Fans of Serafina and the Black Cloak and The Night Gardener will devour Shadow Weaver, the first in a dark middle-grade fantasy duology that's filled with shadows, danger, magic, and has the feel of a new classic.
Emmeline's gift of controlling shadows has isolated her from the rest of the world, but she's grown to be content, hidden away in her mansion with Dar, her own shadow, as her only company.
Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble's mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.
With the noble's guards on her trail, Emmeline's only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline's not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it's hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.
MarcyKate Connolly is a New York Times bestselling children’s book author who lives in New England with her family and short-nosed dogs. She graduated from Hampshire College (a magical place where they don’t give you grades) where she wrote an opera sequel to Hamlet as the equivalent of a senior thesis. It was also there that she first fell in love with plotting and has been dreaming up new ways to make life difficult for her characters ever since. You can visit her online at www.marcykate.com.
Shadow Weaver is a middle-grade fantasy with a gripping plot that reads like a fairy tale. The main character in the book is Emmeline, a 12-year-old girl who has a magical ability to mold shadows into different forms and manipulate them. She uses these shadows in different ways, but the most important shadow is her best friend Dar.
Emmeline is hidden away from the outside world for multiple events that have occured in the past, including a devastating accident with a little girl she was once friends with. Her parents won’t let her have a normal life because of the danger she poses to society. They’ve lost patience with her and all she has now is Dar, her shadow who is always there. Dar has been connected to Emmeline since she was born and they are the best of friends. Dar loves Emmeline and will do whatever she can to protect her.
“Emmeline, we ought to run off and play in the woods. I can hide you so that they never find you…”
When a noble family comes to visit Emmeline’s parents to discuss a treaty, Emmeline can’t help but wonder what they’re really doing there. Something doesn’t seem right and she begins to feel unsafe. It appears they’ve come to take her away and rid her of her magic. Dar is willing to help her, but only if Emmeline will do something for her in return–something that could change their friendship forever.
“I can help you, Emmeline. I can ensure you will never have to go anywhere with that man. But you must agree to help me in return.”
Once the story took off there was no telling what the outcome would be and the suspense with Dar was gripping. I loved that tension and curiosity with trying to figure out Dar and what her intentions were. Is she good or is she evil? Emmeline starts to question her and begins to lose trust, but she’s very unsure and wants to give her the benefit of the doubt. She learns life lessons about honesty and the true meaning of friendship. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the secondary characters as they entered the story or the direction everything was going, but it came together well with just enough magic to keep me engaged until the end. For a middle-grade book, I’d say this met my expectations, but I wanted to feel more for all the characters which was pretty much lacking throughout.
I read this with two of my younger children and even though I enjoyed it, they sort of lost interest a third of the way through and it became more of a chore to read. I personally thought the plot was very unique and interesting, but I think the issue with my younger readers was the pacing as it was slow at times and really didn’t pick up until the second half. Also, when we read the details about this book, the lower end of the recommended reading level was third grade (which is where my two younger children are with their reading level now) so I might recommend this for fourth or fifth grade and up depending on your child’s interest and reading capabilities. In my opinion, 320 pages is a lot for a child who is still reading chapter books like Captain Underpants or Beverly Cleary. Obviously, this is a a book that some adults will enjoy as well.
Overall, I’m glad we bought this for our home library. I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen in the next book, Comet Rising. 4-stars
Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly is a fantasy kids book that is absolutely thrilling. Emmeline can control her shadows and she has a companion, her own shadow, Dar. She talks to Dar and Dar talks to her. Dar plays tricks on people which gets Emmeline in trouble and shunned. People are afraid of Emmeline. Then some people want to take Emmeline away, she and Dar run away...I can't spoil it but there is more to her life then she knew, and she just made it worst for everyone on her trip. Very exciting, mysterious, a little suspense-filled in spots, and great fantasy. Great imagination at work! Thanks NetGalley for letting me read this awesome book.
This book of MarcyKate Connolly is a fantasy fiction novel that tells about the story of Emmeline, one of the lucky people who was bestowed by the Cerelia Comet to possessed a magical power within them. She can mold shadows around her into anything she would like it to appear, thus she's called a shadow weaver; a certain shadow also always accompanies her and its name is Dar.
