Author: Juliet Marillier
Publication Date: September 11th, 2012
Genre: YA - Fantasy - High Fantasy
"Sixteen-year-old Neryn 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.
During her 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." ~See it on Goodreads!
I really loved the world building in this book; it’s very unique and draws you into this wonderful fantasy world of Alban. The writing itself is beautiful and has the perfect balance of magic and mysticism, which is all too fitting for these types of Fantasy novels. And I loved the addition of the “Good Folk” in this story particularly, I liked the fact that the author took pieces from Myth and Lore and crafted them into her story in a way that stands out from the rest.
The characters were all very well developed; they all stand out in their own ways and have unique voices. For the most part I liked Neryn, she’s resilient, kind, and has certain strength to her. But at the same time I felt like her personality lacked a bit of that spark/spunkiness that I like to see in my heroines, she also didn’t really have any flaws so at times she felt a little too hopeful and kind to be true. For me personally, I like to see the characters grow and change over the course of a story and towards the end I saw the beginning of some possible growth in Neryn, so I’m hopeful that in the next installment we’ll uncover more layers and a new depth to her character.
There were a few areas in the book where the plot got a little bogged down, and seemed to drag slightly. I know there are readers out there that have a hard time getting through books with slower pacing in some areas, if you’re one of those people that may be a problem for you with this book. For me personally it’s not such a big issue because I love this genre, and I can overlook a little slowness if the other elements are all on point. But I felt I should mention it because I know some people don’t like the slower pace.
Overall I really did enjoy Shadowfell and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the next book in the series, come on July 9th! And I’m also excited to start reading more of this lovely authors work!