Apologies for bringing you spotlight Saturday a day late again, but I had another wedding I had to go to. Don’t worry there are no more weddings in my foreseeable future so hopefully I can get back to delivering this on Saturdays as intended.
Spotlight Saturday shines the spotlight on an Australian book I have loved, and although Juliet Marillier was born in New Zealand, she is residing in Australia so I’m still counting it. An our lovely neighbours are worth the read too.
From Goodreads (for the Kindle edition):
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 reading fantasy and I really enjoyed this book.
This is the first Juliet Marillier book I have read and if this book is any indication I would really enjoy her other books.
The blurb reads (from my Australian paperback edition): The people of Alban are afraid. The tyrannical king and his masked Enforcers are scouring the land, burning villages and enslaving the Canny. (People with special abilities.)
15 year old Neryn has fled her home in the wake of its destruction, and is alone and penniless, hiding her extraordinary magical power. She can rely on no-one – not even the elusive Goodfolk who challenge and bewilder her with their words.
When an enigmatic stranger saves her life, Neryn and the young man called Flint begin an uneasy journey together. She wants to trust Flint but how can she tell who is true in this land of evil?For Neryn has heard a whisper of a mysterious place far away: a place where rebels are amassing to free the land and end the King’s reign.
A placed called Shadowfell.
I loved the drama of how Neryn ends up first travelling with Flint, even though it was appalling what her father did. But then she goes off on her own and to be honest I found it a little bit boring – she spends her time being cold and hungry and miserable. It got interesting for me when Flint came back into it and then I really enjoyed it. So keep pressing on because it does get better.
I loved Flint. He was quiet and conflicted with a huge burden of his own to bare. He wasn’t this gorgeous man that Neryn fell in love with at first sight. He was plain looking but had a huge heart that made him deeply attractive in the end. I love how their relationship unfolded: slowly, cautiously, realistically. This book was not overly romantic but had just enough to keep the romance lover inside of me satisfied.
I loved the gift that Neryn had. It’s powerful and carries a large burden with it. She grew in character and became stonger, more sure of herself. I like that she was taught to be selfless and kind. Life has taught her not to trust and that is something she has to learn to do.
The good folk I found interesting; they weren’t just fairies but magical beings of different shape, size and abilities. They belong to Alban even more so than humans, and have a lot to lose under the ruling of the tyrannical king.They are drawn to Neryn and help her along the way.
It was a bitter sweet ending left open because this is the first book in a trilogy. It does have the young adult feel to it, and was much shorter than a typical fantasy.
I think teens, young-adults and adults alike will enjoy this if they like the fantasy genre. 4 out of 5 stars.
If you like the sound of this it is available on Kindle and from the Book Depository.
You can add it to your Goodreads here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17182807-shadowfell