Sara Nia (Tea and Parchment)'s Reviews > Shadowcry

Shadowcry by Jenna Burtenshaw
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Aug 09, 12

bookshelves: books-i-own, cover-appeal, supernatural-paranormal, ya-fiction
Read from August 05 to 07, 2012

There was something about this novel - something that I can't quite pinpoint, even as I write this review, that made me finish it in one sitting. Some indefinable quality about this high fantasy story drew me instantaneously into its world, and kept me there until the end. "Then, why give it only three stars instead of four or five?" I hear you ask. I don't know. I can't tell you. But I did. And that was almost my biggest problem with this book.

It's a fairly interesting (if not massively original) premise. In a world where the 'Skilled' are becoming more and more rare, they are a commodity that makes them both a powerful yet hunted people. Kate is one of these rarities. On the island of Albion, (not sure how I felt about this detail - historical/mythical references aside, does anyone play Fable on Xbox? Anyone??) where towns through the ages have been harvested for by the wardens, attempting to locate the remaining 'Skilled' and enslave them, Kate must escape the capture of Silas Dane - the deadliest and most feared warden of them all. But Silas Dane has his own ghosts to escape, and his own debt to settle. And how do both of their stories intertwine with the magical book of 'Wintercraft', that teaches the reader to master the intricacies of 'the Veil'(the land of the dead) and it's inhabitants?

I disliked how quickly we discovered Kate's skills (as did Kate, herself). The beginning felt very 'layed-out'. I soon got over it though, and the rest of the story was quite intriguing. My favorite character by far was Silas, even though, upon reflection, I can't give a good reason why. Sort of like the whole book really. I'm not quite sure why I feel the way I do about it. I just do. But I thought Silas was the strongest, most believable, most flawed yet fascinating character in the story, even though he was...well, kind of evil. I am excited to see his story develop in the sequels. I also hope that a romance will develop between Kate and Silas (not Edgar, please not Edgar), because I think that would be such an interesting love story to explore. I was only a little disappointed that there was no real hint of this as a possibility in 'Shadowcry'. Oh, and talking of the title - it sucks. OK, so the title itself doesn't suck, and it's not TOTALLY disparate from the story itself, but I think that the British title 'Wintercraft' is far more fitting. I do love the cover though. Very dark fantasy, minus the cheese-factor that irritates me about a lot of fantasy cover art.

A well written and conceptually interesting novel. Although I did read this entire book with the unspoken assumption that this was Burtenshaw's debut novel. Not that it was badly written - it wasn't - but I somehow instinctively knew it. I look forward to the development the next installment brings, both in plot, characters, and writing style.
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08/06/2012 page 31
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