House of El: The Shadow Threat

*I received a free copy of this book from DC Comics for review purposes. These are my honest opinions. Thank you.*

4/5 Stars

Author: Claudia Gray

Illustrator: Eric Zawadzki

Publisher/Imprint: DC Comics

Edition: Paperback, 208 Pages

Publication Date: January 05, 2021

A Spine that Shines? Quite Well!


Book Synopsis

Zahn is one of Krypton’s elites: wealthy, privileged, a future leader. Sera is one of Krypton’s soldiers: strong, dedicated, fearless. Their rule – bound society has ordained that their paths should never cross.

But groundquakes are shaking the planet’s surface. Rebellious uprisings are shaking the populace. Krypton’s top scientists — Jor-El and Lara — conduct a secret experiment that is meant to reform their planet from the cellular level up. Zahn and Sera must join forces to investigate the hidden dangers truly threatening Krypton. In the process, they form a bond that will endure past the end of the world.

Book Review

‘You’re a perfect example of military genetic engineering. And yet you’ve got a … spark. A bit of cunning that’s all your own.’

-Claudia Gray, House of El: The Shadow Threat

Initial Thoughts

Hello, bookworms! Wow, I can’t believe this is already my first post of 2021! Happy New Year! What are you currently reading? Or which book did you finish first in 2021? House of El: The Shadow Threat was the last book I finished reading in 2020. I actually finished it on Christmas Day!

Here are some of my initial thoughts about the book:

  • This was a fun, quick read about Krypton, Superman’s home planet, before the planet’s demise.
  • As the first in a trilogy, it certainly feels like a beginning that is setting up future events. I just hope the next two books are not too drawn out, as is often my fear with trilogies.
  • The illustration style fits the story well. Zawadzki is quite talented at drawing sci-fi planet types of buildings and scenery.
  • Claudia Gray paints an interesting picture of the social divide on Krypton. It was interesting to observe the social class dynamics from both Sera and Zahn’s perspectives.
  • Krypton’s terraforming efforts on other planets have been failing, but the pig-headed leaders of Krypton don’t want to admit it to the public. At times, I just wished someone would give them a good knock on the noggin, you know?
  • I am definitely curious to see what all the denial is about and how Sera and Zahn, the two main characters, will try to save Krypton in the next two books.


Here is a brief overview of the main characters:

  • Sera Ur is a soldier, genetically coded to serve and protect Krypton. I found it slightly difficult to relate to her, because her character is a bit emotionally stiff for most of the novel. But then again, considering the plot, I’m guessing her stiffness is likely intentional.
  • Zahn Re is a member of a wealthy family and is genetically coded to become a future leader of Krypton. I liked Zahn and his desire to do good and become a better person. He gets involved with a rebel group called Midnight and must prove himself to the group.
  • Scientists Jor-El and Lara come up with a secret plan to try to save Krypton, and they ask Sera to be a participant. She is unprepared for how much her participation will change her.
  • Regarding the romance, I hardly felt its existence in this first installment. Just a tad. Perhaps I had expected more romance based on the book’s official synopsis, but it seems that the real development of the relationship between Sera and Zahn will develop in the future novels. Sera and Zahn don’t actually spend much time together in this first novel. Their paths cross here-and-there. 
  • I didn’t love the fact that Zahn and Sera already sort of have crushes on each other prior to the novel’s beginning. When this happens in a book, I often feel that it’s difficult to understand the story behind why the characters are attracted to each other since we don’t get to see how they first meet. I’m hoping for a little bit more about their history together in the second book.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this was an entertaining read with a good amount of action. There is one thing that is revealed about Sera’s ex boyfriend near the end that is kind of out-of-the-blue, but this is only a minor issue.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to read this first installment of House of El. I’ve read several other books by Claudia Gray, and I look forward to reading more and finding out what happens to Sera and Zahn. There is a good twist at the end that makes me want to read the sequel! This book released today, so definitely check it out if it sounds interesting to you. Happy reading, everyone 🙂

Copyright © 2021 by Spines that Shine (Caitlin Shaffer)

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Up Next on My TBR: Crown of Bones (Continued from December)

Screen Shot 2020-11-28 at 12.47.01 PM

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