Emmeline was born and grew up with Dar who is always beside her; she treats it like as her only friend because her parents and the people within their estates avoid and fear her because of her power. Because of certain events, Emmeline and Dar decided to run away from home to avoid the soldiers who want to capture them. Along the way, they met Lucas, a boy who possessed the light magic, and his family; Emmeline was welcomed into their cottage and through her stay, she learned a lot on why they were being pursued by the soldiers and who is behind it.
This first book in the series is a little bit short, so anyone could be able to finish reading this within a day or two. In spite of that, it has a riveting story that will make readers look forward to what will be happened to Emmeline. I know that it will be quite a while before the second installment will be released, but I'm already excited about how will they defeat the villain.
I received this E-ARC via the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I saw this book on Netgalley one day and decided to request it. I enjoy Middle Grade and thought it would be right up my alley. Unfortunately it wasn't for me.
Something about this read very shallow. The writing style wasn't any good. And the main character was really annoying me.
As this was a personal thing I still recommend. Others might enjoy this.
Children have always been fascinated by their own shadows. When I was young I made shadow puppets on the walls of my bedroom. My teenage friend, Paulette, invited me to spend the night at her house once, and the full moon came streaming into her bedroom window, lighting the wall opposite it. Paulette positioned herself in front of the window and began to mimic Peter Pam’s climbing into a bedroom through the window. Like Peter Pam her body cast a shadow on the lighted wall. What an imaginative young woman Paulette was.
The writer of this book goes many steps further than Paulette, as she spins a tale about a girl named Emmeline, who could weave shadows into toys, bridges, and just about anything. She even wrapped them around her in order to hide from others when needed.
Her own shadow she called Dar. I couldn’t help but believe that Dar was short for Dark. I even began to think that Dar was not good for her, for Dar reminded me of our own shadow self, the part of us that we wish to hide, the part that is not so good at times but is mysteriously interesting. Her own parents didn’t care for this side of her either and had decided to send her away where she could get help, where she would lose her shadow self. She decided to run away instead and was hunted by men on horses.
This book was so enthralling that I couldn’t put it down. And I wondered if Emmeline would be able to continue to weave shadows or if she would be caught and her magic, along with part of her personality, would be taken away from her.
As I have aged I don’t really pay any attention to my own shadow. I don’t even make shadow puppets on the wall, but last night the light came into my window, and I looked at my shadow, and my legs were so mysteriously long that I laughed.
How delightful to have read a book that brings back memories and made me realize that there is an adult, the author, who still thinks of shadows and light and can weave them into a story for young teens that even draws in adult readers.
I wish to thank NetGalley for allowing me to read this book; otherwise, I would have never found it since I don’t search out this genre of books.
06-07-17: Pre-Read. More thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! The existing reviews have already gotten me super excited for this! *** First impression: Only a few chapters in, and I'm already enraptured by the authors lyrical prose quality, as well as being invested in both Emmeline & Dar already! *** 06-08-17: Full disclosure first… Thanks to Netgalley, as always, for the ARC, it’s most appreciated, but this in no way impacted my review in anyway.
As with most bibliophiles, I read A LOT of books, with my acknowledged specialty being the Fantasy/Horror/Fairy-Tale genres. And in most instances, it’s easy to tell within a few pages if the book will ultimately grab me or not. And I’m extremely pleased to say that with this upcoming title “ShadowWeaver” (the first in a series) by MarcyKate Connolly, that happened within the first few paragraphs!
The lyrical quality of the authors prose completely sucked me in from the opening paragraphs; coupled with an immediate vested interest in our focal characters Emmeline & Dar, I was able to push through this book in record time, quite unable to put it down!
What the author handles particularly expertly is capturing the mindset of Emmeline; I genuinely felt the “otherness” that was Emmeline, and her conflicted feeling over the Shadow-Powers she handled, and her relationship with her “other half” Dar. (Capturing this difficult aspect of moving from childhood to adulthood, and dealing with your own darker urges is crucial to the success of a middle-grade book or movie in this genre, and is something that was captured masterfully by books series like “Harry Potter” and films like “Frozen”. [In many ways, Emmeline reminded me of Elsa from that aforementioned movie, and I mean that in the best possible way.])
