I got the ARC for Juliet Marillier’s Shadowfell from Random House at San Diego Comic Con. I grabbed it because it sounded interesting, but I got home and tucked it away on my shelf to be read at a later date. I’m glad I finally pulled it out, because this hidden gem wouldn’t get out of my head, and the wonderful character development combined with an interesting plot made this a book a lovely read.
Here’s what it’s about:
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.
I found myself thinking about the characters when I wasn’t reading, and I had to know what was going to happen. I found this reaction interesting, because the book didn’t blow me away immediately. I thought it was perfectly pleasant, but nothing amazing or overwhelmingly awesome. And yet the characters kept nagging me, popping back into my mind to remind me they were there to be listened to. So overall I’d say this was a great book to read.
Shadowfell also had great character development, and the personal journey the main character went on was fun to read and discover. I think Neryn is a wonderfully complex and strong character, and I am very interested to see where the author takes her in the second book. Same thing with our burdened love interest, Flint. What a well-done character! His haunted choices, and the way they shape his life, makes for great reading. And the author kept me guessing as to his true motives all the way to the end of the book.
I can’t forget to mention the fae aspect of the book. Marillier creates some amazing secondary characters that are rich with interesting back story. They also add a ton to Neryn’s personal journey, and were my favorite part to the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I want to read book two, and I’m still finding myself wondering about the characters even though I finished the book a week ago. Can’t wait to see how the story progresses!