Wednesday, September 21, 2011

[Review] Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott

Title: Shadows on the Moon {goodreads}
Authors: Zoë Marriott
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 07/07/11
Publisher: Walker Books UK (will be in US in 2012)
RRP: £6.99
Source: Bought
Age: 14+
Pages: 450
My Rating:

"On my fourteenth birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before."

Suzume is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she wants to be. Except herself.

Suzume died officially the day the Prince's men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no longer sure of her true identity.
Is she the girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?

Everyone knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama.

And nothing will stop her. Not even love.
My thoughts: 

{Sorry for a short-ish review. It's been a long time since I last wrote a review (1 month!), but I just finished this book a few days ago and it's fresh on my mind. I wrote up some more but I lost the rest due to a black-out. Nasty little buggers!}


First, I should mention that my knowing about SHADOWS ON THE MOON's experience starts with THIS TRAILER (hehe you can still read my comments). This was RIGHT up there on my list, along with Anna and Matched and Across the Universe, etc. I really pushed my expectations to the limit, and although I should have been setting myself up for disappointed, I was STILL terribly pleased.

SHADOWS ON THE MOON is such a beautiful story. This book is a sort of retelling of Cinderella, except it's much darker and rather than a submissive Cinderella whose only dream is to go to the ball, Suzume is out for revenge. When her father is murdered, it's all Suzume wants.

When Suzume runs away from her deceptively evil step-father (see the gender switch here?), she discovers that she is a Shadow Weaver. Someone who can cast shadows that create illusions. Hide her scars, hide her emotions, her identity. Only one person will be able to see through them all, and he shares the same powers. A foreigner whose dark skin marks a stark contrast to her own.

The characters in SHADOWS are amazing! They're complex and well developed - Marriott knows exactly how to flesh out a character to make them all have their own agendas and lives and make you actually care about what happens to them. I really liked Suzume, though I suppose by the end of the book she's a completely different person. I love the procession of events that transforms her though, and I find the whole concept of Shadow Weaving really fascinating. I wish there were a sequel - I'd definitely pay another $7 to read more haha. ;)

*ahem* The one downfall I really have to say is that it at times was long-winded and all I wanted to do was put the book down for a bit. There is a lot of heavy stuff in the book so that could attribute to it, but there's also a lot of description. While not bad in itself, I did expect/crave a little bit more action.

SHADOWS ON THE MOON is a highly recommended high fantasy novel that delves into Japanese culture and plays on the age-old Cinderella story. If you're looking for something achingly beautiful and emotional, look no further. It will also probably have you on the next imaginary flight to Japan, because world-building? Wow.

I know Zoë said it's not really Japan, but it kind of is. :P


First lines

"On my fourteenth birthday, when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before.


"A shadow weaver's principle tool is mirdirection. ... This is the trick the senses play, you see. People trust their eyes above all else - but most people see what they wish to see, or what they believe they should see; not what is really there. It takes long study or intense desperation to overcome the illusions most of us carry in our minds.

(p. 66, Youta)

The night sky weeps snow
Heart pierced by the moon's beauty,
Just as you pierced mine.

(p. 329, Otieno)

...and some more. I'd have to dig harder for them though. :P Read it for yourself! There are SO many great quotes in this book.


* cheapest Australian e-store price


Fishpond | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders * | The Nile


All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: ---

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