The Double Shadow
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The Double Shadow

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  153 ratings  ·  24 reviews
A girl tries to free herself from the terrifying double shadow of her childhood and forge her own future, but she is trapped in a memory machine created by her father.
Paperback, 356 pages
Published November 3rd 2011 by Orion (first published November 1st 2011)
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Serendipity Reviews
This book really took me by surprise. I didn't realise I would love it quite as much as I did. From the very first chapter, I felt my spine tingling as the picture palace came to life and became a character in its own right. I wanted to follow Amaryllis into the picture house too. From the beginning the picture palace, seemed so magical, like an extra from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is only as you progress through the story that you realise you have been wearing rose tinted glasses an...more
Lucy
The double shadow is very odd.
I love Sally Gardner, she is one of my favourite authors and I have read all of her books, but this is my least favourite.
The story is set just before the second world war and is from the perspective of Ezra Pascoe, who is a working class boy. He ends up going with his mother to work at the Rubens house where he has to play with Amaryllis Ruben, which is sort of like Pip with Estella in great expectations. Anyway Amaryllis's father builds a memory machine and sends...more
LH Johnson
This book is a uniquely challenging enigma to review,possessing of both heart-breaking beauty and ferociously complex and dense text. It is a book of two halves and I think, a book that doesn't really start with page 1 nor end with page 384. It is a book that I would describe as avant-garde both structurally and textually. It is, as you may gather, a rather complicated experience.

The Double Shadow is the story of Amaryllis Reuben and how her father has built a machine, for her, that also possess...more
Belle
The Double Shadow is about memory: the way it shapes you, makes you and sometimes breaks you. It follows the lives of two families in the lead up to World War II, each haunted by memory in different ways. The Rubens are rich but miserable, thanks largely to Arnold Ruben's overpowering obsession with creating a memory machine, a device that will allow the user to wipe away bad memories and live forever in happy ones. His daughter, Amaryllis, is deeply affected by the fact that she herself has no...more
Teresa
"The Double Shadow" is Sally Gardner's latest novel, targeted at older teens and one of the first releases from Orion's new young adult imprint, Indigo. I've read and loved most of Sally's previous books including the excellent "I, Coriander" and "The Silver Blade" as well as her wonderful books for younger children which are reread frequently in our household. This novel is a new venture for Sally as it is aimed at an older age group and is, in the author's own words, " a family sci-fi saga".

Ou...more
Beth Kemp
Beautiful, haunting and evocative, this is a real book to lose yourself in. Recommended for teens upwards.
This novel is extraordinary. Lyrical, elusive and utterly compelling, it draws you and hooks you long before you have any real sense of exactly what is happening.

When I first read the info about this book, it made me think of Angela Carter - probably because of the surreal machine plan and the uncanny double idea hinted at in the title. That comparison was borne out in the reading, due to th...more
Misty
You know when you agree to review a book you wouldn't normally read, then you get worried starting it that you'll hate it and have to go back and say you couldn't read it? Yeah, I got a little case of that when I started this, I feel silly now though! Literally within a few pages I was engaged in the book, before I knew it I was 130 pages in and it was 2am! I really was swept into the book and had no trouble getting into the era it was set into or getting used to the way the characters talked. I...more
Mieneke
What intrigued me about this book was it's connections to Eliot's The Wasteland, which I read at university. I found it fascinating and I wondered about its echoes in The Double Shadow. While there are some literal references – Amaryllis calls the place outside in the picture palace the wasteland – other references are less literal but still recognisable, such as death by drowning, rape, the transience of memories, life and love and the repercussions of trauma. And those are just the things I pi...more
Kirsty (overflowing library)
I've just finished The Double Shadow and have been left with this feeling that I've read a very clever book but yet I can't quite put into words how I feel about it and it might be one of those that I have to keep thinking about for a while.

For me this book had two parts. During the first part the reader meets Amaryllis a lonely teenage girl who lives in a creepy old house with her father. She is on the brink of being chucked out of her latest school and quite confused in herself as she is unabl...more
Annie
I’ve loved Sally Gardner’s books for a younger audience – I Coriander, The Red Necklace and The Silver Blade – but I really struggled with the first 80 or so pages of this one aimed firmly at the older YA market. Generally unlikeable characters, a rather plodding style, and I was on the verge of throwing the towel in. But then the memory machine made its appearance, and the whole book soared. Others have said how this book is all about relationships, and it really is – not only the love affair b...more
Kulsuma
The Double Shadow is the perfect mix of magic, mystery and adventure against the backdrop of World War II. Amaryllis Ruben is a troubled seventeen year old who has been expelled from one too many boarding schools. Though she hates it, Amaryllis has no choice but to return home to her distant father. Amaryllis can’t remember much of her childhood and her father with whom she was supposedly once very close with which leads to her anger and frustration.

