Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Review: Shadowfell, by Juliet Marillier

Shadowfell is a fantasy -- a pretty high fantasy -- which is usually not my thing. But, having said that, I did enjoy the story for what it is.

Neryn has been left all alone after the sudden murder of her father. She has unusual magic. She can hear and see the Good Folk, which are the fay beings in the world of Alban. This land is being ruled by a king who is against all magic (unless it's performed by those in his court, for his purposes.) His armies are pillaging the land and killing off entire villages.

Neryn feels her only choice is to try to get to a secret place called Shadowfell, where she has been told a rebellion is forming. Little does she know that her powers may give her a big part in the success of the rebellion. These powers have also put her in danger, as the king's soldiers are looking for Neryn.

She meets Flint, who is very helpful and seems to want to keep Neryn safe. But it turns out he has many secrets, and might not be very trustworthy. Neryn makes her way north to Shadowfell, and meets many interesting magical creatures, endures many tests of character, and gets help at times from Flint.

As I said, I'm not a big fan of fantasy. Worlds where there are constantly weird magical creatures appearing and saving the day, where humans don't play a big part, where things aren't "normal" enough just have a hard time piquing my interest. Shadowfell, however, did hold my interest. It was a well-written book, full of action and adventure, so I was able to get through it easily. The characters evolve, and the reader is slowly exposed to more information along with Neryn. These new pieces of the puzzle serve to keep the story moving. The magical creatures are varied and creative, and the romance is not quite non-existent. I'm thinking something is bound to develop in the next book.

The ending allows a small respite, but nothing about the big overwhelming task is resolved. By the end, we are attached to several characters, and Marillier's website says the three Shadowfall books will be published at one year intervals, so prepare for a wait! Fantasy fans, both teens and adults, should not hesitate to read Shadowfall. It has all the elements that make it easy for me to recommend.

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, September 11, 2012
ARC obtained from Library Media Connection for review
410 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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  1. Great review! I hadn't heard of this one until now, but I'm definitely in the mood for a good high fantasy and I know a lot of people really love Juliet Marillier's adult fantasy books.

    You are very lucky to have an ARC of the Diviners, by the way (jealous)-- hope you're enjoying it. :)

  2. I enjoyed this one for sure -- not a huge fan of fairy stories when they're like this, but I love love loved the human aspects of this (especially any bits with Flint!), so it was an overall win for me. Eagerly awaiting the next books!

  3. Ohhh! This one does sound like a really interesting read and I think I will have to pick it up sometime (but not TOO soon because I hate super long waits!). I enjoy fantasy books but sometimes made up worlds can be too confusing. I like that this one sounds like a really intriguing read though.

  4. I really hope the romantic elements are expanded in the next book too. I think it was a bit too rushed in this book and the ending just felt forced so hopefully the author will make it more believable in the sequel. Thanks for stopping Tynga's Reviews!


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