Beth's Reviews > House of Shadows

House of Shadows by Rachel Neumeier
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Sep 23, 12

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The first of the eight daughters mentioned in House of Shadows is Ananda. That joy in existence without which the universe will fall apart and collapse. Much like L'Engle's Ananda, though, Neumeier's drifts at the edge of the story as an observer.

There isn't much joy in House of Shadows, though. The novel centers on a political situation much like tangled, knotted threads. And despite the myriad of plot threads involved, the story surprisingly lacks complexity. The idea of bardic sorcery is beautiful but lost in the many metaphors of light and dark and shadow; along these same lines, the novel cannot juggle the many themes it introduces, and so the powerful ones are not given the time and space they deserve. Further, there is no emotional center to the books, perhaps a result of the rapid shifts in point of view, or perhaps due to the restraint required of the characters.

I don't think House of Shadows contains the depth to hook an emotional reader or the technical perfection to hook a detached reader, but it certainly is a story with a lot of sadly untapped potential. I don't regret reading it, because I think Neumeier is talented and I loved both The City in the Lake and The Floating Islands, but I do consider those two to be superior to this more flawed work.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Katie (new) - added it

Katie How did you find the portrayal of the sisters? This part in the description really intrigues me:

Sweet and proper, Karah's future seems secure at a glamorous Flower House. She could be pampered for the rest of her life... if she agrees to play their game.

Because it at least makes her sound like the kind of character I'd love to see more of in YA.

(I'm responding to your reviews right away this weekend, aren't? I do more than just refresh my GoodReads feed all day . . . I THINK.)

Beth Eh. The characterization is kind of flat, I think because nothing is given much time to develop. And I think the description is a bit misleading.

(Ha, yes. Don't worry about it :D)

message 3: by Katie (new) - added it

Katie HM. Well, none of my libraries seems to have it anyway. I do have The Floating Islands, though, so I'll have give that a try eventually.

Brandy Painter You know I almost put this one aside because I felt the same as you. Then I decided to pick it up again a few weeks later and ended up liking it a lot better. I do agree that there is a detachment from the characters but I still ended up loving Taudde and Leilis. I thought there was a lot about those two you could get from reading between the lines.

Beth It probably does warrant a reread, and I absolutely agree, Leilis was my favorite. I wish there had been more about her!

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