Books Young Adult Fiction Shadowfell (Shadowfell #1)

Shadowfell (Shadowfell #1) Featured

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4.7
 
4.1 (5)
1107   0
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
September 11, 2012
ISBN
978-0375869549
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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. 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.

Editor reviews

Neryn has lost everyone she's loved and is on the run. A tyrannical king has a verdict out to kill anything that has to do with magic or the Good folk. Neryn is a Caller, one that can see and speak with the Good folk. Now there's people out to capture her. A handsome stranger, Flint, appears and helps her. Neryn has learned to trust no one. Can she trust Flint with her secret? Little does she know he carries his own secret that can either help or be her downfall.

I really enjoyed this fantasy. The beginning hooks the reader right in and you can't help but wonder what part Flint plays in Neryn's struggles. I love how the author doesn't just 'throw' Neryn and Flint together but rather shows us their relationship with small and subtle steps. Nervyn's past in woven into the story without slowly the pacing down. Even when Nervyn is on the run in Alba, the pacing continues without the reader's interest wandering.

There's lots of secrets in this book. Also questions on who one can trust.

There's unique twists and turns in the plotline. Flint isn't all he seems to be but then again neither is Neryn. The heroine isn't the usual kick butt protagonist but rather struggles with what she should do. She also questions if she'll be strong like her Grandmother or younger brother. Both had died under the cruel reign of the tyrant king.

This is the first book in a new series. This captivating tale weaves it's own spell over you with it's magic and hint of romance. I can't wait to see what happens next!
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

Magical New Series

Neryn has lost everyone she's loved and is on the run. A tyrannical king has a verdict out to kill anything that has to do with magic or the Good folk. Neryn is a Caller, one that can see and speak with the Good folk. Now there's people out to capture her. A handsome stranger, Flint, appears and helps her. Neryn has learned to trust no one. Can she trust Flint with her secret? Little does she know he carries his own secret that can either help or be her downfall.

I really enjoyed this fantasy. The beginning hooks the reader right in and you can't help but wonder what part Flint plays in Neryn's struggles. I love how the author doesn't just 'throw' Neryn and Flint together but rather shows us their relationship with small and subtle steps. Nervyn's past in woven into the story without slowly the pacing down. Even when Nervyn is on the run in Alba, the pacing continues without the reader's interest wandering.

There's lots of secrets in this book. Also questions on who one can trust.

There's unique twists and turns in the plotline. Flint isn't all he seems to be but then again neither is Neryn. The heroine isn't the usual kick butt protagonist but rather struggles with what she should do. She also questions if she'll be strong like her Grandmother or younger brother. Both had died under the cruel reign of the tyrant king.

This is the first book in a new series. This captivating tale weaves it's own spell over you with it's magic and hint of romance. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Good Points
1. Great opening hook
2. Intriguing premise of a Caller
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User reviews

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Overall rating 
 
4.1
Plot 
 
4.2  (5)
Characters 
 
4.2  (5)
Writing Style 
 
4.0  (5)
This is the only thing that I have read by Juliet Marillier. I was captivated by the opening scenes and I wanted to learn more about Neryn’s past. Then when she met Flint, I wanted to know about him.

The only thing that bothered me was that I guessed he was the enemy and that they’d end up liking each other.

Right from the start I wanted to learn about Neryn, her past, her present and everything else. Neryn is an intelligent girl who is sometimes not cautious enough. She’s quick to judge and I think this was one of the reasons that made me want to finish the book. I wanted to see this flaw evolve into something better. I wanted her to have to “walk in their shoes.”

Then there’s the father, who you really want to like, but because of what he does you really cant.

Flint is the most mysterious character. He’s this guy who “buys” Neryn but not for the reasons she’s thought of. Juliet slowly reveals things about him, that we get mostly from his conversations with Neryn. He gives cryptic answers to Neryn when she asks questions and tells her the less she knows the better off they will both be. You learn a little bit about his life and personality as Neryn does and you don’t know much more. You don’t discover the full truth until she does.