All that said, be aware that this book does not tread any particularly new ground if you know the genre; there wasn’t anything that particularly struck me an especially “New” or “Groundbreakingly Innovative, but I don’t view that as a drawback; on the contrary! It allows for a solid read that allows the author to focus on the characters and settings, and to play a bit with established tropes just enough to make them fresh and engaging.
A solid 4-star read, highly recommended for fans of middle-grade fiction, but especially those who enjoy the Fantasy/Fairy-tale oeuvre. I eagerly await the next volume!
When I first saw this book cover on NetGalley several months ago, I knew I simply had to get it. Much like the cover, Shadow Weaver is creepy, and eerie, and dark. Sadly, it was not enough to keep me hooked or make me love it.
While the story itself is interesting, I the writing style didn't fully do it for me. It seemed too simplistic at times, even for a middle-grade novel. There was something about it that never fully got me fall into the world of the story. It's a tale of magic and shadows and yet, the writing lacked some magic, at least, in my opinion.
Plotwise and characterwise, the book actually did very well. The plot was interesting and engaging, especially in the second half of the novel. I also really enjoyed the characters, especially Lucas whom I would like to see more from.
As for Emmeline, there were moments I liked her and moments I didn't. She was always lying and eavesdropping and whining about one thing or another. Her thoughts were also a bit repetitive at times, which I guess ties back in with the writing style. Lastly, it was frustrating to see how blindly Emmeline trusted her shadow, Dar, and how oblivious she was to its dark nature, despite all the signs.
Still, in the end, I actually liked reading through her adventure and watching her come into her own.
The book is a battle between light and dark, and dealing with our own shadows and it displays this very clearly and very well. Despite my problems with it, I highly recommend it. I have doubt that had I read it at a younger age, I would have probably loved it.
**I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**
* I received this as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review*
I have to say I was really surprised with this book. I though it was going to be an okay read, but I loved it. The last half of the book is amazing! Plus a plot twist I didn't even see coming. We have the main character Emmeline who has special powers to manipulate the shadows. Her parents are afraid of her and want her "cured", from there everything spirals out. I really enjoyed this book and I'm excited for the next one!
4 Stars! Emmeline's best friend is her shadow, Dar, and, actually, her only friend. In the book, a handful of children are blessed with magic talents every 25 years when a comet passes over. Those that can do magic are often viewed with fear. Emmeline's parents want to send her away to "cure" her of magic. Her gift is controlling shadows. To prevent her parents from sending her away, Emmeline strikes a deal with Dar, which will make her human again. Will it work??
Read on to see! I really enjoyed this little treasure. Emmeline and Dar are great characters. Once they run away to escape a certain punishment...We meet a few others. Lucas, who Emmeline is immediately drawn to, even tho his talent is the opposite of her own.
The book opens up a great discussion for parents or teachers to talk about fear with students. I honestly can't wait to use this book with my class. There is another part where Emmeline has to perform some difficult tasks so that she can collect the ingredients for a ritual she has to perform to make Dar human again. She is uncomfortable with some of these. So,I love her courage and tenacity. Again...another place for educators to open up a discussion about possibly getting out of one's comfort zone.
Many, many thanks goes to Sourcebooks Jabberwocky via NetGalley for an ARC to review. And thanks to the author MarcyKate Connolly. Highly recommended!
Reading this book for the second time made me like it better. And I am so very happy about that. I adore MarcyKate. She is amazing. And I have enjoyed all her books so far. Simply can't wait to read more by her. When I first read this book a year and a half ago, it was a three star for me. This time, it is a four star.
I'm so thrilled that I decided to re-read Shadow Weaver before reading the second book. As there were things I had forgotten. And I'm so happy that I ended up liking the book even more this second time. I had some issues with connecting to a few things, but this time I loved so much of it much more. Thrilled about it.
This book tells the story of twelve year old Emmeline. She has magic in her. She can shadow weave. Making shadows move, and talk to her own shadow. There is a story about why she has magic, along with other children born the same year she was. I found that to be all kinds of interesting and I so wanted to know more. Emmeline has lived with her parents since she was born. A house full of servants. Her whole life she has been all alone. Her parents fear her, the servants do too. No one cares for her. And that broke my heart so very much. I felt so badly for Emmeline. And I simply loved reading about her and getting to know her. She was a little innocent and naive, but with good reason. She makes some bad choices, but I still adored her so much.
