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Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
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Shadowfell (2012)

by Juliet Marillier

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Neryn and her father are on the run from the Enforcers, because of her uncanny ability of seeing the Good Folk. At every turn she must conceal who she is, and what happened to her family. Just when she thought it couldn't get any worse her father gambles her away to a mysterious stranger. Not knowing if this stranger is friend or foe, she must somehow find a way to accomplish her goal of making it to Shadowfell, and join the rebels. Along her journey she finds help in some strange, and sometimes unlikely places, and learns maybe there is more to her ability than she thought.

I am of mixed feelings about this book. It starts of wonderful, and really captures the attention. Then for a while it gets pretty boring, and kind of juvenile. Finally at the end it starts to get interesting again. Overall it is a good book, you just have to push yourself through the boring part. It took me a long time to sympathize with the Good Folk characters. It was their characters that I found a little juvenile. I will continue to read the series. There is a bit of foreshadowing, and I am interested to see how that plays out. ( )
  Ahnya | Feb 12, 2015 |
Not really all that long ago, canny gifts were valued in Alban. That was before Keldec took the throne and set up his network of Enforcers and Enthrallers, to make sure that all magic users were either in service to the king . . . or dead. Neryn has seen the devastation wrought by the king's men first-hand, when they burned her village and destroyed her grandmother's mind. She knows she must keep her own gifts hidden as she and her father travel from town to town, always on the run. Neryn thought her life couldn't get much worse, but when her father wagers her in a game of chance to a mysterious cloaked man, she feels as if the bottom has fallen out of her meager existence. The stranger offers her a choice: she may go her own way, or accept his protection on her journey. Choosing to travel alone, Neryn makes her way north toward Shadowfell, where rumor has it that a band of rebels has a stronghold and people with canny gifts are accepted and trained. On her way, Neryn learns that her own gift is something out of the ordinary, even for a magic user -- and the king's forces are hot on her heels because of it. If Neryn doesn't want to end up as a weapon for King Keldec, she must make it to Shadowfell. To do so, she'll face constant danger, harsh weather, and a series of unexpected encounters as she proves herself and hones her magical gift.

This book is excellent in all sorts of ways. The setting is vivid in all of its harsh, rocky dampness. The plot is strong, connected to the history of the land and the events that took place before the book begins. The characters are few but fully realized, and I've got to say that Flint is one of those slow-smoldering book crushes that you don't see coming until wham you're head over heels. (Probably doesn't hurt that I found myself basically picturing him as a younger Aragorn.) All in all, this is a book that readers of YA fantasy should definitely take a closer look at. ( )
  foggidawn | Dec 15, 2014 |
This is easily one of the best YA fantasy novels I’ve read. I was absorbed from beginning to end. The writing was excellent, but never pretentious. Never did Marillier try so hard to be “lyrical” that she called attention to herself, taking the reader out of the story to notice her diction. Yet, still, the images, emotions, settings, characters were clear as can be in my mind. The world-building and characterization were seamless, consistent, and intriguing. I loved the story and characters and mythology (and subtle romance). Excellent on all fronts. ( )
  EuronerdLibrarian | May 14, 2014 |
I can sum this book up in one word, "Amazing!" A coworker waxed poetic about this book several months ago. I had it on my "to read" list but could never quite get around to it.

I was definitely missing out. The characters are easy to identify with and well fleshed out. The world building is good and the plot is familiar in feel but unique in portrayal.

I am impatiently waiting for my shipped copy of book 2! ( )
  Angelina-Justice | Feb 3, 2014 |
Marillier never disappoints! Although this YA series is not as strong (for me) as her epic Sevenwaters series, it is still an excellent read. The novel follows the heroine Neryn as she attempts to escape the King's searchers and reach the mysterious safe haven of Shadowfell. Plenty of secrets, hidden destinies, and overcoming tragic circumstances and heartbreak--as well as a smattering of young love. ( )
  willowsmom | Jan 14, 2014 |
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To my grandson, Angus
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As we came down to the shore of Darkwater, the wind sliced cold right to my bones.
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Fifteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured, but when she sets out for Shadowfell, a training ground for a rebel group, she meets a mysterious soldier and the Good Folk, who tell her that she, alone, can save Alban.… (more)

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