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Shadowgirl Paperback – May 13, 2015
The Amazon Book Review
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"A determined girl from Faerie meets a frank, funny Irish girl in a delightfully fresh fairytale of old meeting new."
--Tina Connolly, Nebula-nominated author of Ironskin
"A fun, engaging, and unique magical adventure."
--Jen Violi, author of Putting Makeup on Dead People
"This is a coming of age narrative involving fairies, but it's no Disney movie. The magic is considerably nastier and relationships more realistic and slippery. The folklore that Ristau pulls from is older, darker stuff; a heady mix of British Isles mythology, cosmology, and history."
--Librarian and Folklorist Charlie McNabb
"A fast-paced adventure with a fresh voice."
--Molly Ringle, author of Persephone's Orchard
"Fantasy braided with Irish folklore, making the reader's journey not only entertaining, but rich with fascinating detail."
--Blythe Ayne, author of The Darling Undesirables
"This is not a fairy tale. Don't expect fairy wings, but it is filled with magic, folklore, witty dialogue and epic storytelling."
--Librarian Robert G. Monge
"An entertaining, magical read."
--Joanna Bartlett, author of The Awesomely Amazing Adventures of Cherry: Butterfly Buddies
"I love it when a book surprises me. Shadowgirl kept surprising me all the way to the last page."
--Maren Bradley Anderson, author of Fuzzy Logic
"Fast moving and witty, Shadow Girl pulls on a journey from fey lands into our world through the eyes of Ainé , a mysterious girl on a mission."
--LeeAnn McLennan, author of The Dormant Series
About the Author
Kate Ristau is an author and folklorist. She writes young adult and middle grade fiction, along with grammar primers that won’t make you cringe. In her ideal world, magic and myth combine to create memorable stories with unforgettable characters. Until she finds that world, she'll live in Portland, Oregon with her husband, her son, and her dog. If you can’t find her there, you can find her at kateristau.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a coming of age narrative involving fairies, but it’s no Disney movie. The magic is considerably nastier and relationships more realistic and slippery. The folklore that Ristau pulls from is older, darker stuff; a heady mix of British Isles mythology, cosmology, and history. As the story progresses, the world makes sense. Ristau “shows” rather than “tells” and bits and pieces of backstory and magical concepts are explained through natural dialog and contextual cues.
Like any good hero tale, Áine meets an ally right away who helps her navigate this strange new world and reach her goals. And like any good young adult novel, a romance springs up between the two. Hennessy, who comes from an alcoholic home and possesses more street smarts than most adolescents, also had a grandmother who believed in the fey and told her stories. She accepts Áine for who she is and helps her without question. Their romance is slow and tender, and remains refreshingly innocent.
Shadowgirl is a fun, quick read, with complex and interesting characters and surprises at every turn. The writing is rich and vivid, and I enjoyed the Irish words and traditions sprinkled throughout the text. By the last chapter, I was racing to see what would happen next, and when I reached the last page, the note I scribbled said “Aaah there better be a sequel!”
Full disclosure: Kate Ristau and I graduated from the same Folklore program and know each other casually. I was delighted to receive an advance review copy, which did not influence my review in the slightest.
Aine's quest to discover the truth behind her mysterious past (and find herself, too) is a common YA theme. But Shadowgirl takes place in a world of faeries - parallel with Shadowlands (the world we know as humans). This Faireland is not a world of Tinkerbell (as I may have imagined). There are power struggles, violence, and secrets, too.
The beauty to me was that while the quest to find meaning and purpose is universal - there was darkness and magic and lore mixed right in. And this only added to the intrigue.
Looking forward to the next installment to pick up where we left off with Aine, Keva, Cerean and Hennessey.
Kate Ristau has blended the world of faeries -- and yes, as all the other reviewers have mentioned, it's dark! -- with the modern world in a seamless way. Perhaps seamless is the wrong word; in fact, it's the seam between that two worlds that bonds the characters and creates interest. The two main characters, the faerie Aine and the human Hennessy both burst with personality and push the boundaries of their respective worlds.
As a folklorist, the author clearly knows her Irish tales! More interestingly, she pulls out bits of folklore that may be unfamiliar to many readers. The levels of detail in both the faerie world and modern-day Ireland make a fascinating, believable, and deep setting.
One last aspect of the book that struck me is that several of the main characters are bisexual, or perhaps curious. YA literature is doing a fantastic job of breaking away from heteronormativity. I appreciate seeing young LGBTQ characters in literature.
Highly recommended! And yes, I'll join the queue of fans eagerly awaiting the sequel. :)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was drawn in by Aine's unique point of view, then by her delightful character.Read more