Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to recreate herself in any form – a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama, or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens, or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to capture the heart of a prince – and determined to use his power to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even love.
After I read and loved Zoe Marriott’s The Swan Kingdom I was really looking forward to reading Shadows On The Moon. Then Zoe blogged the director’s cut of the book trailer on her website and I knew it had to be the next book that I read.
The book opens with a bang, there is so much action in the first chapter and the reader is pulled straight into the book. It continues on at a wonderful pace, blending fantasy elements into a clever reimagining of Cinderella set in an alternative version of feudal Japan. The plot twists and turns, with some real surprises in it. I found that it was really hard to walk away from this book, I unfortunately had to have a break – it was that or ignore the friend I was on a weekend away with – and found myself itching to get back to reading it.
Suzume was a great heroine, I loved the way she was strong yet still vulnerable. The discovery of her shadow-weaving, and the way she had to learn to use it was such an interesting part of the plot as was her training under the guidance of Akira who was herself an amazing character. Then we have Otieno, the wonderful, swoonsome Otieno. I do love it when I can fall in love myself with the love interest in a book, and I most certainly fell for Otieno. He’s clever, and gorgeous, and skilled with a bow – what’s not to love? I enjoyed the relationship between Suzume and Otieno, and the way it twisted through the plot.
The book is written in a truly beautiful manner. The use of detail is wonderful, it’s very descriptive but you never feel overwhelmed by it. It never shys away from difficult subject matter, at times the plot is quite dark. I found that this was always balanced well, and left me thinking about plot points long after I’d finished reading.
I adored this book, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
And I couldn’t finish this review without showing you that wonderful trailer, could I?
Shadows On The Moon is published in paperback by Walker in the UK priced £6.99