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Shadows on the Moon Hardcover – April 24, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Suzume, 16, is a shadow weaver-"one who can weave illusions from the threads of the world"-and recreate herself in any form. Her carefree life abruptly ends when her father is wrongly accused of being a traitor and is murdered. Suzume escapes using "the moon's gift." In exchange for protection and new identities, Suzume's mother marries Terayama-san, her father's best friend. However, after it is discovered that Suzume has overheard the secret whisperings between her mother and her tyrannical stepfather regarding his involvement as the mastermind behind her father's death, she must flee for her life. Suzume shadow weaves her way up society's ladder-from a lowly kitchen drudge to the coveted Shadow bride-with one goal in mind: revealing Terayama-san as a traitor and avenging her father's death. In doing so, she might have to forsake the love of her life and fellow shadow weaver, Otieno. Or does she? Zoe Marriott's riveting tale (Candlewick, 2012) puts a refreshing spin on the deadly game of cat and mouse whereby the mouse precisely calculates every small move to corner the cat. Amy Rubinate is solid in her narration of Suzume and offers subtle voice variations for the other characters. A great listen.-Cheryl Preisendorfer, Twinsburg City Schools, OHα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


"Cinderella" is reimagined as a revenge story set in an alternate feudal Japan. A dark yet very fresh fairy-tale reinvention.
—Kirkus Reviews

Beautifully written, with diverse and fascinating characters, an intriguing plot, and a romance that will steal your heart. One of the most innovative fairy-tale retellings I've read in years.
—R.J. Anderson, author of Spellhunter and Ultraviolet

Shadows on the Moon weaves a spell as deft as any by its main character. Beautiful and cruel; a mesmerizing read with an intoxicating love story.
—L.A. Weatherly, author of Angel Burn and Angel Fire

Marriott plays with the motifs of the Cinderella story in fresh new ways, recasting the classic fairy tale as revenge quest in a pseudo–ancient Japan, and her powerful exploration of familial betrayals and the personal cost of vengeance dovetails seamlessly with the more familiar fairy-tale themes of love, belonging, and multiple identities. . . The atmospheric writing, compelling secondary characters, and emotional complexity of this adaptation give it broad appeal and make it a standout addition to the perennially appealing field of fairy-tale novelizations.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

A rich cultural context and strong female characters make this novel reminiscent of Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING (Harcourt, 2008) and Arthur Golden’s MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA (Knopf, 1998). The "Cinderella" theme is interwoven with just the right strokes, creating a magical reinterpretation that is much richer than a mere retelling. Although several hot-button issues such as self-mutilation and gender identity are dealt with in an explicit manner, the fast-moving plot, intense action, and compelling characters will pull readers through to the satisfying conclusion.
—School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763653446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763653446
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #987,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've known that I wanted to be a writer since I finished reading my first book; 'The Magic Faraway Tree' by Enid Blyton. I think I was about eight, but I've never changed my mind in all the years since then.

I got my first publishing contract when I was twenty-two, but had to wait until I was twenty-four to see that book published (it was The Swan Kingdom).

I live in a little house in a town by the sea, with my two rescued cats, one called Hero after a Shakespearian character and one Echo after a nymph from a Greek myth. I also have a springer/cocker spaniel called Finbar (otherwise known as The Devil Hound).

Five Interesting Facts:

1. I have nearly seventy notebooks hidden in my desk, waiting to be written in. I still can't stop buying new ones.
2. I can't ride a bike, and I never could.
3. I don't have a single filling in my teeth.
4. When I was little, I was convinced that wolves lived under my bed.
5. I hate bananas.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Su on February 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
YOU GUYS, do you know how long I have waited to read this book? Since Zoe Marriott first revealed the gorgeous UK cover for SHADOWS ON THE MOON, over a year ago. I simply can't resist a beautiful Asian face on a YA cover, and I have enjoyed Zoe's previous books. I am so, so happy to say that SHADOWS ON THE MOON was one of those rare books that I didn't want to end.

