Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shadows on the Moon (The Moonlit Lands, #1)” as Want to Read:
Shadows on the Moon (The Moonlit Lands, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Shadows on the Moon

(The Moonlit Lands #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  4,129 ratings  ·  658 reviews
Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to recreate herself in any form - a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother's new husband, Lord Terayama, or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama's kitchens, or Yue, the ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published July 7th 2011 by Walker Books Ltd
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Shadows on the Moon, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Story Sorcery At the beginning of the book there is an author's note that says
"Although Shadows on the Moon uses many Chinese and Japanese terms, the story is set i…more
At the beginning of the book there is an author's note that says
"Although Shadows on the Moon uses many Chinese and Japanese terms, the story is set in a fantasy realm called the Moonlit Land, or Tsuki no Hikari no Kuni. Most of the details of this country are pure invention, and this book is not intended to represent a historically accurate picture of any Asian country at any point in history." Hope this helped. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,129 ratings  ·  658 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Shadows on the Moon (The Moonlit Lands, #1)
Emily May
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it

This is the story of an emotionally scarred girl who self harms to relieve some of the pain that comes with betrayal whilst on a journey across an AU Japan in search of revenge. Oh yeah, and she also has the power to weave shadow illusions... you know that thing you saw out of the corner of your eye, that thing that isn't there when you look properly - probably a shadow weaver at work. What more could you possibly want from a story?

Okay, what you could possibly want is about fifty pages cut
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Catie by: Jo
What if Cinderella were a mysteriously gifted and emotionally scarred young girl? What if, more than true love and happily ever after, she longed for revenge? What if the prince were merely a means to an end?

What if the fairy godmother were the elder prince’s non-traditional kabuki dancing lover?

Shadows on the Moon, a fantastic re-imagining of Cinderella, is the answer to all of these questions. Taking inspiration from feudal Japan (although there’s a disclaimer at the beginning – most of the de
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it

"Love comes like storm clouds
Fleeing from the wind, and casts
Shadows on the moon"

This lovely, poetic Cinderella retelling set in a Japanese-inspired fantasy world known as the Moonlit Land utterly captivated me from start to finish. I've become quite the connoisseur of fairy tale retellings of late, and this is a standout for me in the YA category.

It's a more mature YA. Instead of swimming in the shallows, it dives into deeper waters, tackling heavy themes like adultery, betrayal, murder, r
Jillian -always aspiring-
Jan 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves any of these things: Memoirs of a Geisha, Japanese culture, Cinderella retellings
(Actual Rating: 3.5 stars)

In Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott, Hoshima Suzume's life changes within moments when her father is accused of treason against the Moon Prince, and she sees her once-happy life stolen and destroyed. In the panic that follows, something strange awakens within Suzume, an ability to disappear and blend into her surroundings as she flees her devastated home. Once the situation settles, Suzume's mother returns from her trip and retrieves Suzume...although Suzume herself
Kat Kennedy
I’m not going to be short with the praise here. I loved Shadows on the Moon pretty hard. But this isn’t a light-hearted novel to be embarked upon by just anyone. Hardcore epic fantasy fans used to large tomes, new worlds, language and speech that they’re not previously familiar with and novel pacing that takes its time, will be the ones who really get this book.

Suzume is a complicated character with an intense story to tell. Shadows on the Moon chronicles this sprawling, high fantasy tale faithf
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
Shadows on the Moon is a remarkably well told, fascinating story about Suzume, a young girl who’s lost her home and her entire family when the soldiers came to her house to accuse her father of treason. Aside from Suzume, who miraculously survived by making herself invisible to the soldiers, the only member of the family left alive was her mother, and only because she was absent when the soldiers came. Left with nothing at all and in constant fear for their lives, Suzume and her mother have no c ...more
Shadows on the Moon was a disappointing read. I had every expectation of liking it. I love Japanese culture, history, and food. I watch anime. I even took three years of Japanese in high school. I'm also a sucker for Cinderella stories so the idea of a Japanese-inspired Cinderella intrigued me. There were many good ideas in Shadows on the Moon but unfortunately they were poorly executed.

Hoshima Suzume leads a tragic life. Shortly after the death of her father and cousin, her beautiful but cold m
Dilushani Jayalath
I was wondering, which part of this boom was the Cinderella retelling? The part where she becomes a drudge or the part where she goes to the Shadow Ball?

If you’re going in expecting a story where the mistreated girl ends up with the handsome prince and has her happily ever after, you are mistaken. Yes in a way Suzume does get her handsome prince but it is not in the classical Cinderella manner. The story puts a serious twist on the tale and gives a fantasy novel with a different ending. We don’
Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: Family, revenge, power, beauty, magic.

Oh. My. God.

How on earth did it take me so long to read this wonderful, beautiful book?

It was amazing and I will absolutely read more from this author. It's like she just UNDERSTANDS EVERYTHING EVER. I could not get enough.

I will absolutely read more by this author, because this was just incredible.

