Author: Juliet Marillier
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: PanMacmillan Australia. Thank you!
Goodreads rating: 3.97 out of 5.00 (3,900+ ratings)
Goodreads | The Reading Room
The people of Alban are afraid.
The tyrannical king and his masked Enforcers are scouring the land, burning villages and enslaving the canny.
Fifteen-year-old Neryn has fled her home in the wake of its destruction, and is alone and penniless, hiding her extraordinary magical power. She can rely on no one – not even the elusive Good Folk who challenge and bewilder her with their words.
When an enigmatic stranger saves her life, Neryn and the young man called Flint begin an uneasy journey together. She wants to trust Flint but how can she tell who is true in this land of evil?
For Neryn has heard whisper of a mysterious place far away: a place where rebels are amassing to free the land and end the King's reign.
A place called Shadowfell.
A story of courage, hope, danger and love from one of the most compelling fantasy storytellers.
Review by Nara
One thing I can definitely say about Juliet Marillier is that her writing is stunning. There's a nice flow to her words that make them easy to read- almost a lyrical tone, rather like reading a fairytale. While there were a lot of new terms introduced (sometimes it was hard to keep track of the different creatures and things), I think overall, Marillier manages to create a very compelling high fantasy world.
However, I do have to say that some of the dialogue was a bit difficult to interpret. There are a couple of characters that have accents (they kind of read like Scottish accents) and it's almost impossible to work out what they're saying in some parts. Still, I guess it added to the characterisation and world building, so I'm not totally against it.
I learned that fear turned friend into foe in an instant, and I learned to keep secrets.From the start, you're (or at least I was) very curious to find out what the "extraordinary magical power" referred to in the blurb is. And in the first couple of chapters, there are hints of what it is. Man, every time a hint came up I was like JUST TELL ME DAMMIT. When the power actually is revealed (which is pretty early on, maybe chapter five or six), at first I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't something more awesome (like controlling fire or something haha)- but then I really thought about what the power meant, and how it could be utilised. And I realised that it's a very interesting power indeed. I definitely look forward to how it's going to be used in sequels.
For some reason, I kind of like it when love interests don't look flawless. The first thing we see Neryn notes about Flint is that his face is "not a handsome face". Flint is a rather mysterious and fascinating character- to trust him or not to trust him...you can find out for yourself, I suppose.
The pace is a bit slow. There's this section in the middle which feels like walking through a swamp, it's so slow. So I do have to admit that I was bored at times- and this is probably the main reason why I'm giving Shadowfell four stars rather than five. It just felt like the plot was dragging along- basically the entire story was Neryn walking around and encountering various creatures. And just when things start getting really interesting, the book ends! Well, at least I have a copy of the sequel ready.