Although no one living cares for her, and she has had no real friends, there is one person that she has always been with. Her shadow, Dar. Whom she has talked to since she was born. They are best friends. At least, Emmeline thinks so. Dar changes a lot in this book, and Emmeline is not so sure anymore that she is the kind shadow she has known her whole life. Reading about Emmeline and Dar together was pretty interesting. Dar is everything Emmeline has ever known, until now. Such a complicated friendship.
This book is about Emmeline and her magic. How people fear her because of it. Some of the fear is for good reason. But Emmeline did not deserve to be treated the way she did for all those years. It breaks my heart that no one took care of her, that no one loved her. She deserved so much more. Her parents are planning on sending her away. To have her be cured of her magic, for her magic to be taken away from her. Emmeline does not want this. And Dar says she can help her, for a price. It does not go well.
And so Emmeline has to run away. She is only on the run for a day before she runs into someone else with magic. Lucas. Whom was the cutest boy and I loved him beyond words. Sigh. He has the magic of the sun. And it was so awesome to read about. I loved reading about their powers together, what they could do together. And reading about their growing friendship and how his parents cared for him. It was amazing. But gosh, Emmeline kept so many secrets from them. Which was not okay. But I still loved her.
There is so much going on in this book. It's easy and fast to read, which I loved. The writing was a little bit awkward at times, but not bad. I loved it a whole lot more this second time. And I cared for Emmeline so much. I loved reading her story. And her friendship with Lucas. It was the cutest. The story is a bit creepy and so awesome. I shall not share more about it, just that it was interesting and different and pretty great. I'm so very excited to read the next book, which is also the final one. Must know everything that happens.
I'm not sharing too much about this book this time. Only that this second read was all kinds of amazing. And I enjoyed Shadow Weaver very much. It was a fast and stunning and exciting adventure. I adored Emmeline and Lucas so very much and I cannot wait to read more about them in Comet Rising. If you have not read this gorgeous middle grade book yet, then you really must do so. Because it is awesome. And it's a book that I think everyone should read. As is every book by MarcyKate Connolly. Go buy them.
I just finished Shadow Weaver by Marcykate Connolly and it was such a quick, cute book. The twists and turns in this book have me wanting more. I can(and will) easily recommend it to anyone of any age looking for a short yet wonderful read. MarcyKate weaves a wonderful tale in just 163 pages, her writing strong and characters realistic, The book leaves on a cliffhanger and I hope the publisher picks up the next book.
The characters Emmeline is a really nice character and her voice, like the other characters, is strong. Each character stands out on the page and I wish I could read just a bit more of them. I love how she and Lucas have a strong bond together and easily become friends. Lucas is another favorite character of mine, he is so happy and bursting with light(see what I did there?). While I can’t say each character is complex(I don’t have enough material to really go into their character), I can say they are all different from each other and none of their voices blend together. 9/10
The Plot The story is about a young girl name Emmeline who has been blessed by a special comet that comes around every 25 years and gives babies powers. Emmeline is a Shadow Weaver, meaning she can control shadows, talk, and play with them. Her family and servants fear her and hate her powers. When a woman comes to her home, telling her parent she can “cure” Emmeline of her powers, her parents agree to send her to this woman. Emmeline does not like this and runs away, found by a boy who has been blessed with powers as well. The story follows Emmeline as she realizes her true friends and tries to hide from the woman trying to take her away. The book is quick, but that doesn’t mean it won’t satisfy you. 10/10
The Writing I love the writing of this book, it’s descriptive but not purple prose. It’s perfect and fits very well for this book. MarcyKate knows how to write, that’s for sure!
Final Rating 10/10 I’m excited for the next book(if the author chooses to write one) and sincerely hope Shadow Weaver the best in the book world. I can’t wait to see it in libraries and bookstores.
Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks for giving me this opportunity to read this book!
Thank you, Sourcebooks and Edelweiss for an ARC of this book. I found Emmeline to be really stuck in many difficult situations for her age and that made me more sympathetic toward her. Also, there are growing suspicions about her shadow, Dar, and how much she contributes to Emmeline's woes or is a source of help and comfort as she claims to be. Ultimately this is a book about loyalty and faithfulness. It will be interesting to see what direction Connolly takes this series. Recommended for older middle grade readers.