Finally there’s the Good Folk. Each one of them has their own personality. Some are sweet and some are untrusting and some are not so kind. There’s Reagan’s Rebels who accept Neryn and all of the other small but important characters.

Juliet’s plotline needs those characters. It’s a sort of complex plot with a lot of subplots. We learn Neryn’s quest early on and the rest we slowly learn as the story goes on. Within Shadowfell’s 400+ pages there are a lot of conflicts. Neryn versus Nature, Neryn versus Keldric and the enforcers, Neryn versus Neryn, Neryn versus Flint. Flint versus himself, Flint versus his canny gift. There are many more conflicts involving Neryn, the good folk, Reagan’s Rebels, Keldric, the enforcers and Flint.

I believe that the strongest element in Shadowfell is the characters. I felt like they were real people. That they could have been my friends. She described the appearances and personalities very clearly. I was able to detect their motivations and reasons for doing what they did.

I really enjoyed this fantasy novel. It wasn’t a quick read but nonetheless it was a good one.
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Sasha Shamblen Reviewed by Sasha Shamblen March 10, 2013
Top 100 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (44)

amazing fantasy book

This is the only thing that I have read by Juliet Marillier. I was captivated by the opening scenes and I wanted to learn more about Neryn’s past. Then when she met Flint, I wanted to know about him.

The only thing that bothered me was that I guessed he was the enemy and that they’d end up liking each other.

Right from the start I wanted to learn about Neryn, her past, her present and everything else. Neryn is an intelligent girl who is sometimes not cautious enough. She’s quick to judge and I think this was one of the reasons that made me want to finish the book. I wanted to see this flaw evolve into something better. I wanted her to have to “walk in their shoes.”

Then there’s the father, who you really want to like, but because of what he does you really cant.

Flint is the most mysterious character. He’s this guy who “buys” Neryn but not for the reasons she’s thought of. Juliet slowly reveals things about him, that we get mostly from his conversations with Neryn. He gives cryptic answers to Neryn when she asks questions and tells her the less she knows the better off they will both be. You learn a little bit about his life and personality as Neryn does and you don’t know much more. You don’t discover the full truth until she does.

Finally there’s the Good Folk. Each one of them has their own personality. Some are sweet and some are untrusting and some are not so kind. There’s Reagan’s Rebels who accept Neryn and all of the other small but important characters.

Juliet’s plotline needs those characters. It’s a sort of complex plot with a lot of subplots. We learn Neryn’s quest early on and the rest we slowly learn as the story goes on. Within Shadowfell’s 400+ pages there are a lot of conflicts. Neryn versus Nature, Neryn versus Keldric and the enforcers, Neryn versus Neryn, Neryn versus Flint. Flint versus himself, Flint versus his canny gift. There are many more conflicts involving Neryn, the good folk, Reagan’s Rebels, Keldric, the enforcers and Flint.

I believe that the strongest element in Shadowfell is the characters. I felt like they were real people. That they could have been my friends. She described the appearances and personalities very clearly. I was able to detect their motivations and reasons for doing what they did.

I really enjoyed this fantasy novel. It wasn’t a quick read but nonetheless it was a good one.

Was this review helpful to you? 
The people of Alban are afraid. The tyrannical king and his masked Enforcers are scouring the land, burning villages and enslaving the canny. Fifteen-year-old Neryn has fled her home in the wake of its destruction, and is alone and penniless, hiding her extraordinary magical power. She can rely on no one- not even the elusive Good Folk who challenge and bewilder her with their words.

When an enigmatic stranger saves her life, Neryn and the young man called Flint begin an uneasy journey (parts of it anyway) together. She wants to trust Flint but how can she tell who is true in this land of evil? For Neryn has heard whispers of a mysterious place far away: a place where rebels are amassing to free the land and end the king's reign.

A place called Shadowfell.

