Pangu's Shadow

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Pub Date Feb 06 2024 | Archive Date Feb 29 2024
Lerner Publishing Group | Carolrhoda Lab ®

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There are no second chances in the Pangu Star System.

Ver and Aryl, apprentices at the most prestigious biology lab among the system’s moons, know this better than anyone. They’ve left behind difficult pasts and pinned their hopes for the future on Cal, their brilliant but demanding boss. But one night while working late in the lab, they find Cal sprawled on the floor, dead.


And they immediately become the prime suspects.

Their motives seem obvious. Ver, who left her home moon to study the life-threatening disease wracking her body, had a hopeless attachment to Cal that could’ve become twisted by jealousy. Aryl, on the other hand, clashed with workaholic Cal because she valued more in her life than research.

To clear their names, Ver and Aryl put aside their mutual suspicion and team up to investigate Cal’s death. As they search for the real murderer, they uncover secrets that have shaped all of Pangu’s moons… and must decide what kind of future they really want.

There are no second chances in the Pangu Star System.

Ver and Aryl, apprentices at the most prestigious biology lab among the system’s moons, know this better than anyone. They’ve left behind...

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ISBN 9781728477510
PRICE $19.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 24 members

Featured Reviews

I've never read any of Bao's books before, but after this, I'm definitely going to. This was not just a story, it was an experience. The characters felt real. You didn't just know what they liked and didn't like. You knew who they were; what they cared about. They were complete people, which made the plot even better.
To me, the worldbuilding and the characters are the two most important pieces of a story. If Aryl and Ver just went about their everyday lives doing absolutely nothing, I still would have read and enjoyed every single page of this.
Of course, they didn't just sit around twiddling their thumbs. Pangu's Shadow is an innovative story that takes you to the moons of a foreign star to solve the murder of Cal. Aryl and Ver, two academic rivals, both accused of murder, must work together to clear their name.
That's where things got good. Having such incredible characters put to such extremes makes for a gripping story that I enjoyed every page of.

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Pangu's Shadow by Karen Bao is a YA sci-fi murder
mystery that immerses readers in a beautifully written
world brimming with science and intriguing social
commentary. From start to finish, this book captivates with
its engrossing plot, well-developed characters, and
exploration of themes related to capitalism, inequality,
queerness, and immigration.
Bao's storytelling prowess shines brightly as she expertly
weaves a tale that seamlessly blends elements of
mystery, science fiction, and social critique. The author's
ability to create relatable characters and meaningful
relationships within a futuristic setting is commendable.
Furthermore, Bao's exploration of topics such as
disability, queerness, and xenophobia in academia adds
depth and relevance to the story without feeling forced or
While a minor drawback is noted in terms of pacing during
the middle section, the overall experience of reading
Pang's Shadow is highly enjoyable. The intricate world-
building and the race to uncover evidence of innocence
keep readers engaged and invested in the outcome. The
science explanations are both informative and accessible,
making the book appealing to a wide range of readers.
Pang's Shadow is a must-read for fans of thoughtful
space mysteries and YA sci-fi. Karen Bao masterfully
combines elements of mystery, science, and social issues
to create a compelling story that balances entertainment
and thought-provocation. This book showcases the
author's talent for crafting relatable characters and
exploring meaningful themes, making it a highly
recommended addition to any reader's collection.

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I wasn't actually looking to start a new book when I requested this one, but the name and description hooked me, and so did the story itself. I read this over the course of about two sittings; it's always fun to have that "can't put it down" feeling line up with a night when you have hours to actually not put it down, and that's the experience I got with Pangu's Shadow. The part that appealed to me - a sci-fi mystery - delivered, keeping me engaged the whole time. Throughout, Bao layered in nuanced world building, slow burn relationship development, and a thoughtful exploration of the characters and their experiences. As she writes in the author's note (I'm paraphrasing), it's a mystery, but it's also a book about science, about racism and xenophobia, about queerness, about disability, about the experience of being an immigrant. It really delivered on all fronts - engaging and thoughtful but still accessible. Bao really did a masterful job of utilizing a sci-fi setting to explore relatable experiences, especially regarding disability, queerness, and xenophobia in academia, without the whole thing feeling like a story that exists solely to comment on the real world. I'd thoroughly recommend this book to anyone, but fans of thoughtful space mysteries in particular!

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I love this book! It has the perfect balance of science and feelings, and I especially appreciate its analysis of class politics.

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