and such things never interested me and still don’t. Worse yet when you read a few pages into this book, you find out that the teens are twenty-two years old, and the size of ogres. For those that have been abused by Disney, ogres since the dawn of man have been bullies, warriors or slaves that are over six-foot tall. If you look at the world today, you will not find many world leaders that do not fit the above description, so sad!

Now come on, that is not the normal teen by any sense of the word, yet these guys are. Moving on the first alert for me was a girl, honestly with red hair When the five main characters were over six foot tall, I immediately thought I was reading about a basketball team. To me, these were the bad parts of the book. What is it with red hair in books and movies lately. Just doesn’t seem right to me.

Yet there were a bunch of good parts, excellent parts and a saga that takes you across the galaxy, even I can get into that. What about the antagonist, one that doesn’t lie, always tells the truth… whoa wait, is that possible? And the “good” guys want to stop this sweet person that is trying to save the universe, and mankind from its hateful, selfish self? No way, let him do his thing and save all of us!

Of course, that would not be a very good ending if we were all perfect now, would it? What seems to be at stake here is free will. Free will to kill, rape, torture and starve those you want to get rid of, versus peace and harmony. Am I rooting for the wrong person? Well, of course, I want the “good guys” to win, but at what cost?

This is a book you need to read if you are a superhero fan or not, I give this book four stars out of five, mostly because of the comic book headings and archaic wording, neither of which hurt the storyline.

Sandy V

I need to start off by saying, I love the imagination used to create the different worlds we get to visit. I’m almost finding myself wanting to book a cruiser to Herook.

While this book does need a bit more editing and tightening up, it still presented an exciting story.

I love the unique personalities of each team member. We are quickly introduced to them all at the beginning of the book. Over time, we get to know them on a more intimate level. We learn their backstories - what makes them tick. It’s always interesting to see how people with similar tragedies develop different traits. Some internalize that anger, using it to drive them to self-destruct. Some immediately implode. While others convert the anger to something positive.

The loved watching the interactions between the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the verbal sparring between the boys. I probably chuckled more than I should have. Poor Ryan. Poor Johnny. It’s a good thing being clueless about girls doesn’t affect a hero’s ability to save the universe.

There are a few “who exactly are you?” characters sprinkled throughout the book. Some hints were dropped. I think I know who the mysterious “Z” is, but I need to read the next book for more clues.

E.P. Clark

Six ordinary young people have their lives changed forever when they discover that they're not so ordinary after all. Soon they're a band of superheroes, traveling through space and trying to save the world.

"The Shadowverse" has a lot of superhero tropes that superhero fans are likely to recognize and enjoy. So if you like a good superhero story, this book has a lot that will probably appeal to you. Some of the aspects of the the book that really stood out for me were the martial arts training and fighting scenes, which were portrayed with lots of realistic detail, and the meditation scenes, which helped provide a balance to the numerous fight scenes. The dialogue between the main characters also had the authentic ring of high school/college age speech, and gives some pleasant moments of levity.

I can see this book really appealing to adolescent readers in particular, with its young protagonists and high-action sequences interspersed with some light romance and a little philosophy. Recommended for teenage fans of superhero fiction.

My thanks to the author for providing a review copy. All opinions are my own.

Tomi Scaggs

The Shadowverse is a richly imagined world where a band of friends must join forces in order to save the world! This book definitely reminded me of The Guardians of the Galaxy meets Team Titan.

I typically don’t get into the superhero theme, but this book was a lot of fun to read. It was witty, action packed, and full of adventure with twists and turns.

One of the coolest aspects of this book is that the author is only 17, so he is able to offer a unique perspective into his characters that gives them even more depth.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It does take some time to digest all of the information necessary to navigate through the universe, but once I got through that, this book was too good to put down.

Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book for me to review. It did not bias my review in any way, and all opinions are my own.

Rating: 4 stars

John

I must state that, to-date, this is the most difficult sci-fi book review I have ever had to write. The author, for one so young (only seventeen years of age), is one hell of a wordsmith. However, their lack of life experience does show through within the body of the work. So to be fair to the author, I have to try to approach this review from two angles; Firstly, as a young/new adult sci-fi reader and, secondly, as a more mature age sci-fi reader, which is what I am.

