Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

From Goodreads: 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.

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Since I’ve never read Juliet Marillier’s adult fantasy novels but had heard good things about her work, I was curious to see what her newest YA novel, Shadowfell, would be like. The fantasy lover in me is always thrilled when I can find a new world that I can fully immerse myself in; and in that regard, Marillier delivers. However, Marillier’s mystical world full of magic and danger is unveiled agonizingly slowly as Neryn, the protagonist, journeys through Alban. As such, I’m pretty sure this book won’t appeal to everybody.

If you don’t mind a slow plot involving a lot of walking though, then I would recommend giving Shadowfell a try because not only does it have great worldbuilding, but it also has sensible characters. While I liked seeing Neryn grow and become more determined and self-confident, my favourite character was the mysterious and complex Flint who carries quite a burden. That said, I wish the characters could have been a bit more memorable since it felt like they lacked that little something extra.

A solid fantasy with a hint of romance; Shadowfell was released on September 11, 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers. 

Comments About the Cover: Although I like that you can tell that it’s the cover of a high fantasy novel, I feel like it’s sort of boring looking. I suppose that’s okay because of the way the novel is written – it’s probably better suited for older teens and adults. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Random House) for free via NetGalley.

11 comments:

  1. Already had this marked as TBR. ;) Although I've heard a lot about the slow pace and the non-memorable characters, I'm still interested with the Flint dude. He sounds like my type of character. ;)

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  2. Aha, I just posted my review for this one, as well. I agree about the pacing... it definitely wasn't the most exciting high fantasy I've read this year. But I was impressed with Juliet Marillier (this is my first read of hers, as well) and I look forward to reading more from her. I actually had no idea this was her YA debut! Interesting.

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  3. Well it seems like this picked up for you, I'm glad. I still don't know if it's one for me. Like I said, I have it for review, but I'm not looking forward to it.

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  4. Not too thrilled to hear about the slow pacing or the nonmemborable characters, but I did pick this one up for the same reasons. I've heard a lot about this author and wanted to give her book a shot. I think I'll lower this one on my tbr pile when I've got more time to read a book.

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  5. I agree! The cover doesn't really does anything for me. But, I do like the premise of this book. But, not so keen on the walking bit...running? Okay, but walking? Yeah, no.

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  6. I've been seeing this book everywhere lately! I've heard the world is amazing, but I've seen a few people now mention that it's a bit of a slow read. Sometimes I'm good with slow reads as long as I know in advance, so I'm thinking I'll be okay with this one. I'm curious about Flint too:)

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  7. Hmm... I can be a little impatient sometimes, but if I know that I can expect good things from a book, then I'm more than willing to wait it out. I'm glad you thought this was a solid read overall. Brilliant review! :)

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  8. I though the exact same thing about this one! I really loved the romance and Flint was SO swoon-worthy, but it was a tiny bit slow and Neryn grated on me a little with her naivety. Overall though, this was an awesome fantasy and I'm glad to see you enjoyed it! :) Wonderful review!

    ~Keertana
    Ivy Book Bindings

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  9. Everyone who's read this book seems to have similar feelings about this. While I know and love Juliet Marillier's writing (you MUST read her adult novels by the way, they are truly phenomenal!) slow pacing and endless walking isn't my cup of cocoa. Nicely reviewed. :)

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  10. I have this for review, I don't mind slow detailed world building so hopefully it will be an enjoyable read for me. Thanks for the informative review!

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  11. I started your review wondering why I've never heard of this author or this book, but then you mentioned high fantasy and I cringed because... I don't really read that genre. Weird thing is, I love watching movies based on high fantasy, I can't get enough of them, but reading them... OY! It's so difficult for me. I wish I had a better brain.

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