Review: Shadows on the Moon by Zoe MarriottShadows on The Moon by Zoe Marriott
Series: Standalone
Published by Candlewick Press on 7th July 2008
Format: Hardcover
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Source: Library
GoodreadsGood BooksAmazon
four-stars
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.

I’m not going to be short with the praise here.  I loved Shadows on the Moon pretty hard.  But this isn’t a light-hearted novel to be embarked upon by just anyone.  Hardcore epic fantasy fans used to large tomes, new worlds, language and speech that they’re not previously familiar with and novel pacing that takes its time, will be the ones who really get this book.

Suzume is a complicated character with an intense story to tell.  Shadows on the Moon chronicles this sprawling, high fantasy tale faithfully and with great attention to detail.  Once again, this will probably be something those familiar with the genre will appreciate.  The nerdy details and pedantic chronicling of a new world and submersing yourself into it occupies a particular reading niche that’s not going to endear itself with everyone.  This is a book for a patient reader, someone easily swept up in something different and amazing.  A lot of it hinges on how you relate to Suzume, who I personally adored.

She’s not a typical heroine in that she is vengeful and very dedicated toward that revenge.  Bloodthirsty and, at one point, vicious.  She doesn’t lie to herself to make nice with the world, she doesn’t make up excuses for other people being horrible.  She is an astute observer of human nature, intensely aware of the people around her – flaws and all.

The novel is flush with rich language, and gorgeous writing.  Marriot takes her time in description to give form and purpose to every aspect she focuses on.  I assure you I don’t want to wax poetical about this and, I’m about to sound really wanky when I say that she often manages to describe the essence of something just as much as what it is.

Steph will say that it just kind of moseyed along and stalled at points.  I have a very respectful, well-thought out argument to the contrary.

Don’t go giving me your reasonable, understandable criticisms!  I won’t have it!

Of course, there’s two absolute scene stealers in the book: Otieno and Kano.  Kano Akira, the fairy godmother, because she was just delightful and sweet and hilarious.  Then Otieno because he was delightful and sexy as hell.  I loved him so hard and that little lawn scene between him and Suzumi?  DAMN girl!

Over all, I loved the writing, the attention to detail, the story telling and the characters.  This is most certainly not going to be a book for everyone but it is one of the best damn Cinderella retellings I’ve ever read.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery

Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books.
Find her on GoodReads.

Kat Kennedy

Reading Feral Sins, by Suzanne Wright: This book started out okay but soon took a dive into snoresville. Predicta… http://t.co/Dt27laQFZ9 – 55 mins ago

Kat Kennedy



17 Responses to “Review: Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott”

  1. So glad you thought so. I really loved this book. It was a favorite of last year for me. I think we need to corner Steph and make her change her mind!

    • KatKennedy

      Kara_M There was a lot Steph enjoyed about this book – she just found the pacing very slow.  It wasn’t for me, but I guess it depends what kind of reader you are.

  2. Sounds like a different story to be sure, and like the kind of paranormal I can sometimes bring myself to read :D 
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I hadn’t even heard of this book before.

  3. jazchau

    I JUST heard about this from another blog and I liked the concept so I added it to my to-read. And now after reading your review I’m positive I want this.
    I still can’t grasp the concept of high fantasy and what it entails compared to just fantasy o-o

    • KatKennedy

      jazchau Well, Harry Potter is fantasy (portal fantasy).  It still mostly exists in our world but the events are fictious and fantastical.  High Fantasy is a new world with a different culture (albeit similar to one of ours), tools, religions, cultures are all made up by the author who perhaps only borrows from real cultures etc.  
      Game of Thrones, Stormdancer, Seraphina are all High/Epic fantasy.

    • KatKennedy

      jazchau Well, Harry Potter is fantasy (portal fantasy).  It still mostly exists in our world but the events are fictious and fantastical.  High Fantasy is a new world with a different culture (albeit similar to one of ours), tools, religions, cultures are all made up by the author who perhaps only borrows from real cultures etc.  
      Game of Thrones, Stormdancer, Seraphina are all High/Epic fantasy.

  4. hikarinotenshi93

    I just finished this book and I love it! I’m in full agreement with you Kat! ^^v

  5. mikiao

    I’ve been wanting to read this book like forever! I’m so going to grab the book within the next few days. :D

  6. cynicalsapphire

    “Steph will say that it just kind of moseyed along and stalled at points.”  <–My first thought: Steph needs to shut her mouth. You are, as ever, one step ahead of me, you crafty Kat.
    Otieno. He’s basically like this:  http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mez2q9HSxl1r0ixal.gif

  7. ellaangelus

    You made me want to read this SO MUCH, IT HURTS!!!
    And now I’m pretty much in love with this blog and its contents, but above all, LE GIFS <333

    Ella
    <a href=”http://readintohiding.blogspot.ro”>Read Into Hiding</a>

  8. I have this one sitting on my shelf and I definitely feel that it’s time to dust it off and dive right into it. I’m one of those people who actually love a book with a thoroughly described setting and detailed descriptions of the world – that alone makes me very excited for it! Great review Kat, love your enthusiasm (it’s contagious!)

  9. Ooooooh.
    Wait. EXTRA OOOOOH. This is a Cinderella re-telling? :O
    Kat, this sounds amazing. You’re totally piquing my interest with the THIS IS REAL ACTUALLY FANTASY, YO, but, moving on, this: “The novel is flush with rich language, and gorgeous writing.”
    *swoons*
    And then THIS:
    “A lot of it hinges on how you relate to Suzume, who I personally adored.
    She’s not a typical heroine in that she is vengeful and very
    dedicated toward that revenge.  Bloodthirsty and, at one point,
    vicious.  She doesn’t lie to herself to make nice with the world, she
    doesn’t make up excuses for other people being horrible.”
    I’m not sure if I want to eat your brain for how perfectly you’ve reviewed this, or if I want to eat the book. I’m fine with either. YOUR CHOICE.

  10. alexalovesbooks

    I will just say this – you have expressed my feelings about this book perfectly. I loved it – but it won’t be for everyone. Considering I enjoyed the cultural inspiration it drew from and loved Suzume, it was AWESOME to me.

  11. Eve Black

    You captured the best aspects of the novel perfectly. I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but there really weren’t any bad things to say about that book.

  12. […] I really loved how this one had diversity and eastern influence. The writing was gorgeous and the love interest totally swoon worthy. The main character had a good amount of character development and I really could connect with her. The beginning was a little slow for me, but the second half was much better. Need an in-depth review? Kat reviewed it here. […]

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