Sadly, Shadow Weaver didn’t live up to my expectations. I was bored to the point where it took me nearly a week to read this 300-page Middle Grade novel. Half the time I just didn’t care to pick up the book. While the world and magical abilities were intriguing, the characters weren’t all that memorable and I don’t feel invested enough to check out the sequel.
Shadow Weaver, by MarcyKate Connolly, a fantasy for middle-grade readers that reads like a deliciously dark fairytale. Spinning a web around her readers just as protagonist Emmeline crafts her shadows, Connolly has created a world where darkness shines and light is hidden, along with secrets that make the truth hard to distinguish from lies. At the heart of this tale is Emmeline's ever-evolving sense of self and her connections, both good and bad, with others.
Emmeline lives in a castle that is remote; her parents have hidden her from society because of her special talent: shadow weaving. We meet her where she has alway felt most at home, in the woods, playing with her shadow, Dar. Dar has long been Emmeline's best - and nearly only - friend. But when visitors come to the castle promising Emmeline's parents a "cure" for her talent, that friendship is threatened. Rather than be sent away, Dar convinces Emmeline to run away into the woods. But what they find in the woods is more than the comforting darkness. They find that there is light there, too, and Emmeline begins to doubt whether everything Dar has told her is the truth. But her love and loyalty for her best shadow friend is strong, and guides her towards a decision that will change everything.
The strengths of this story are many, with characters whose voices are strong or gentle, soft or harsh, immediately recognizable for their goodness or their flaws. Readers are challenged to question whom or what they believe, and friendship is tested in this fantasy just as it is in real life. Goodness and light are combined with evil and darkness in a way that make both equally compelling, and there are times when the language of each have the beauty of poetry.
Shadow Weaver is the first book in a duology, and the ending promises that Emmeline's journey will continue. With gorgeous prose, characters sparkling with life and deliciously dark adventure sprinkled with light, I inhaled this story in what felt like a single breath. For fans of fantasy and dark fairytales (whether kids or big kids like myself) this tale is a must read. Read it on a dark night under the stars, and I promise you'll shiver with fear and delight.
*I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I quite enjoyed this book. It was a little juvenile at times, and some of the main plot points are quite obvious, and when the big "turnaround" comes about at the end, it is no shock because it was quite predictable.
However, despite those flaws, the book was a lot of fun to read. The basic premise is that there are people in the world who have been blessed with special powers by a magical comet that only flies by once every generation. One of these people is a young girl who was blessed with the power to "weave shadows." She can take shadows from anywhere and mold them into anything she chooses -- play things, animals, tools, etc. Only, her parents do not see her "gift" as a blessing or a gift. They see it as a curse.
Enter the evil baddie who, for reasons I will not name due to spoilers, is "collecting" these children under the guise of "healing them" of their abilities. The parents of this young Shadowweaver, Emmaline, turn to these "healers" to "fix" their daughter. She, however, does not want to lose her abilities so she runs away from home. She finds another family to take her in; this family has a son who has the ability to "sing light". The family is good to her and takes her in with kindness and love -- the first she's seen in her entire life -- but she is being a little less than honest with them. Unlike other people with abilities, she has a special secret -- her shadow is actually alive. It talks to her and has been her best friend for as long as she's been old enough to have friends, and her shadow wants to become a real girl again. There is a ritual that can make that happen, but in order to perform it, Emmaline has to do things she is not always comfortable with doing.
I don't want to go on much more because I don't want to spoil anything, but the book is, overall, quite good, and I highly recommend it to those who love young adult or fantasy novels. It is full of beautiful imagery, a good storyline, and interesting, relatable characters.
I started this book about year ago now, read half of it then stopped. In an effort to work through some of the books that I have half finished, I picked this one up again and finished it in just a few hours.
I have to say, I really enjoyed this one. Seeing the pain that little Emmaline held in, watching her shadow tear her apart little by little, it truly made my heart happy to see her friendship with Lucas grow. I am glad that in the end, she went back for him and together they had the strength to face her demon.
