Saturday, September 8, 2012


Author: Juliet Marillier
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: September 11, 2012

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.
(Synopsis from Goodreads)

Shadowfell suffers from slow start syndrome. It took me three months to finish reading it. I am disappointed it was so hard to get through, because I enjoyed the world building and the idea of magical folk lurking just beyond sight. The reason I had such trouble with it was because more than half of the story was spent following Neryn's plodding journey. It was a lot of walking and struggling over difficult terrain without much excitement. She was running from the Enforcers who are out to bring her to King Keldec and turn her into a weapon, but she never got caught and really wasn't in danger at all.

Her relationship with Flint, the stranger who rescues her and helps her on her journey, was the focus of much of the story, but I think it would have been stronger if there had been more danger and action along the journey. They did a lot of walking and talking, and Neryn did a lot of doubting his intentions, and this just didn't hold my interest.

However, at the end of the novel it does start to get interesting. A battle occurs. Neryn is put in danger. Conflicts arise. I zoomed through the last twenty percent of the story right to the end when I had given up hope of being interested. Now I think I might pick up the next book in the series with the hopes that the pace will pick up where it left off, because it does have potential. Fingers crossed for a more exciting sequel.


  1. "No one will be admitted during the walking and struggling over difficult terrain scenes."
    Sorry, little MST3K humor for you.

    1. haha! Who doesn't like some good MST3K humour :)

  2. This sounds very similar to the previous Marillier novel I read, Heart's Blood. Slow to start but gradually built up to a pretty exciting ending. I hope the sequel runs a little better for you :)

    Jamie @ Mithril Wisdom

    1. That is interesting. It's the first book by her I've read.