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Shadows Cast by Stars Hardcover – June 5, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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 novel is based. She divides her time among teaching, singing, and writing. Like her narrator, she is a member of the Metis nation. Shadows Cast by Stars is her debut novel.
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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: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,156,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Okay wow, gorgeous, gorgeous book. Like waking up in the dark.

Have you ever watched Princess Mononoke? There's that one scene where the forest god is walking through the lake, with the half-submerged trees, and there's light everywhere and yeah....

This book felt like that scene - dreamlike, dangerous, wild, spiritual.

It's definitely not going to be for every YA reader; the pace is languid, the prose elegant. But the imagery - I could see Cass's world as clearly as if I were there; smell the cold on the wind, see the shades rippling behind people. Also, while the setting is post-apocalyptic, because of the weaving of myths and legends through the narrative, I'd place this firmly in fantasy and recommend it to adult fantasy readers. I think this book has strong crossover potential.

I'm hoping there's a sequel written because while one part of Cass's journey is done (her acceptance of her powers and becoming the medicine woman) there is still so much more that has to happen, especially if Knutsson holds with her Arthurian motif.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Shadows Cast By Stars is one of the most uniquely original novels I've had the pleasure of reading within the past year. I regret that it has taken me this long to review it, but things happen for a reason and I'm always happy to bring attention to a novel whether it has just been released or published 10 years ago. Shadows is a very hard book to categorize and is sort of a genre bender. It is dystopian yet the author manages to weave in Greek mythology, Arthurian legend, and culture of the First Peoples. I think this is one of the reasons why it has been having trouble finding the right audience. Despite this, Shadows is one of the most fascinating dystopian books out there, with beautiful, lyrical writing, and characters that you come to care about.

Let's talk about characters for a moment. I thought Cassandra was a great heroine and I found myself quite sympathetic to her plight. She sort of reminds me of myself at times, an old soul that carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. She loves her father and her brother but I got the sense that she is the glue to this family dynamic. I couldn't help but fall a little in love with her brother Paul, and I think that is a huge feat and proves how amazing of an author Catherine Knutsson is. I usually get bored with brother/sister tales because one character always seems to be more interesting then the other. But Paul is such a well written character, a tortured soul that seems to be always hanging over a precipice, one step in the light, one step in the dark.

Once Cassandra, Paul, and their father are forced to leave and move to the Island, other interesting characters are introduced. I loved Madda, the village healer who takes Cass under her wing and teaches her about healing and controlling her powers.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved the story very much. It spoke to my heart and how I feel about the earth and the horrible things we are doing to it.

The prose is beautiful and haunting. The characters are original and easy to relate to, with strong influence by Native American legend and tradition, as well as much of early European Arthurian fable, and a touch of science fiction, that is not so far removed from a future painted by the influences of GMOs, pesticides, and the greed of Agricorporations.

This book is up for the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What... A let down. I was really excited for it, since it would be my first with a minority character, you know? Especially Native American. It's not that that kind of thing is really important to me, either. I read whatever sounds interesting, preferrably with fantasy, and I'm even more prone to reading romance. So this book had all three elements, interesting setting, fantasy theme, and romance. So how did it manage to ruin it itself?

What made it interesting also made it boring...if that makes any sense. What was supposed to enthrall me, like the barrier, the spirits, the totems, the mystery, the traditions...made it harder for me to take it seriously. And don't get me wrong, it's not the setting in which the author chose to create this story. It's the way she wrote it, her descriptions, her prose, etc. It was messy. So messy. All over the place. I'm not saying I could do any better, and I won't be presumptuous and say anyone else could have, either. But I was really disappointed to learn the plot of a book I paid money for and invested time in wasn't even very clear. Not even a little.

And, let's not forget the romance of the story. A young boy born to lead a band of warriors, or so his mother believes because she read it somewhere or feels it to be that way, who's also mentally unstable. A young girl suffering from seizures and constant pestering spirits, who has a brother whose gift is different, even more terrible, but not really, just as terrible–actually, no, they can see the same things...okay, now I confused myself. Point is...two people with different destines INSTANTLY are drawn to each other and not long afterwards do the deed in a lake where she almost died. Honestly their relationship was so flimsy and inconsistent (kinda like the book, really...
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