Sometimes all you need is a little bit of light to find your strength. I was so happy to see that there will be another book coming out next year! I'll be waiting :)
Middle grade is a genre I've found myself drifting away from. But some of my all-time favorites fall in this category, and since I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from MarcyKate Connolly, I decided to revisit. First of all, I've got to say, SHADOW WEAVER has one of the most stunning covers I've seen in a while. The plot sounded fantastically creepy, and the first paragraph gave me shivers. I mean...
I did not reach for my mother like instinct should have instructed me. Instead, I held out my tiny arms and smiled at the shadow in the corner of my room. And it smiled back.
YES. I loved the characters of Emmeline and Dar. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast felt rather dull and lifeless. Much of the book was like that: there were beautiful images scattered throughout, but the setting was overall quite generic. There were periods of high intensity, but also long periods where I lost interest. The writing was good, but not enveloping. And though I understand that this is middle grade and rules can be bent, I found a few logic holes in the plot itself. It's not one I think I'll be putting on my favorites shelf, but bear in mind, I'm not the intended audience here. It's a promising start to a middle grade duology with plenty of darkness and magic and intrigue that younger readers should enjoy.
I took one look at this book and instantly wanted to grab it. Whoever worked on the cover art did a marvelous job!
Shadow Weaver made me curious from start to finish. Emmeline’s life and her story had me hooked and invested. I'm glad that this is a series because I really do want to know what is going to happen next. This book would be very suitable for a book club. It's interesting and filled with elements that speak to its target audience. I know for a fact, that if I were to read this at a younger age, I would love it.
Every 25 years a comet passes over and grants select unborn children incredible powers. Emmeline is one such child, able to weave shadows into any shape possible. Emmeline's shadow, Dar, is also alive, an Dar is Emmeline's best friend. Em's powers cause fear and distrust to bloom in all of her friends and family, and her parents eventually seek a cure. Emmeline and Dar run away from home, but Dar begins to grow secretive and Emmeline must wonder if she can truly trust her only friend.
This was a wonderful children's novel, and I experienced much anxiety and suspense as the story barreled quickly along. Full of memorable characters, anguishing realizations, and powerful children, this was a story I am very glad I was able to read. This is the first start of a new series, and I will be highly anticipating the rest of the novels.
Thank you, Netgalley, for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.
This is a good read overall, and I know several of the kids that frequent my library that will enjoy the spooky edge this story has. But I also had some small issues with it, too, hence the three star rating. I don't want to go into details because I don't want to give away spoilers, but I just have issues with most of the adults in this story. But I also understand some of why they do what they do/come across the way that they do. Still, the setting and Emmeline's abilities are fascinating to read, and I'm anxious to see what the sequel has in store for all involved.
I received and ARC of this story and loved it from start to finish. Connolly has done it again with this story. Emmeline is a great character that really demonstrates what it is like for kids that grow up different and struggle to make friends. While set in a world of fantasy and Magic like Connolly's past books (which I highly recommend, and my students love) Shadow Weaver establishes new lore and and world with infinite potential for more stories. I would highly recommend this book to any classroom library.
I cannot wait to share this one with the 4th and 5th graders at various elementary schools we visit each month. They are absolutely going to go wild for this one! I thought the plot was well thought out. I had wished there had been some more world-building, since the characters seem to live in a totally different time. I also loved how spooky and creepy Emmaline's voice was at the beginning of the story, but that ghoulishness seemed to diminish throughout. Overall, I was very captivated and thought this one was a page turner. It is sure to be a hit with our patrons!
I went into this having no semblance of the plot and I was stunned at the twists!! Not what I was expecting at all! I think it's a wonderful concept, though I don't feel it was executed very well- I feel like the talents ought to have some kinds rules to it, or some kind of structure? I definitely feel like something was missing there. Additionally, you could buy your lunch off earning a penny each time the words "estate" "cloak" and "incident" were said, which was rather annoying, having so much reptitive language. BUT all in all, a very fun children's book, definitely something I would have loved as a child. Wonderful plot with amazing twists!
A good mg read, had scary elements of "kid horror books" involved and the plot that could have been darker but good overall. Read this book in one single go. Reminded me of Neil's Coroline a bit and did like the world. There was several things in here I didn't really expect happened. I hope I can get my hands on it's continuation A comet giving magical powers also appears in the amazing novelette "The unlicensed magican" who I really can recommend.
