All Shadow wants is to run away to freedom. But alas, she does not have that luxury. Years ago, it was prophesized that the young queen Audrey would die before her sixteenth birthday, and so Shadow, an orphan girl, was given the duty of being the queen's companion and protector. When tragedy and murder strike, Shadow is forced to flee the castle under the protection of young Sir Kenway. She does not know why she must follow the knight's orders or where she is going, yet she continues on, determined to enjoy her freedom. But with the kingdom in shambles, secrets and conspiracies abounding in the royal court, and a mysterious force at work, Shadow finds out that she has more power to save her country than she ever thought possible.
Shadow is a lovely and thoroughly enjoyable fantasy. I just adore stories that can effectively combine palace intrigue, a quest, and some kind of supernatural element, because this combination usually leads to a fascinating story. Shadow is no different. Although it's possible that it makes this story seem a little less original, it's still a great read. Protagonist Shadow is a strong and stubborn girl that readers will identify with, especially during her internal struggle between her desires and her duties. There were several instances where characterization seemed a little off or certain situations were too bizarre or made no sense, but overall, the characters and plot were very well done. This is a light and fun read with a clean, sweet ending that will bring a smile to readers' faces.
Shadow is sure to be enjoyed by fans of Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, The Keepers' Tattoo by Gill Arbuthnott, and Spindle's End by Robin McKinley.
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Rachael Stein (thebookmuncher)
THE BOOK MUNCHER is the reviewing alias of a prolific teen reader. She is guilty of several overflowing bookshelves in multiple states. Her literary diet is mostly dedicated to the young adult fiction … more
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Grade 5-9 Shadow has grown up with young Queen Audrey. A prophecy at the queen's birth predicted her death before her 16th birthday, and by staying at her side constantly, Shadow is supposed to help prevent that fate. While the two girls were close when they were younger, now that they are nearly 16, Audrey criticizes and taunts Shadow, who resents her lack of freedom and identity, never having known her parents. When Audrey dies suddenly, Shadow takes advantage of the ensuing chaos to escape the palace, with the help of Sir Kenway, a knight who was a close companion of Audrey's. As Shadow travels, she discovers clues to her own identity and destiny, and she has to mature and accept the new role that is being offered to her. Moss has created a complex story full of intrigue and secrets, with Audrey's regent and advisors sometimes seen as supporting her and sometimes against her, and with a variety of factions looking for power after her death. Shadow's first-person narration captures readers' interest and pulls them into the story as they come to understand her situation along with her. Her growth in perception and understanding as she moves beyond her own self-centeredness adds to the story's depth. Fans of fairy-tale retellings like Robin McKinley'sBeauty(1978) and Gail Carson Levine'sElla Enchanted(1997, both HarperCollins) will enjoy this tale's slightly more mature mix of fantasy and adventure with a touch of romance.Beth L. Meister, ...