I really enjoyed this book, it was a true work of magic. What confused me was that the author said that Neryn has a canny skill, but then it says the Good Folk are uncanny. I didn't really get that, but doesn't matter, its not that important.
I thought that Neryn's gift was pretty well thought out, and the rhymes that came with it:

"Canny Eyes and Strength of Stillness
Guide your path across the land
Open Heart and Steadfast Purpose
Flame of Courage, Giving Hand.

To you lost, your slain, your broken
Grant forgiveness, set them free.
Rise in strength, in truth and honour
Live for Alban's liberty."

I thought it was just the right words for its purpose, and it described Neryn's gift perfectly. I really like the second verse, it sounds so flowing.

The characters were great, and so was the plot. But what I didn't think was great was the relationship between Flint and Neryn. In the ned, everything was resolved, but if Neryn thought that Flint was lying, why did she keep trusting him over and over again. It didn't quite fit, it was just so strange and awkward for me as the reader.

I really loved this book, and it is an enchanting work of fantasy.
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Casog Reviewed by Casog December 08, 2012
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (261)

A Magical Work of Fantasy

The people of Alban are afraid. The tyrannical king and his masked Enforcers are scouring the land, burning villages and enslaving the canny. Fifteen-year-old Neryn has fled her home in the wake of its destruction, and is alone and penniless, hiding her extraordinary magical power. She can rely on no one- not even the elusive Good Folk who challenge and bewilder her with their words.

When an enigmatic stranger saves her life, Neryn and the young man called Flint begin an uneasy journey (parts of it anyway) together. She wants to trust Flint but how can she tell who is true in this land of evil? For Neryn has heard whispers of a mysterious place far away: a place where rebels are amassing to free the land and end the king's reign.

A place called Shadowfell.

I really enjoyed this book, it was a true work of magic. What confused me was that the author said that Neryn has a canny skill, but then it says the Good Folk are uncanny. I didn't really get that, but doesn't matter, its not that important.
I thought that Neryn's gift was pretty well thought out, and the rhymes that came with it:

"Canny Eyes and Strength of Stillness
Guide your path across the land
Open Heart and Steadfast Purpose
Flame of Courage, Giving Hand.

To you lost, your slain, your broken
Grant forgiveness, set them free.
Rise in strength, in truth and honour
Live for Alban's liberty."

I thought it was just the right words for its purpose, and it described Neryn's gift perfectly. I really like the second verse, it sounds so flowing.

The characters were great, and so was the plot. But what I didn't think was great was the relationship between Flint and Neryn. In the ned, everything was resolved, but if Neryn thought that Flint was lying, why did she keep trusting him over and over again. It didn't quite fit, it was just so strange and awkward for me as the reader.

I really loved this book, and it is an enchanting work of fantasy.

Good Points
-Neryn's gift. Most powerful gifts are mega dangerous, but hers seems more calm, and connecting, and the rhymes that come with this are pretty well done.
-I love the Good Folk, especially Sorrel and Sage, they were cute and powerful.
Was this review helpful to you? 


One of the most remarkable things about this book was the dialogue. The story was set in a time where electricity wasn’t real, there was no such thing as ‘industrial’ and magic was completely real. One of the things that can make or break a story that’s set in a place like this is the dialogue, and in this one it was on point. It made me feel like I was in a different time, but it wasn’t so overwhelmingly odd that it distracted from the story. It was just the right amount of different to really compliment the story.



This book is from the point of view of Neryn, a girl with a ‘canny’ gift. This book refers to the people who can use magic in some way as ‘canny’. Neryn was a really interesting character to follow and learn about, not only because of her canny gift but because of her life’s story. Everything that she did when she was younger and the evil kind Keldec took the thrown reflects how she acts now.



Her on-again-off-again companion Flint is something else. You don’t really know much about Flint until really late in the book. This helps a lot to make Flint look how Neryn sees him—untrustworthy. She can’t decide if he’s someone she can trust, or someone she should run from. And for the most part—you don’t know either.



