Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Posted August 29, 2013 by Brin in Reviews / 0 Comments

Shadowfell by Juliet MarillierShadowfell by Juliet Marillier
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on September 11 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Historical Fantasy
Pages: 410
Format: Hardcover
Source: I Bought It

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.

Shadowfell is the first book in a new YA series by Juliet Marillier and although it was not quite as magical an experience as her earlier Sevenwaters series, it did not disappoint. This is the story of Neryn, a young girl with certain ‘canny’ gifts that have made her a target. She has had to keep hidden, never staying long in any one place for fear of discovery.

She has heard of a place called Shadowfell where people with abilities such as herself have found refuge. After tragedy strikes, Neryn must make her way to Shadowfell but the road there is not an easy one. Along the way she meets friends and enemies alike, most notable of which is Flint, a young man who may be more than he seems.

Juliet Marillier never fails but to enthrall me with her tales. I have been a huge fan of hers, ever since the day I first picked up Daughter of the Forest. Shadowfell is another engrossing tale of steeped in magic and mystery. Neryn is a young girl who has been on the run for most of her young life, along with her ne’er do well father.

When her father makes the ultimate betrayal, Neryn finds herself in the company of Flint, a young man who has ‘bought’ her services. Neryn does everything she can to escape her captor but time and again they find themselves in each other’s company and it soon becomes clear that Flint is more than he seems, he may in fact prove to be an ally, something Neryn desperately needs.

The majority of this book is concerned with Neryn’s journey to Shadowfell, and the strange and mysterious beings she meets on the way will either be a help or a hindrance to her. Her biggest threat may be the human one though. King Keldec has nearly wiped out all those with magical abilities and he has his agents out searching for Neryn, wishing to exploit her unusual gifts.

Neryn cannot allow herself to fall into their hands as they will use her abilities to destroy the little magic that is left in the world. Neryn finds herself being ‘tested’ and she will need to pass these tests in order to unlock her most unusual gifts.

Juliet Marillier’s lyrical prose was in full effect here. Shadowfell is not perhaps her strongest work yet it possesses all of her usual unique flair and charm. Neryn and Flint were likeable protagonists and the story and setting were fascinating. I adore reading historical fantasy works and Shadowfell is a prime example of this genre done right.

I was left however, left with the feeling of wanting more. I really enjoyed this book but if I had any criticism it would lie with the ending – it was a little anti-climatic. I know this is going to be a trilogy but I still felt as if the book ended quite suddenly and I wanted to keep reading! I shall be waiting (im)patiently for the next book in the series. I cannot wait to see what is in store for Neryn and Flint.

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