YA Shot Buddy Read 9th May - 23rd May.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: swoooon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

If you've been following my status updates for this book, you can probably understand why I am so conflicted over my rating. On one hand, Shadows on the Moon is an incredible story. Although it is marketed as an Asian re-telling of Cinderella where our princess must avenge the death of her beloved father, it is less of an Edmund Dantes-eque revenge story and more of a contemplative tale of self-growth.

If you read the synopsis of this story, it easily leads you to believe that Ma
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay okay I need to like scream because oh. my. lord.

In the beginning I was kind of iffy about this book, I wasn't sure where it was going and I had NO idea what to expect.

The story was dark, heartbreaking and compelling. In the darkness was this BRIGHT, JOYFUL sun, also known as Otieno 😍 He made this book. Seriously if not for Otieno, the negativity would probably have killed the story, so the stark contrast of his character just gave it LIFE.

When I read books I REALLY focus on the chara
2.5 stars.

Ah, I just love books that incorporate, in some way, Asia but more specifically, Japan. Can you say excited? I was really eager to read this and while I wasn’t entirely satisfied, I wasn’t left miffed, which is a very important thing.

I’ve read a book from this author before (The Swan Kingdom) and I liked it fair enough, so I guess I knew what was getting into but I did up my expectations seeing as how I expected her to improve upon that one to this one. For the most part, her world bui
usagi ☆ミ
This one sadly just didn't work for me, and didn't quite hold my attention. I wish I could say otherwise as the blurb sounded really awesome, and the idea of a retelling of Cinderella combined with shadow weaving really intrigued me. While the premise was wonderful, "Shadows on the Moon" ultimately failed to deliver for me.

I was a good chunk into the book and I still wasn't feeling the hook landing where it should have been. Ideally, a hook should land into the reader within the first chapter,
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, Suzume is able to recreate herself in any form – a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama, or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens, or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Destined to capture the heart of a prince, she is determined to us
1.5 stars. Blah. I did not like this book. The overall idea of Cinderella being a brave strong girl who decides to take matters of revenge in her own hands and has the magical ability of shadow-weaving was decent but the execution of it in this book was junky. Not only were the characters just inane and boring; the story turned into mindless stupidity.

(view spoiler)
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Shadows on the Moon is a lovely retelling of Cinderella set in a magical version of feudal Japan. The Cinderella of this story, Suzume, witnesses the murder of her beloved father and cousin and barely avoids death herself. The traumatic event shatters Suzume and she compartmentalizes the broken pieces to survive.

Marriott does an excellent job portraying Suzume's post traumatic stress disorder and the effects of suppressing emotions out of fear (or other reasons). The circumstances of th
Steph Su
Oct 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
YOU GUYS, do you know how long I have waited to read this book? Since Zoe Marriott first revealed the gorgeous UK cover for SHADOWS ON THE MOON, over a year ago. I simply can’t resist a beautiful Asian face on a YA cover, and I have enjoyed Zoe’s previous books. I am so, so happy to say that SHADOWS ON THE MOON was one of those rare books that I didn’t want to end.

There is something great to be said about every element of this book. According to the author’s note, SHADOWS ON THE MOON is not set
Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm)
Suzume has lived a happy life until her father is accused of treason and him along with her cousin are killed. Now she has left almost everything she has known to live with her mother and soon to be step-father. But Suzume is not a normal 16 year old as she has a magical gift. When she discovers she has been betrayed she uses her ability to escape and recreate herself, but who is the real Suzume, the lowly Drudge or the beautiful courtesan. With her unwavering resolve to get revenge, she is dete ...more
4.5, 5 for unflinching-ness.

If you've seen my Top 10 Fave Fairytale Retellings vlog, you'll already know this is going to be a super-positive happyfuntime review.  I mean, this landed at number 6, so yeah, obviously I liked it lots.  But now I get to tell you why, and as much as I am glad to do that, I just want to start by expressing how I wish I had read this book as part of a group.  A book club, a lit class - doesn't really matter, but I think this book would make for such good discussion, a
Eleanor (bookishcourtier)
I am kind of sad about this one, because initially I was loving it a whole lot more than I expected to! It is an older fantasy, and that cover is not...great, but I wanted to try it out. Honestly, I thought it was going to be a much shallower, lighter story, because there isn't much in the way of a blurb on the back of it, and that really doesn't sell the story very well. But this was actually quite dark and had a lot more meaning to it. This was not what I was expecting, and I am quite disappo ...more
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I first found out about Shadows on the Moon more than a year ago, and the minute I did I fell in love. For twelve months I frantically counted down the days to its release, expecting what I knew was probably FAR too much from even the author of one book I adored, and another that I thoroughly enjoyed. When I finally got my hands on Shadows I was incredibly excited to read it -- and also very nervous. For the first time I was scared that I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I had anticipated. But the m ...more
Essentially an Asian fantasy retelling of Cinderella woven around a revenge plot.

