From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-An engaging read for fans of traditional fantasy. Neryn's father, her only surviving relative, has just wagered her in a game of chance-and lost. For years they have been on the run, living cold and hungry at the margins of society in an attempt to hide Neryn's dangerous secret: she has the magical ability to see and sense the Fey creatures that populate Alban. But all magic has been outlawed in the realm except that which is practiced by the king's men. Now Neryn finds herself with Flint, the winner of the wager. He seems to be a potential ally, and she is tempted to confide in him as she embarks on her quest to join a resistance movement. But he is obviously withholding information, and besides, all confidences are dangerous in a world in which the king's men conduct violent raids on all who are rumored to resist the regime. Both characters face serious and interesting moral dilemmas, and the romance between them feels less rushed than in some fantasy romances. Fans of Kristin Cashore and Tamora Pierce will find much to enjoy in this first installment of a planned trilogy.-Hayden Bass, Seattle Public Library, WAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Living as a vagabond with her gambling father was not easy for Neryn, but it was vastly simpler and safer than her current path. After Neryn’s father is drowned, she is taken by Flint, an enforcer for King Keldec, whose forces were responsible for the death of most of Neryn’s family, but who swears he will keep her safe. Also keeping her safe are the small woodland fey, who know she has special powers that may lead to triumph in her secret purpose: to find Shadowfell, the secret training ground for the rebel forces set to defeat Keldec. As she and Flint journey, Neryn faces illness, cold, adversaries, and nearly dies but for Flint’s steadfast care. But even as they grow close amid dangerous conditions on this noble quest, she is unable to give herself over to trusting him. This first in a trilogy lays ample groundwork from which readers can expect a slow unfolding of romance, an epic defense of a way of life, and a strong, complex heroine coming into her own. Grades 7-10. --Heather Booth