The plot of this story was really nice. It flowed in a way to make me feel like she really was traveling a dangerous journey to Shadowfell, and at the same time passing these ‘tests’ the Good Folk tell her about. Oh, the Good Folk—some of my favorite characters in this book were those Good Folk. They’re all kinds of odd little things, but they’re all different and fun—and they help Neryn on her journey. One of my favorite characters is called a ‘Stanie Mon’. They don’t do much—but somehow they became my favorite.



This story may take a little more focus than others, but it was worth it. It was a great story, and I can’t wait for the second book to come out.
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Sydney Reviewed by Sydney December 01, 2012
Top 500 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (13)

Wonderfully different. Highly recommended.



One of the most remarkable things about this book was the dialogue. The story was set in a time where electricity wasn’t real, there was no such thing as ‘industrial’ and magic was completely real. One of the things that can make or break a story that’s set in a place like this is the dialogue, and in this one it was on point. It made me feel like I was in a different time, but it wasn’t so overwhelmingly odd that it distracted from the story. It was just the right amount of different to really compliment the story.



This book is from the point of view of Neryn, a girl with a ‘canny’ gift. This book refers to the people who can use magic in some way as ‘canny’. Neryn was a really interesting character to follow and learn about, not only because of her canny gift but because of her life’s story. Everything that she did when she was younger and the evil kind Keldec took the thrown reflects how she acts now.



Her on-again-off-again companion Flint is something else. You don’t really know much about Flint until really late in the book. This helps a lot to make Flint look how Neryn sees him—untrustworthy. She can’t decide if he’s someone she can trust, or someone she should run from. And for the most part—you don’t know either.



The plot of this story was really nice. It flowed in a way to make me feel like she really was traveling a dangerous journey to Shadowfell, and at the same time passing these ‘tests’ the Good Folk tell her about. Oh, the Good Folk—some of my favorite characters in this book were those Good Folk. They’re all kinds of odd little things, but they’re all different and fun—and they help Neryn on her journey. One of my favorite characters is called a ‘Stanie Mon’. They don’t do much—but somehow they became my favorite.



This story may take a little more focus than others, but it was worth it. It was a great story, and I can’t wait for the second book to come out.

Was this review helpful to you? 
*The publisher gave a copy of this book to me via NetGalley but that did not influence the review**

My initial thoughts after I was done reading: I think I sighed and quickly jumped on Goodreads to see when the next book will be out. I may have also put my hand over my heart because I felt all warm and fuzzy. But don’t let that deceive you. This is in no way a warm and fuzzy book. This novel is about Neryn, who has no family left so she decides to try and find Shadowfell, a place where she can be safe with her “gift”. However, getting there is no easy task. The king’s men are out to get her because her gift is so valuable and the king would like her under his control. She is intercepted by Flint, a ruggedly handsome man of few words. This is the story of Neryn’s journey and her fight to save what she believes in.

The heroine: I loved Neryn. She is young, but brave with a huge heart. She is so generous, even when her situation is so dire.

The hero: I love Flint. LOVE. He is quiet, never smiles or shows any emotion. However, his reason for this unemotional behavior is to keep Neryn safe. He is stuck in an impossible situation, yet forges ahead. He is brave and totally confident….at least on the outside. RAWR. I want him.

The Secrets: There were soooooo many secrets, but there had to be. If you knew something the Enforcers could get it out of your head with magic. So secrets were actually necessary to keep people safe. It definitely ramped up the mystery!

The ending: I loved. LOVED. The pace picked up and I could not put the book down.

Gripes: Well, none really, but if I have to nit-pick it would be that setting the scene took too long in the beginning and I missed Flint terribly. I know, it’s pretty picky and I’m such a sucker for romance so his absence was a big hole for me. I also would have liked a little more romance, but I understand that it wouldn’t have fit into the story at this point. There just wasn’t time for a love affair when lives were at stake.

Rec it? Absolutely. Shadowfell is a great story built up gradually that will keep your interest the whole time. Then it was topped off with a brewing romance that was such a tease for the next book. This is a great addition to any TBR list. Happy reading! :)
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Celeste Harrington Reviewed by Celeste Harrington October 29, 2012
  -   View all my reviews (1)

Great fantasy story!