The first time my shadow spoke to me I was a mere infant in the cradle. They say on the night I was born that even the stars fled the sky and the moon hid under a dark cloak. That I was a quiet thing, with a shock of black hair and eyes like glittering onyx. I did not scream like other newborn children. And I did not reach for my mother like instinct should have instructed me.
Instead, I held out my tiny arms and smiled at the shadow in the corner of the room.
And it smiled back.
Didn't know what to expect going into this, but so glad I requested it on Netgalley - a really solid middle-grade adventure. I will be buying my own copy, reading it to my class and can' wait until the second part of this duology. This reads like a future classic and I can see it being very popular with children aged 7+ who have also enjoyed stories such as The Worst Witch, or for slightly older readers who have enjoyed the creepieness of Coraline.
I found myself drawn in immediately and could really relate to Emmeline and her isolation - she sees her magic as something beautiful but those around her are frightened by it. As the reader, we also have a faint thread of unease running through the text as Emmeline's shadow appears in mysterious places and, almost, seems to have a mind of its own...
The sense of menace deepens when some of Emmeline's shadow play goes wrong and the arrival of some visitors who say they can help her with her 'problem'.
Read on and enjoy - highly recommended book!
With so few people around with magic talents, you'd think they'd want to show me off. But they don't see how wonderful the shadows are, the beauty in the darkness, not like I do.
Only Dar understands me.
She squeezes my ankle like she knows my thoughts. You're not crazy and you;re not an embarrassment; you're a gift. Someday we'll prove it to them.
What I liked: Emmeline's character, the storyline and world-building which hint at so much more going on behind the scenes, the mystery about Dar and the people Emmeline meets on her journey.
Even better if: I want Part 2 of this duology now!
How you could use it in your classroom: This would make an interesting read-aloud for upper primary school or a recommendation for those who have already enjoyed books such as Coraline and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It could also spark a discussion about the attitude towards people who are different - how would you feel if your friend or family member had magic? Would you treat them differently? Would the world be better with magic or not? Another interesting discussion could be looking at the unintended consequences of Emmeline's actions - this links back to old fairytales where wishes often go wrong in unforeseen ways. Is there something you have done which hasn't worked out as planned? How do you handle it?
(Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for my e-ARC)
Let me begin by saying that while I gave this book a lower rating, this was engrossing and a really fast read overall when I had time to devote to it. Shadow Weaver is a middle grade novel that can be read in a matter of a few hours, and I think it's a fairly decent read for October if you're looking for a book just on the gentler side of scary.
I will say that one thing I wasn't expecting this book to be was a fantasy novel. I had expected this story to be set in our modern world with more elements of urban fantasy or supernatural books, but roughly three chapters in proved that was not the case. The world of Shadow Weaver is entirely original, and just vaguely unsettling enough to stand apart from most other middle grade fantasy book worlds.
The story itself feels like it could have benefited from more world-building and exposition. I can understand why it wasn't; this present-tense narration is presented from a third-person limited viewpoint, following our main character Emmeline, and thus the reader has to follow along with her and is only exposed to what knowledge she has to start with and what she learns along the way. Adhering to the realistic limitations of a third-person narrative voice is a good thing, but I do feel like Emmeline spends so much time on introspection and doubting that it prevents the reader from learning much at all about the world. What exposure we get to potential world-building comes from (mostly negative) interactions with a couple of other characters that appear, and then those moments are usually timed to incite more internal panic in the main character, so we barely have time to absorb what we're learning before she's back to anxiety and doubt and trying to rationalize her actions to herself. Ultimately, this probably drags the pacing of the story more than it enhances or advances the plot.
The concept overall is interesting however, and as this is a duology, I am definitely interested in seeing how everything is concluded in the second book. I have hopes it might be more exciting than this one was. I've enjoyed Shadow Weaver, but with so much repetition in Emmeline's thoughts--and I'm not talking about her constant anxiety; I do mean several phrases, thoughts or sentences repeat constantly from chapter to chapter with nearly the exact same wording--and such a narrow focus, I had difficulty enjoying it as much as I would have liked to.