Actress and producer Anika Noni Rose has optioned film and television rights to Daniel José Older’s The Shadowshaper Cypher series, the bestselling YA urban fantasy series with an Afro-Latina heroine who can shape magic through paintings, music, and stories. This is Rose’s (via her company Roaring Virgin Productions) second collaboration with Older; in 2015 she optioned his Bone Street Rumba series.
Shadowshaper was published in 2015 and was named a New York Times Notable Book. The synopsis:
Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes their first party. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep tears… Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.
With the help of a fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one. Now Sierra must unravel her family’s past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for generations to come.
“Shadowshaper was a book I couldn’t put down,” Rose told Deadline. “At a time when so many are feeling powerless, Sierra Santiago is a young Afro-Latina heroine who finds her power within herself. Through a strong spiritual connection to her ancestors, the discovery of the magic living in her art, and with the help of some amazing friends, she saves her family, and her Brooklyn neighborhood from certain destruction. A face and culture we rarely see on screen; she is the heroine we’ve been searching for, only to find she lives right next door.” You can also listen to Older talk about the book on the Midnight in Karachi podcast.
On Twitter, Older expressed his excitement about the potential adaptation in the most fitting way—through emoji:
— Daniel José Older (@djolder) April 27, 2017
Shadowhouse Fall, the second book in the series, will be published this September.