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Shadowfell Hardcover – September 11, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 183 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Shadowfell Series

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Series: Shadowfell (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (September 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375869549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375869549
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.4 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #827,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley(dot)com. I loved Marillier's Sevenwater series and was so excited to read another series by Marillier. This book is beautifully written but the story moves slowly and was hard to stay engaged with. The second book in this series will be titled Raven Flight and is scheduled for a 2013 release.

Neryn is blessed/cursed with the ability to see the Good Folk. She is orphaned and all alone in the world, but gets caught up in a plot to save the kingdom of Alban from the evil King who rules it. Outside of the Good Folk her only friend is a mysterious man who has saved her life, but seems to have questionable allegiances. Will Neryn be able to help save Alban from its cursed king?

This book is written beautifully, the description is beautiful, and the landscape is beautiful. Neryn is peaceful and graceful, yet surprisingly tough....like many of Marillier's heroines.

I loved watching Neryn struggle through trial after trial and loved her interactions with the Good Folk. The main thing I really didn't enjoy about this novel was the pacing. The story moves so deliberately that at times I just lost interest. Right at the beginning of the book we know Neryn is trying to get to Shadowfell. By the end of the book she finally arrives there. The rest of the book is the story of her journey.

While Neryn's journey does have some excitement to it, mostly it is just a story of survival. She spends long stretches of the book trying to stay warm and trying to find food. She also spends a long stretch of the book alone with her thoughts recuperating in a cabin after her illness. Parts of these stretches are filled with beautiful thoughts and language; but they also come off as a bit boring.
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Format: Hardcover
Fantasy is one of my absolute most favorite genres, and Shadowfell reminded me why. It had everything: a great heroine, fantastic (but conflicted) hero, the Fae, a journey, and action.

This is my first foray into Juliet Marillier's work, and I've been told that it's not her best. I'm on hold for Daughter of the Forest at the library, so I'm withholding judgment on that until I've read more. For me, this was an excellent introduction to the author. I really loved this book!

Yeah, it's slow going at times. Yeah, it takes awhile for the action to build (it's very subtle - if you're look for a slam/bang book, perhaps look elsewhere). Yeah, the romance is slow. You know what? None of that bothered me. I relished taking my time on the journey with Neryn and finding things out as she did. I loved getting into her head and sharing her fears. I loved the ending. It was so bittersweet and beautiful. It left me longing for more, which I consider one of the many marks of a great book.

I liked the characters. I liked that they were SO flawed. I liked that they had to grow up and discover things for themselves. I liked that nothing was just handed to them. (Yeesh. That makes it sound like a heavy contemp or something. :P) I liked that they worked through things and finally (FINALLY!) reached understanding. I liked that even the Good Folk aren't exempt from the trials of Alban. They had to pass through Hell as well.

Now, obviously, this is a fantasy. In the end, we all know that the good guys are going to win and the bad guys will get theirs. In this series, though, the good guys are going to have to walk a very twisted and hard path to get there. They're definitely going to earn their victory and I love that.
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By Sarah on December 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a decidedly weak entry in Marillier's set of books. The plot is composed of two parts: Point A to point B, and two-people-fail-to-talk. The relationship that is fraught because of a failure of communication is a romance novel cliche, and it doesn't work any better here. The plot suffers from other problems as well. For example, three times the main character is left alone by the boyfriend character--why he must leave her is not adequately explained except that it frees her to go off and do stupid things.

The main character, whose forgettable name begins with an N, is a limp noodle, often does stupid things in service of the plot, and displays few admirable qualities except that she's a speshul snowflake who can see fairies. She spends most of the book sick and exhausted (poor thing). Her boyfriend is an angst muffin.

Most of the book, actually consists of the main character slogging through a wet landscape or having long talks in a cave/hut/other conveniently remote hiding place.

The main problem I had with the book, though, is that it's incredibly over-written. The plot deserves about 20,000 words and is padded to reach novel length. Skimming is the only way to get through it.

I have loved some of Marillier's other books, but the last few have been Not Good. I'm hoping for better in the future.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I fell in love with Marillier's Sevenwaters series years ago, but after reading many of Marillier's other books searching for that same spark, I'm starting to give up on it. Neryn's journey comes across as somewhat plodding and predictable, and I find myself wishing, once again, that Marillier heroines were more proactive or exciting. The romance with a mysterious, standoffish stranger is also predictable, and although it kept me reading through the book, I certainly won't be buying the sequel.
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