“On my fourteenth birthday when the sukura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We same them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before.”
Suzume witnesses the soldiers murder her father and cousin Aimi on the day of her 14th birthday. She goes and hides in the kitchens at the back of her father’s estate, under the ashes of a hot fire. With the help of an old man named Youta, the soldiers do not find her and they leave. When her mother returns with a family friend they willingly go to live with him but soon he asks Suzume’s mother to marry him and when she agrees, Suzume knows that there is little place for her in their lives.
From the wise words of Youta Suzume realises that she is a shadow-weaver and that is how she hid from the soldiers. She can cast shadows upon her body to make her look any way she pleases, or hid from someone completely. But, forced to run away, Suzume finds a companion in Akira, who will help her hone her talents and maybe find more.
Omg, seriously, omg. You really have to read this book. Theres no which way about it! Its beautiful and amazing and you seriously MUST read it. Now… go on! Don’t even bother to read my review!
Ok so if you have decided to stay and read it (thanks) I’ll try to stop gushing. Shadows on the moon is beautiful as I said. I know from reading Zoe’s second book, Daughter of the Flames, that her writing is amazing and the way she puts words together is like a shadow weaving in itself! If nothing else draws you into this book it’ll be the writing, I want to crawl into this world and live there purely because the writing is so rich and beautiful… Ok I’m started to gush again!
The story is VERY loosely based on Cinderella. There’s not a huge amout that’s the same to be honest. Suzume flees from her house and becomes a drudge (kitchen servant) but I love the retake on it. There are sutble differences and of course there is the huge one in the whole shadow weaving thing that I loved so much!
The story is definitely one that makes you need to know what happens next. The pace is fantastic and the mysteries that develop really have you guessing what’a about to happen. I did find myself guessing one or two things correctly but it wasn’t even to say the story was predictable… more like Zoe did well in leaving clues about what was to happen. Also I love working stuff out so I let my brain think of every possibility ever! I also loved that the story touched upon some major issues such as grief, abandonment and self-harm, especially that last one, it is unusual to find a topic like that in a fantasy novel so I was surprised, but it is done so well.
The characters in this were amazing. You really get to know Suzume, and you learn to love her. There were parts in the book where I just wanted to grab her and cuddle her, or shake her to try and get her to make sense of what she was thinking of! I felt for her the same way as I would feel for my sister, the character was that real to me! Also Akira, she was brilliantly potrayed too, I loved her from the second we met her because I could tell there was something about her!
Obviously there is a love story running through the story of Shadows and this wouldn’t be a good review if I left out the amazing Otieno. He was mysterious and gorgeous and from the very first time we see him on the boat I couldn’t help but want to know more. I was so intrigued! I love that we did get to know him a bit more and that although there was something there between Suzume and Otieno I don’t think I’d quite describe it as insta-love, which we are seeing a lot of in YA at the minute, so I was happy that we saw their relationship grow from nothing.
It has been a while since I read Daughter of the Flame and I had forgotten how amazing Zoe’s style and writing bowls you over. I had forgotten how amazing it actually was, and I must not do that again because honestly, these are not my type of books, they aren’t the ones I look at and just think “I’m going to love that” because of the genre, I always shy away from historical fantasy fiction and I’m so glad that I made myself read Daughters because with that and Shadows I swear I have found a new favourite author. Everyone should read Zoe Marriott’s stuff. And I mean it, now, GO!
Shadows on the Moon is Zoe Marriott’s third full length novel. It will be published by Walker on July 7th but is out in some stores now. This ARC copy was kindly gifted to me by the wonderful Becky from The Bookette!