Rhapsody's Reviews > Shadowfell

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
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's review
Mar 26, 2012

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bookshelves: fantasy, owned-books

** spoiler alert ** Neryn and her father, drowning his sorrows in drink and gambling away their meagre fortune, are on the run and in hiding from the tyrannical King Keldec. Neryn has special, canny abilities and the king would use her for his own ends. Her father takes his gambling one step too far and Neryn is won and taken by an enigmatic man, Flint. Separated from the last connection she has with her family she entrusts her life into this strange man’s hand. Neryn seeks a place called Shadowfell, a hidden place. Neryn is slow to trust Flint, despite his protection of her, despite nursing her to good health and she does not reveal her full plan to him. Throughout their journey to the North where Shadowfell is, Neryn encounters aid from the Good Folk, in particular Sage, Sorrel and Red Cap. There is division amongst the Good Folk as to whether Neryn has the potential to be a Caller, someone who has the ability to summon the canny. Silver and her band are not entirely convinced but they end up being drawn to her and helping her, in their own way. To be a Caller she has to fulfil seven virtues: Strength of Stillness, Flame of Courage, Canny Eyes, Open Heart, Giving Hand, Steadfast Purpose and Grant Forgiveness. Flint is a spy for the rebels and he walks a fine line. He leads a lonely and difficult life, faced with hard decisions. Neryn becomes his source of light and strength but until Alban is set free they cannot begin their lives together.

This is a wonderful first novel in the Shadowfell trilogy and it is clear that this story is “to be continued”. The style of the writing is different to Ms Marillier’s previous work, more fast-paced and action-orientated. There were some sections where I would slap my forehead in the disbelief that Neryn did not know how Flint felt but, of course, as an observer one can see these things clearly as opposed to if you were the one experiencing it. In that sense, I was able to suspend disbelief. I enjoyed reading Shadowfell and I look forward to reading the next book in the trilogy.

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