As an older teen or new/young adult sci-fi reader, especially if I was into comic books or superhero movies, I would find this story to be pretty cool. The characters are well developed, and the world building is very professionally done. The plot, whilst simplistic and uncomplicated, is filled with action and is revealed at a good pace, especially considering the book is well over five hundred pages long. The author seems to have mastered the technique of tension/pressure building and release, which in my opinion is great, as it has been my experience that a considerable number of authors in this genre seem only to know how to build tension and do not give the reader the time to de-compress during the read. Many times, to do so, I have had to just stop reading. With this author I did not have to do so.

I would easily give the book five stars based on younger me.

As a more mature age sci-fi reader, I think somewhat differently. To begin with, I found the word imagery contained within the first two pages to be feel forced and obviously designed to try to impress. Fortunately, that settled down rather quickly and the writing became more natural and the story flowed much more realistically. At 70% through the book we have the heroes visiting the US President at the Whitehouse in an attempt to “save the World.” Personally, I think that the Secretary General of the United Nations would have been the more appropriate person to have initially called upon. This was somewhat rectified later, but, more or less as an afterthought. There is a considerable amount of “facepalming” throughout the read and, towards the latter part of the story, much weeping and gnashing of teeth. IMO, the principle that best applies is, some is okay, less is better, more is much, much worse.

Overall, I found the plot to be somewhat parochial. I found the main characters’ behaviours/reactions to be simplistic and sometimes predictable. But, given that this is the Author’s first work, and also given their very early stage of development in life, that was perfectly understandable. This was nothing if not an entertaining read, and I would lean toward giving the book three stars as an older reader.

So, averaging it out between youthful and older reader, I give Shadowverse four stars overall. I’m looking forward to more of John-Clement Gallo because he shows immense promise and the scifi genre needs young writers like him.

Maria

The Shadowverse is a story about a group of friends with superpowers who must join forces and learn to work together not only to save their friend but their world. The friendship described in the book between Sam, Dustin, Ryan and Johnny was so special, they complemented each other perfectly and that was my favorite part.

The reason why this wasn't a 5 stars for me is because everything in the first chapters from them being friends with the girls, to getting their powers and figure out how they worked felt rushed for me but after those chapters, I fell in love with the story and characters. I loved the author writing style and the book had a lot of action from beginning to end which I loved because I never got bored while reading it.

Richard Garcia

Fabulous! I can’t believe the author is only 17

Bernard Jan

2019 is the year of discoveries for me. By accident, or guided by the starlight, I wouldn’t know, I came upon two teenage writers and authors who are still not out of their classrooms but are already “competing” with thousands of more experienced writers on equal footing on Amazon and other book-selling platforms.

In February this year, Michael Evans disarmed me and won my sympathies with his dystopian Control Freakz. A month later, John-Clement Gallo did it with his Sci-Fi adventure novel The Shadowverse.

“This parallel universe, what I call the Shadowverse, is a mere shadow of this one, where energies of all kinds reign. It is connected to this one by a series of wormholes—the creators of which I do not yet know. Sometimes the portals open where they should not.”

If this “definition” of the Shadowverse, in the words of the villain Titan, is not enough for you to grab and time-travel through this book, then I hope the group of six of our superheroes with their incredible powers gathered under the name the Shadowforce will be. Just out of their teenage years, they are warriors of the universe on a mission to save our home planet from the alien force which wants to take it over.

Still being a teenager, Gallo delivers us natural, funny and witty dialogues between his young protagonists and development of a clumsy romantic relationship I enjoyed very much. His personal expertise in martial arts (he is ranked a black belt in taekwondo and hapkido) gives his fighting scenes an extra-realistic touch and excitement.

But it is his love for astronomy, astrophysics and distant worlds that breathes life into this story. John-Clement is a teenager who dreams of stars. His enchantment by a star-spangled night sky and the modern culture of superheroes saving us in various blockbusters and comics is the real juice that sets his imagination in motion by creating a fast paced and action-packed story of tall, likeable and ordinary-young-people-turned-superheroes with an important mission.

If we had doubts about the future of Sci-Fi or dystopian genres, we can be at peace now. Both Gallo and Evans want to save humanity, they both have talent to entertain us and capture our attention, and their determination to write and publish the series of books is nothing but commendable ambition at such a young age.

What more is there to say?