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Shadows Cast by Stars Hardcover – June 5, 2012

15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Knutsson's narrative is ambitious, twining together Pacific Northwest mythology, standard post-apocalyptic tropes and a coming-of-age story inflected with romance. Readers of Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian will recognize the harsh realities portrayed, albeit within the science-fictional framework. Knutsson’s language is often atmospherically beautiful.... an absorbing read populated by characters hardly ever found in teen novels."--Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Catherine Knuttson lives on Vancouver Island, on which the fictional Island of her debut novel, Shadows Cast by Stars, is based. She divides her time among teaching, singing, and writing. Like her narrator, she is a member of the Metis nation.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781442401914
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442401914
  • ASIN: 1442401915
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,471,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Catherine Knutsson lives on beautiful Vancouver Island, where she writes, runs, and wanders the wild. Like Cassandra, the main character in SHADOWS CAST BY STARS, Catherine is Métis.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I never ever like to say anything negative about a book. So this review is not meant to be negative. The supernatural and mythology in this book was different and interesting but I felt like I needed more explanation. The words were beautiful but confusing at times. I needed this character to question things that were happening around her.
Just my opinion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chels on August 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
How far would you go to escape the dreaded Plague? Would you take the blood of an innocent? In this dystopic world, the only survivors or hopeful survivors are the ones who are immune or who have the ability to access that immunity. Aboriginal blood is found to offer hope against the Plague and is highly valued. Cassandra, the main character, might feel that she is safe against the Plague, but she has to worry about the government and people hunting her down to harvest her precious blood...not necessarily a common worry for a teenager. The more Cassandra's family is threatened the more they desperately search for a way to protect themselves. When they come across the Island, they think they may have hope, but is the Island as safe as it seems?

Cassandra isn't the easiest character to identify with or connect to, but her voice in the story is not typical or boring. She is brave, smart, and protective of her family. She does not back down and is amazingly resourceful, a character to look up to. The other characters are interesting to get to know, they all have a reason for being in the story, the author limited the extraneous characters. Cassandra is by far the most focused upon character. Her connection to the spirit world and her understanding of the world around her will likely be interesting to the reader.

The plot is not the most unusual, but the twist concerning aboriginal blood is an interesting take on a dystopian world. The author plays out the fear and tension created by a blood-hungry world very well, the reader will likely feel chills up his/her spine when reading certain excerpts. Overall, this book is recommended to young adult/teen readers.

*Complimentary copy received for review, this in no way affects my opinion*
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Vanden Eynden on June 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This beautifully-written novel is hard to describe. The story moves at a slow, deliberate pace, much like the thoughtful and sacred world in which we find our protagonist, Cassandra, a young woman who can see into the spirit realms. Cass is Metis, of Native ancestry, which gains her access to a world that penetrates the dystopian society in which she lives. Her Native blood also keeps her immune from a Plague that has ravished society, and the majority of the people who are not immune soon drive Cass and her family to run to the Island, a Native refuge guarded by the Band and separated by a mysterious energy field that seems to be a doorway into a place where people and Spirit co-exist--but not altogether harmoniously. It is here that Cass learns more about herself and her gifts and confronts the Powers that try to use her for their own means.

I really enjoyed the character of Cass. She was unsure and strong, bold and meek, the perfect mixture of a young woman teetering on the edge of adulthood. She was also confused a great deal of the time about her insights into the spiritual world, and I found, as a spiritual student, that I could definitely relate to her hesitations and her lack of confidence. When she began her studies with the medicine woman Madda, I wanted to cheer--but of course, this help was challenged as well, and Cass had to find her own way, both in the physical world and in the realms of Spirit. At time, this was challenging and frustrating as a reader. There were places in the story where I was unsure of what was happening and had to re-read passages to try to figure out plot points. In a lesser book or one that was poorly written, I wouldn't have bothered to keep going. Catherine Knutsson's engaging and lyrical writing style, however, kept me intrigued, and I had to finish to know what happened to Cass.

I look forward to more work by this author. I truly admire her storytelling style.
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Format: Hardcover
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: This novel crosses boundaries of science fiction and fantasy to weave together a world of racism, plagues and myths that test the heroine in ways she never imagined.

Opening Sentence: We live the Old Way.

The Review:

The UA's greatest concern is the Plague. With everyone crammed into Population Corridors and quarantine sections numbered off, they harvest the Others for their blood. The Island is the last resort of Cassandra's father, who's clung hard to their house, his wife's grave, and the life they have in the Corridor. But as blood becomes more scarce the government begins hunting half-bloods. They have no choice but to run or die. The Others are more than the government gives them credit for. Paul, her younger brother by four minutes, prophesizes the future -- though they can rarely discern the answer in time to change it, while Cassandra can see Others' shades. They reveal to her the state of someone's soul. Her father's, for example, hasn't been seen since her mother died.

The Mercredi's lived the Old Way, without the luxuries of the Corridor. Living on the Island isn't such a big change for them. Protected by the boundary, the island is closer to the spirit world than the Corridors. Cass's power is stronger here, different. She can feel the Island itself. Old land has a lot of secrets; ones that Cass might be finding out sooner than she expected. The mythology of the aboriginals and Arthurian legends begin to mix their way into her life as she finds friends in the community. And we all know the original myths aren't quite as nice as the Disney versions.

Things on the Island aren't as easy as they'd hoped.
Read more ›
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