Author: Juliet Marillier
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered
anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to
hide her own canny skill--a uniquely powerful ability to communicate
with the fairy-like Good Folk--Neryn sets out for the legendary
Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group
determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.
dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she
must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential.
She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her
from certain death--but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn
struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be
the key to Alban's release from Keldec's rule. Homeless, unsure of who
to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must
make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban.
I have to say, this is one of the most depressing books I've even read.The first 2/3 of the book is so painfully depressing that a few times I considered not picking it up again. Not only that, but the depressing parts were also the parts that were slow for me, plot-wise. The final 1/3 of the book was more enjoyable, but it still wasn't enough to save this book for me.
Neryn was a tolerable heroine. She's not really into kicking butt like many heroines, but she has a quiet determination that still left me impressed. She's had a very tough life (see the previous paragraph where I state how extremely depressing this book is) and is mainly interested in survival. She sees many things that are wrong with her homeland under Keldec's rule and, after a bit of prodding, takes it upon herself to change them or die trying (which she nearly does). Besides one poorly thought out decision, I didn't have any issues with Neryn and even appreciated her determination. I liked the character of Flint. So flawed, yet every bit as determined as Neryn.
I think the world building was also quite well done, besides being overwhelmingly depressing. I thought that Marillier did an excellent job creating the world of Alban, although I wish she's included a few more glimmers of hope along the way. The writing was also well done and was what kept me going through the slow and depressing parts of the book.
Overall, I wanted to like this book because it had some good aspects to it. However, I read books for enjoyment and Shadowfell was far to depressing to be truly enjoyable.
On the Cover:
The cover is nice, although the model is much prettier (and cleaner!) than I envisioned Neryn.
Rating: 2.5 Hearts
Source: eARC received from publisher via Netgalley
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