Author: Zoe Marriott
Series: Stand Alone
Published: April 24th 2012 by Candlewick Press
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Description: Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to re-create 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 is she Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to use her skills to steal the heart of a prince in a revenge plot to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even the one true aspect of her life- her love for a fellow shadow-weaver.
I Give This ...
There was something about this book that called to me from the start. I'm not real versed in books set anywhere in Asia (I know I'm really generalizing there but work with me). But, I had this on my wishlist before it even had a US release date.
To say that Suzume's life hasn't been easy might be a gross understatement. She watches her father get brutally killed. Her mother drags her off when she marries another man under the pretense that it's for the protection (so they won't be in ruins). But, she sees something her mother doesn't when it comes to Lord Terayama. When she begins to fear for her own life, she goes into hiding right under his nose. She eventually feels she needs to leave the safety on the household. Through all of this she learns that she is capable of a certain kind of magic. With a little bit of instruction, she can put herself in a position to extract revenge on those who have wronged her.
I found the story enchanting. Suzume was an interesting character and I felt every heartache along with her. I understood why she felt the need to cut herself. I understood her absolute dedication to her goal of extracting revenge. I understood her confusion on living for herself and carrying on her families memories. It was all beautifully crafted together. I also loved the explanation of her shadow-weaving. It was an interesting type of magic that I don't recall every reading about before.
I think my favorite part of this book was the intricate cultural details. It may not be entirely real, but it felt like it could be. I loved the idea of the Moonlit Lands and the Shadow Princess. It had a historical fiction feel with a cultural that I'm completely unfamiliar with. If I can find more books like this...I might have a new country I love to read about!
I tore through this book. It closes nicely, but I think it leaves room for a sequel. I would read it if she wrote it!