Author: Juliet Marillier
Published: September 11th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher for honest review
Description: Its name is spoken only in whispers, if the people of Alban dare to speak it at all: Shadowfell. The training ground for rebels seeking to free their land from the grip of the tyrannical king is so shrouded in mystery that most believe it to be a myth. But for Neryn, Shadowfell's existence is her only hope. She is penniless, orphaned, and utterly alone--and concealing a treacherous magical power that will warrant her immediate enslavement should it be revealed. She finds hope of allies in the Good Folk, fey beings whom she must pretend she cannot see and who taunt her with chatter of prophecies and tests, and in a striking, mysterious stranger, who saves her from certain death but whose motives remain unclear. She knows she should not trust anyone with her plans, but something within her longs to confide in him. Will Neryn be forced to make the dangerous journey alone? She must reach Shadowfell, not only to avenge her family and salvage her own life, but to rescue Alban itself.
I Give This ...
This called to me immediately because of the fey. I have yet to read a fey book that I didn't at least partially enjoy. I was sad when I missed this book on Netgalley, but so excited when I was contacted about it.
I loved Neryn from the very start. We really don't understand her gift at first, but we know that she's had to hide it her entire life. We also learn that her father and her have been living on the run for a few years. But, her father is not an easy man. He's prone to drink and gambling, and in one crazy night he gambles Neryn against the pot...and looses. The man who wins her and has heard whispers of a father and daughter traveling together to avoid capture. She wants to trust him, but there are so many reasons not too.
Which brings us to the fey. At first, their presence in the story is subtle. Neryn leaves small gifts were ever she goes, just like her grandmother taught her to do. But, slowly she opens up these beings and begins to learn that what she can not do is normal. In fact, she has striking quality that match up an ancient prophecy. I loved her determination to reach a place that may of really been a myth.
The only thing that started to bother me a little was how back and forth Neryn was on Flint. Yes, there were times I really questioned him and I hoped to be proved wrong. But, it often felt like she had no backbone or belief in her own instincts. Maybe it stems for having to hide what she could do her entire life. I'm glad she made a decision in the end and stuck to it. Hopefully it won't be her downfall in the end.