Her real name is Suzume (sparrow), but she is also Rin (cold) and Yue (moon). That's because Suzume's world ended the day her family was murdered. Living with her mother and her new stepfather, Lord Terayama, Suzume inadvertently practices her shadow-weaving: the art of creating illusions out of thin air. Her talent comes in handy as it becomes clearer to her that has life is in grave danger. As Suzume shuffles through her many identities, what happens when her one goal of avenging her father's death is slowly but surely replaced by another more tender?

There is something great to be said about every element of this book. According to the author's note, SHADOWS ON THE MOON is not set in feudal Japan, but rather a society similar to it. And Marriott has certainly done her research. Things such as the vocabulary for different kinds of clothing and the exact procedure for a tea ceremony may not add directly to the plot, but they certainly help immerse readers into Suzume's lush, simultaneously foreign yet familiar, world.

Suzume masterfully treads the thin line between her mask of feigned placidness and actually being a placid character. After all, at what point does the person you pretend to be actually become a part of you? However, Suzume's soothing narration helps ground what could be melodramatic events, so that they never go beyond the point of credibility.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N., The BookBandit on May 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Suzume's life in alternate world Japan was near perfect. She had a father who adored her. A cousin, Aimi, who was more like a sister. A home full of love, even if she was always kept under the watchful eye of her beautiful but stern mother.

But that was before. Before the men clad in shiny black armor stormed her home. Before she witnessed those same men accuse her father of treachery. Before she saw those brutal men murder both her father and her cousin.

But things change for Suzume. And her life is suddenly not so perfect.

Leaving behind the place she called home was hard. But living with the murderer of her father and beloved cousin is even harder. When Suzume finds out her step-father, Lord Terayama, was behind the murders she runs. With the help of her shadow-weaving abilities she leaves behind her world, her mother, and even herself.

From lowly beggar to sought after lady of the court Suzume reinvents herself time after time in the hopes of coming one step closer to her ultimate goal: to seek revenge on the house that brought her down.

Will Suzume succeed? Or will she die trying?

Shadows on the Moon written by author Zoe Marriott joins several other retellings of the classic fairy tale Cinderella. However, Marriott's retelling doesn't rely on simply putting her own spin on the tale, instead she write a new, bold, and beautiful tale of her own.

Using subtle key aspects of Cinderella, readers will quickly pick up quickly at what makes this a Cinderella story. For example main character Suzume was once the young lady of a wealthy household, but after a series of unfortunately events ends up being a drudge in the kitchen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Violette Star on April 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I love it when a book surprises me in such a positive way that, although I don't expect it, I fall in love and hate when the story ends. This was exactly what happened with "Shadows on the Moon."

The story is apparently a re-telling of the classic Cinderella story, set in an imagined interpretation of feudal Japan. I use the word "apparently," because I really had no clue, while I was reading it, that this was a re-telling until I saw another blogger mention it. The story is so unique and nontraditional, that the parallels of Marriott's tale and Cinderella are only there if you really dig for them. 'Shadows on the Moon" itself is completely stand-alone and has an ability to keep you guessing.

The story focuses on Suzume, a young girl with a very special talent called "shadow weaving." This talent enables her to "weave" illusions over herself - cloaks of night and darkness, serene facial expressions, and other physical perceptions. Her skill comes in handy the day men come to kill her father. Without knowing what is happening, Suzume uses her gift to escape a grim fate and ends up haunted with the knowledge that she survived when she shouldn't have.

Her new life becomes one big illusion, and her need for revenge becomes her one ultimate goal. It is out of this need that Suzume encounters twists and turns, all of which paint a thoroughly imagined and engrossing story. I'm not going to lie - there are points in the book that are dark, and the themes dealt within are controversial and more contemporary. Marriott writes these so well into a book that is historical in nature, without making them feel out of place.

Vivid, and engaging, the story is really one that transports you into a different world - a world of exotic strangers, kimono-clad ladies, and blooming cherry blossoms. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters alike and would strongly recommend this book to anyone - not just lovers of fairy tale re-tellings.
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