*The publisher gave a copy of this book to me via NetGalley but that did not influence the review**

My initial thoughts after I was done reading: I think I sighed and quickly jumped on Goodreads to see when the next book will be out. I may have also put my hand over my heart because I felt all warm and fuzzy. But don’t let that deceive you. This is in no way a warm and fuzzy book. This novel is about Neryn, who has no family left so she decides to try and find Shadowfell, a place where she can be safe with her “gift”. However, getting there is no easy task. The king’s men are out to get her because her gift is so valuable and the king would like her under his control. She is intercepted by Flint, a ruggedly handsome man of few words. This is the story of Neryn’s journey and her fight to save what she believes in.

The heroine: I loved Neryn. She is young, but brave with a huge heart. She is so generous, even when her situation is so dire.

The hero: I love Flint. LOVE. He is quiet, never smiles or shows any emotion. However, his reason for this unemotional behavior is to keep Neryn safe. He is stuck in an impossible situation, yet forges ahead. He is brave and totally confident….at least on the outside. RAWR. I want him.

The Secrets: There were soooooo many secrets, but there had to be. If you knew something the Enforcers could get it out of your head with magic. So secrets were actually necessary to keep people safe. It definitely ramped up the mystery!

The ending: I loved. LOVED. The pace picked up and I could not put the book down.

Gripes: Well, none really, but if I have to nit-pick it would be that setting the scene took too long in the beginning and I missed Flint terribly. I know, it’s pretty picky and I’m such a sucker for romance so his absence was a big hole for me. I also would have liked a little more romance, but I understand that it wouldn’t have fit into the story at this point. There just wasn’t time for a love affair when lives were at stake.

Rec it? Absolutely. Shadowfell is a great story built up gradually that will keep your interest the whole time. Then it was topped off with a brewing romance that was such a tease for the next book. This is a great addition to any TBR list. Happy reading! :)

Was this review helpful to you? 
SHADOWFELL starts off with a bang as Neryn’s whole world comes crumbling down in a matter of moments. She loses her father, the only person she had left in her life. Despite him being game-loving drunk, she still felt respect for him because of the hard life he had endure. The major decision were always made by father, and now alone, Neryn faces hard decisions. Not really having a home to go to since she and her father have been vagrants for the past couple of years, she does the only thing she can think of—she flees. Believing her father’s death was her fault because the King’s men have been scrounging the kingdom of Alban looking for her because of her magical gift, she sets out to find Shadowfell, a place that is rumored to house Rebels against King Kaldec’s tyranny.

The road Neryn chooses is difficult one since the weather is turning cold and the paths are treacherous. I have to admire her courage and her dedication to get to her desired destination. She has no proof whatsoever that Shadowfell exists, but her belief in her late brother’s stories keep her going. As she makes her way north, she encounters many problems on the road, almost as if she’s being tested. Her canny gift for seeing fairy-like creatures called the Good Folk helps her quite often as they offer guidance and assistance. I think this is where the author’s strengths are—in building a creative world full of creatures and myth. The world building is spectacular and I strongly believe that it makes the book stand on it’s own.

As far as characters go, some of them were exceptional. While I didn’t care overmuch for Neryn, the little Good Folk she sees are very loveable. The way the author describes them as fey-like adds mysticism and magic to the story. Their physical descriptions were perfect, because while not too many details were given, each one of them was singled out by having animal-like or nature-like qualities of their own. Because of their hesitancy to be around humans, they weren’t a constant presence in the story, which I think added so much mystery to their race. My favorite character is Flint, a stranger who is trying to help Neryn find Shadowfell. While I hate his secrecy and his refusal to share anything with Neryn, his dedication to her welfare and to her quest is admirable. We learn more about him later in the book so I’m not going to reveal too much and ruin the story, however, I will mention that his constant sacrifices for a better kingdom makes him a hero in my eyes. The romantic relationship that we see develop between him and Neryn at the end of the book is one of the things that didn’t agree with me. To have Neryn hate him with a passion because of who he works for and because of the type of canny gift he possesses, and then a few pages later have her more or less declare her love for him simply made it hard for me to believe in their relationship. The relationship could have felt more natural if more time would have been dedicated to the romance plot.

