Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers
Published: September 11, 2012
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill--a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk--Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.My Thoughts:
During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death--but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban's release from Keldec's rule. Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban.
If you are a fan of fantasy, magical beings and a story with depth, Shadowfell would be for you. This was a book recommended to me by a good friend, and I knew by reading the summary that it was one I had to read. Don’t be fooled by my rating. This is well worth the read. I love when I discover a deeper meaning behind a characters journey than just the act of moving the story forward.
Neryn’s father succumbed to his gambling and alcohol compulsion. He, like so many others in Alban had lost their way due to the malevolent King Keldec. Canny skills were forbidden to the ordinary folk. Keldec sent out enforcers to wipe away anyone that possessed these magical abilities, and cruelly used the ones he kept in his grasp. And, he wanted Neryn.
Neryn was gifted, and this gift had been a secret between her and her father, but when he drank, she was afraid he would lose his mind and speak the unspeakable.
A tragic scene set the story further in motion. Neryn escaped enforcers with the help of a hooded man, who eventually is threaded back into the story with mystery and a greater purpose. Neryn accepted a challenge to stand up for justice, and the battle she agreed to fight was for Alban’s freedom. That meant a new king and a new rule.
On her journey to Shadowfell, Neryn not only had a series of tests to pass, but she was on a personal journey as well. Along her path, she was reminded of the wise words her grandmother spoke to her, an education of sorts that helped guide her on her path to being something more than she ever could have imagined.
Neryn had help along the way from The Good Folk, and Flint, the hooded man.
This enjoyable story kept me intrigued and allowed me to escape into a whole new world full of tragedy, self-discovery, and compassion for the people in Alban. There was a specific scene where Neryn met a couple with a special circumstance that broke my heart, but played a vital role in showing the reader more about who the protagonist Neryn really was. That was one of my favorite scenes throughout this story and it was deeply touching.
I love when a protagonist is a fighter and faces obstacles head-on for the greater good regardless of the struggles to get there. That was how Neryn was. She was strong and didn't allow herself to give up because it wasn't just for her; it was for the people she’s loved and lost, and the ones who reside in Alban. Flint was a mysterious character. Through most of the story I was just waiting for him to betray Neryn. The more we learned along the way, I truly understood why he acted the way he did. I really liked him and the connection he and Neryn developed.
I would have liked to see a drawing or a map of Alban. There were many landmarks mentioned throughout and it would have been nice to see where they were. The imagery was great and easy to imagine. The story ended with a perfect opening into the next book. I can't wait to find out what is going to happen with Neryn, Flint, and the Good Folk.
Give this enchanting story a try.