+++ good diversity and representation! The fantasy setting is mostly based on Japan with some Chinese touches. There are envoys and diplomats from Africa. One of the major supporting characters in the second half of the book is trans.

+ an interracial relationship in which both parties are not white! That doesn't happen often in genre fiction.

+ the revenge story was good. Suzume has massive survivors guilt and it fu
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Wow, wow, wow. This is one of the best Cinderella retellings I've come across. The story is rich, the writing lovely and the romance heart-breaking. This book just got so so many things exactly right. Zoe Marriott, I am impressed and saddened that I have no other books of yours to read at this very moment.

Just as amazing the second time around.
Steph Sinclair
I really loved how this one had diversity and eastern influence. The writing was gorgeous and the love interest totally swoon worthy. The main character had a good amount of character development and I really could connect with her. The beginning was a little slow for me, but the second half was much better.
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers HERE

The day of Suzume’s fourteenth birthday was also the day that changed her life forever when the men came to kill her family after her father’s name was dishonoured in the Court of the Moonlit Lands. They killed her father and her cousin, who was the sister of her heart, right before her eyes. It was on that day that Suzume, prompted by survival instinct, learnt that she was a shadow-weaver, capable of creating the illusion that saved her life as s
Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
Here's a book that I really loved. I flew through Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott, desperate to find out how it would end. It was really addictive reading for me, especially as it gave such a new and strong outlook on the Cinderella story. I loved the setting (a fantasy world similar to feudal Japan), Suzume's character, from her magical abilities to her vulnerability and especially her relationship with the beautiful and honourable Otieno (who is utterly swoon-worthy!).

Shadows on the Moon i
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-galley, aaw-yeah
I gush now… (again)

This late in the year, I truly wasn’t expecting another one of these books~ another one of these books that I love. I’ve been on a reading wave of ups and downs and kept things interesting by switching from realistic contemps to paranormals to adult UF’s and to whole a hell lot of ‘dytopias.’ Sure, I’d come across some duds but thankfully there were some really good ones in there as well. This definitely counts among the latter.

Two things I am sure of : (1) I was not expe
Oct 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeously crafted, intricately detailed, Shadows on the Moon illustrates Marriott’s remarkable story weaving skills. Suzume’s evolution from the carefree girl who frolicked with her cousin under the cherry blossoms to the strong woman at the end of the novel is particularly compelling. The novel is reminiscent of Alison Goodman’s Eona series in its depiction of the struggles of a girl against severely adverse situations. I remember thinking that Marriott has done her research in the writing of ...more
May 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shadows on the moon is a beautifully woven tale which I thought was a wonderfully written with a real "fairy tale" like feel to it. I enjoyed every page and didn't want it to end.

Shadows on the moon has been described as Cinderella meet memiors of a Geisha and I really think that is a brilliant comparison to start with. I loved the orientalness (not sure that is a word but hey!) of the book and loved pretty much everything thing that came along with that orientalness like the setting, the cultur
Dec 21, 2020 marked it as dnf-graveyard
dnf @ pg.230

I never NEVER dnf so far into a book. I thought I could keep going to be honest...

But the writing is SO DRY. The beginning was great but around page 150 it fell downhill. Nothing really happens. We don't learn much about shadow-weaving and the pacing was just BAD. I only liked the fact that it was set in Japan and the romance could've been great, but it fell flat too soon.

This book is a perfect example of great concept but poor execution. Do not recommend.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Misunderstood (YA - Neighbor from Hell #1)
  • I, Coriander
  • Casanova's Women: The Great Seducer and the Women He Loved
  • Angelmonster
  • Rosebush
  • Battlemage (The Age of Darkness Trilogy, #1)
  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune (The Singing Hills Cycle, #1)
  • Daughters of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter, #3)
  • The Secret Recipe for Second Chances
  • Boom (Blast Brothers #1)
  • Pirate Nemesis (Telepathic Space Pirates #1)
  • Bang (Blast Brothers #2)
  • The Buddhist on Death Row: How One Man Found Light in the Darkest Place
  • Corded (The Corded Saga #1)
  • White Horse (White Horse, #1)
  • Pirate Throne (Telepathic Space Pirates #3)
  • Dragon Keeper (Dragon Keeper, #1)
  • The Land of Stories Collection 4 Book Set (The Land of Stories, #1-4)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Zoë has known that she wanted to be a writer since she read 'The Magic Faraway Tree' by Enid Blyton at age eight. She's never changed her mind in all the years since then.

She completed her first manuscript - a truly embarrassing romance novel - at age sixteen, and kept on writing books and submitting them until she had collected rejections from nearly very publisher in the UK and two in Australia.

Other books in the series

The Moonlit Lands (2 books)
  • Barefoot on the Wind (The Moonlit Lands, #2)

Related Articles

  Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people love books about falling in love. Every month our team sorts through...
54 likes · 16 comments
“People trust their eyes above all else - but most people see what they wish to see, or what they believe they should see; not what is really there” 211 likes
Better naked and alive than decent and dead, I thought.” 31 likes
More quotes…