I strongly believe that SHADOWFELL has the foundation for a good YA fantasy but for some reason, it didn’t amaze me the way I thought it would. Like I mentioned previously, the world building was wonderful and the characters were very likable. But I think the book lacked flow and motion to keep the story going. The whole book was more or less Neryn making her way to Shadowfell, sometimes alone, sometimes with Flint, and never really sure if she should trust him. The repetition of Neryn’s inner thoughts and the stories of her past prevented the story from really taking off. The book felt like an introduction to a great fantasy world but left me looking for the rest of the story.

¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
An electronic advance reader's copy was provided by the publisher.
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Stéphanie Reviewed by Stéphanie September 09, 2012
Top 500 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (15)

A great fantasy world but where is the rest of the story?

SHADOWFELL starts off with a bang as Neryn’s whole world comes crumbling down in a matter of moments. She loses her father, the only person she had left in her life. Despite him being game-loving drunk, she still felt respect for him because of the hard life he had endure. The major decision were always made by father, and now alone, Neryn faces hard decisions. Not really having a home to go to since she and her father have been vagrants for the past couple of years, she does the only thing she can think of—she flees. Believing her father’s death was her fault because the King’s men have been scrounging the kingdom of Alban looking for her because of her magical gift, she sets out to find Shadowfell, a place that is rumored to house Rebels against King Kaldec’s tyranny.

The road Neryn chooses is difficult one since the weather is turning cold and the paths are treacherous. I have to admire her courage and her dedication to get to her desired destination. She has no proof whatsoever that Shadowfell exists, but her belief in her late brother’s stories keep her going. As she makes her way north, she encounters many problems on the road, almost as if she’s being tested. Her canny gift for seeing fairy-like creatures called the Good Folk helps her quite often as they offer guidance and assistance. I think this is where the author’s strengths are—in building a creative world full of creatures and myth. The world building is spectacular and I strongly believe that it makes the book stand on it’s own.

As far as characters go, some of them were exceptional. While I didn’t care overmuch for Neryn, the little Good Folk she sees are very loveable. The way the author describes them as fey-like adds mysticism and magic to the story. Their physical descriptions were perfect, because while not too many details were given, each one of them was singled out by having animal-like or nature-like qualities of their own. Because of their hesitancy to be around humans, they weren’t a constant presence in the story, which I think added so much mystery to their race. My favorite character is Flint, a stranger who is trying to help Neryn find Shadowfell. While I hate his secrecy and his refusal to share anything with Neryn, his dedication to her welfare and to her quest is admirable. We learn more about him later in the book so I’m not going to reveal too much and ruin the story, however, I will mention that his constant sacrifices for a better kingdom makes him a hero in my eyes. The romantic relationship that we see develop between him and Neryn at the end of the book is one of the things that didn’t agree with me. To have Neryn hate him with a passion because of who he works for and because of the type of canny gift he possesses, and then a few pages later have her more or less declare her love for him simply made it hard for me to believe in their relationship. The relationship could have felt more natural if more time would have been dedicated to the romance plot.

I strongly believe that SHADOWFELL has the foundation for a good YA fantasy but for some reason, it didn’t amaze me the way I thought it would. Like I mentioned previously, the world building was wonderful and the characters were very likable. But I think the book lacked flow and motion to keep the story going. The whole book was more or less Neryn making her way to Shadowfell, sometimes alone, sometimes with Flint, and never really sure if she should trust him. The repetition of Neryn’s inner thoughts and the stories of her past prevented the story from really taking off. The book felt like an introduction to a great fantasy world but left me looking for the rest of the story.

¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
An electronic advance reader's copy was provided by the publisher.

Was this review helpful to you? 
 
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