Shadowfell Review

Title: Shadowfell
Author: Juliet Marillier
Date Published: September 9, 2012
Publisher: Knopf
How I received it: From
Summery: Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill–a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk–Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.

During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death–but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban’s release from Keldec’s rule. Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban. (taken from amazon)
This is the only thing that I have read by Juliet Marillier. I was captivated by the opening scenes and I wanted to learn more about Neryn’s past. Then when she met Flint, I wanted to know about him.

The only thing that bothered me was that I guessed he was the enemy and that they’d end up liking each other.

Right from the start I wanted to learn about Neryn, her past, her present and everything else. Neryn is an intelligent girl who is sometimes not cautious enough. She’s quick to judge and I think this was one of the reasons that made me want to finish the book. I wanted to see this flaw evolve into something better. I wanted her to have to “walk in their shoes.”

Then there’s the father, who you really want to like, but because of what he does you really cant.

Flint is the most mysterious character. He’s this guy who “buys” Neryn but not for the reasons she’s thought of. Juliet slowly reveals things about him, that we get mostly from his conversations with Neryn. He gives cryptic answers to Neryn when she asks questions and tells her the less she knows the better off they will both be. You learn a little bit about his life and personality as Neryn does and you don’t know much more. You don’t discover the full truth until she does.

Finally there’s the Good Folk. Each one of them has their own personality. Some are sweet and some are untrusting and some are not so kind. There’s Reagan’s Rebels who accept Neryn and all of the other small but important characters.

Juliet’s plotline needs those characters. It’s a sort of complex plot with a lot of subplots. We learn Neryn’s quest early on and the rest we slowly learn as the story goes on. Within Shadowfell’s 400+ pages there are a lot of conflicts. Neryn versus Nature, Neryn versus Keldric and the enforcers, Neryn versus Neryn, Neryn versus Flint. Flint versus himself, Flint versus his canny gift. There are many more conflicts involving Neryn, the good folk, Reagan’s Rebels, Keldric, the enforcers and Flint.

I believe that the strongest element in Shadowfell is the characters. I felt like they were real people. That they could have been my friends. She described the appearances and personalities very clearly. I was able to detect their motivations and reasons for doing what they did.

I really enjoyed this fantasy novel. It wasn’t a quick read but nonetheless it was a good one.



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