By Juliet Marillier
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published on September 11, 2011
Source: Net Galley

Summary taken from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill—a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk—Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.

During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death—but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban’s release from Keldec’s rule.

Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban.

I love Juliet Marillier.  I will just start by saying that.  I loved Wildwood Dancing- it is still hands down my favorite book of all time.  I enjoyed her other series (but they were more mature in theme), and I was so excited to see another YA book from this author. I have to say- I was not disappointed in the least.

Now I will admit, this book started slowly.  I had a hard time with the book at first- it is the kind that jumps right into the story with no back story. The story moves slowly and grows slowly just like stories like Poison Study or Shadow and Bone.  This is a classic fantasy story that creates an entirely new world and uses incredible world building.  Things don't happen instantly- there is no insta-love or insta-powers.  Things develop organically and really are much more satisfying that way.

I think this would make such a fun movie!  I wish I could see the cast of characters- because there really is a cast of characters in this book!  I will say, I got to the end of the book waiting for some sudden action-packed cliffhanger.  This wasn't the case.  In Shadowfell, the book is almost cut off mid-scene.  It made me angry, but only because I know I have to wait for the next installment to finish what I was reading.  

I loved this book!  If you are a fan of fantasy or of Shadow and Bone- absolutely check it out!

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