Paige's Reviews > Shadowfell

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
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's review
Sep 20, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: own

You all probably realize by now that Juliet Marillier is one of my all time favorite authors. So you can imagine my excitement when, soon after its release, I found Shadowfell in its little Amazon smiley box, sitting at my front door. And yes that little Amazon arrow on the box is a smile, especially when the box contains books (I turn the box upside down when it's some techie gadget for my husband).

I know that a few J.M. fans were a little disappointed at the length of the book and the depth of the story, but once again, I think it has a lot to do with the expectations you have before jumping in (I'm finding this to be more and more true as I write reviews). J.M. writes mostly adult fantasy books that are lengthy and absolutely fantastic, but Shadowfell was from the beginning, marketed as a young adult novel. I've read her two other books that were also written for a young audience: Wildwood Dancing and Cybele's Secret. I read interviews of J.M. where she talks about the difference between writing for the two audiences. So going into this book, I expected a YA version of J.M. and that's exactly what I got.

The book was short and took next to no time to read, but the story itself was on par with what I've come to love from this author. Neryn was interesting because she's learned to distrust everyone she meets, making her journey a paradox since she can't do it alone. But of course, as with all female leads in J.M. books, Neryn has more strength within herself than she realizes.

Flint kept me guessing. You wanted to believe he was good and that his intentions were to help Neryn, but the evidence against him just keeps building. I also liked that he wasn't a drop dead gorgeous male whom the main character falls instantly in love with (I've had quite enough of that, thank you YA literature). Flint is rough around the edges and a real person, not a standard cardboard cut out.
Originally posted on

The Good Folk were probably the biggest surprise for me. In her other books, the canny folk are always the height of mystery and ethereal beauty. They come and go like mist through the trees, trailing cryptic riddles and advice. In this book, the Good Folk were much more down to earth. I felt that if I reached out to touch them, my hand wouldn't pass through their shrouded forms, but would probably get tangled in some acorns and shrubbery (or get bitten). They had human-like emotions and conversed with Neryn in a way that wasn't all mysterious prose. All in all, they took on completely different personalities than what I'm used to, but not in a negative way. I also enjoyed the different "types" of canny folk she encountered.

The only problem I had with the story was the amount of times I would find Neryn running away from Flint. I understood that it was the result of the distrust between them, but I felt there could have been a different way to illustrate this. I found myself saying, "Really, Neryn? Again?" And of course, by the end of the book, I felt like I'd only read the first third of an epic fantasy novel, but that's why this is a planned trilogy in the YA realm.

In conclusion, if you're expecting something similar to the length and depth of a Sevenwaters book, you will be disappointed. But if you go into it realizing it's supposed to be J.M.-lite, you will revel in Neryn's journey to find out her magical capacity and her fate in saving the kingdom of Alban. Now I have to wait all over again for the second installment :)
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Reading Progress

09/13/2012 page 30
7.0% "So excited to finally be reading this! Ahhhhhh! Already so good!" 3 comments
09/17/2012 page 271
65.0% 2 comments
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