I received this book for free from publisher unsolicited in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Shadowfell #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on September 11th, 2012
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Source: publisher unsolicited
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.
Neryn lives in Alban, where magic is banned by King Keldec. No one, but her father knows about the power that grows inside her each day. Yet she knows of a place where she will be safe, where people with powers like her will be welcomed with open arms, a place called Shadowfell. With help from a brooding man named Flint, she discovers exactly what she’s capable of.
I happened to love the hero in this novel. Flint was your typical attractive, brooding hero, but as most male characters have, a distorted past that shapes them to be who they are. Flint’s no different. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but I wanted a more detailed history of Alban? And more character development with Flint! As for Neryn, I admire her moral qualities and values. She wasn’t physically tough like other kick-ass characters, but I believe she was strong mentally and emotionally. I was so very glad that this novel didn’t include any instant love. The romance builds slowly, and I happily gobbled up the pages whenever the two would interact.
The fantasy realms blended with the story-line quite well, and it happily reminded me of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. There’s a lot of detail, so you must be patient when reading. It does get a tad boring, and the journey stretched on, but read on, and you’ll be surprised at how much you’d like it. I know I did. Skip this if you don’t enjoy fantasy or long winded journeys.
This is my first read of any book by Juliet Marillier, and I can happily add her to my list of fantasy authors.