Her father, Arnold Ruben, has created a memory...more
Tom Easton
I'm deeply impressed with Sally Gardner's prose, particularly as I recently learned she's dyslexic. I read Maggot Moon recently and was blown away, reading it in two sittings.

I didn't find The Double Shadow quite as gripping, hence just 4 stars but I think it's a very clever book and a wonderfully original idea.

Amaryllis is a young woman born into great wealth who nonetheless knows nothing but tragedy and pain as a young girl. Though initially proud and full of love for her father, This changes...more
SJH (A Dream of Books)
I'd previously read and enjoyed Sally Gardner's two historical novels, 'The Red Necklace' and 'The Silver Blade', so had been looking forward to her new offering immensely. This book is very different to anything else she's written but in a good way. Trust me, in a really good way! I enjoyed it so much that even after having finished reading it over a week ago, I still can't stop thinking about it. The plot is so detailed and complex that you'll want to pick it up and re-read it again as soon as...more
Smithjamest
The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner is a epic-ally brilliant book. It's as good as her other three, I Coriander, The Red Necklace and the Silver Blade (which I'm staring at as I write this!). A mish mash of detective, romance and thriller this book is beautifully written. Gardner's details and descriptions are gripping and vivid. It was a real joy to read. I was honestly enthralled by the first chapter.

It's set before and during the Second World War, but don't worry it's not really about the war,...more
Zarina
It's 1937 when we first meet Amaryllis Ruben; a troubled teenager that runs away from school and endures something terrible before she's kicked out. As her father comes to take her home the reader starts to sense there is more to the rebellious act Amaryllis puts up. The distance she keeps between herself and her father isn't perhaps all due to the stage in her life she's in.

Amaryllis at first comes across as a cold and often cruel character, particularly to those trying to get closer to her (M...more
Cicely
I read this book whilst ill with a fever and as I have not re-read it since I am not sure whether 'the double shadow' was indeed a very odd book or whether my fever made it seem so.
Claire Meadows
Disconnected, overly complicated - I didn't make it to the end. A waste of a wonderful range of characters - I adored Amaryllis Ruben and would have liked to see the energy behind these characters diverted into a different story.
Kathryn
Erratic and disorientating, with large gaps in explanation I thought. As a result, I didn't enjoy it that much, although I liked some of the characters.
Juwi
ah i love Sally Gardner and her books always amaze me. so beautifully written and an intriguing idea. a memory machine but you can relive the best and worst memories.

it kind of reminded me of frankenstein because of the idea of creating something new and the power of science etc.

her imagination is incredible, the writing is beautiful and the story is fantastic.
i don't often say this but i think this would translate into a really awesome movie. it's really quite haunting and not for younger re...more
Tjala
Feb 21, 2012 Tjala rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tjala by: michelle
beautiful, if not slightly complex, this is one of the books you want to read again and again. sally gardner has yet again achieved another masterpiece, crafted an amazing story world on paper. i love all the characters, stone cold amaryliss, and Ezra, as well as Arnopld who only wants whats best. he achieves this through a memory machine, to keep amaryliis at 17 forever, what he doesnt knoe is that Ezra will do anything to ghet her out, even if it means destroying his creation...
Dan (aka Utterbiblio)
I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so torn when reading a novel. The first half of the book was disappointing for me, yet the second half was spellbinding. Would I recommend it? I would, if not for the quality of the writing but because others may warm to the characters and plot more than I and enjoy it more so. A book that suffers at times but equally excels and has left me wanting to read more of Gardner’s work in the future.
Jenni
I couldn't make my mind up about this book for quite a while, I was enjoying it but was confused by one of the plotlines. All of a sudden a couple of pieces of the story fell into place for me and then I couldn't read it fast enough. Think this is definitely one for older YA readers.
Ben Payne
Gardner writes very well. I found the prose really nice and she captures some of the moments in the novel really nicely. However I didn't find there was much of a through line and I kind of lost interest.
jo mo
2.75/5

the 1/4 really impressed me, thought for sure that it's gonna end up a 4-star rated book but right then it stagnated and went south.
Annie
Annie marked it as to-read
Jul 24, 2014
Catherine Harnden Howell
Catherine Harnden Howell marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2014
Natasha
Natasha marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2014
Ksenia
Ksenia marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2014
Margaret
Margaret marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2014
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Book Giveaways: UK giveaway: The Double Shadow 1 5 Nov 18, 2011 04:24AM  
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Sally Gardner grew up and still lives in London. Being dyslexic, she did not learn to read or write until she was fourteen and had been thrown out of several schools, labeled unteachable, and sent to a school for maladjusted children. Despite this, she gained a degree with highest honors at a leading London art college, followed by a scholarship to a theater school, and then went on to become a ve...more
More about Sally Gardner...
The Red Necklace (French Revolution, #1) I, Coriander Maggot Moon The Silver Blade (French Revolution, #2) Tinder

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