Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on January 2nd 2018
Fans of Serafina and the Black Cloak and The Night Gardener will devour Shadow Weaver, the first in a dark middle-grade fantasy duology that's filled with shadows, danger, magic, and has the feel of a new classic.
Emmeline's gift of controlling shadows has isolated her from the rest of the world, but she's grown to be content, hidden away in her mansion with Dar, her own shadow, as her only company.
Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble's mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.
With the noble's guards on her trail, Emmeline's only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline's not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it's hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.
Let’s start off the New Year with something a little different, shall we? It’s a Middle Grade review! I don’t spend a lot of time in the middle grade realm but I do occasionally dabble. I first heard about this book on the Booked All Night podcast when one of the hosts was raving about it. So when I saw it on netgalley a few days later I decided to give it a go.
First, let me say the cover for this book is absolutely gorgeous. I mean seriously I would love a poster of it to put on my wall. It’s dark but also has a bit of color to it so that it can still appeal to the middle grade audience.
Now, for the book itself. At first SHADOW WEAVER is a little hard to get into. The establishment of the world is kind of slow and it takes a minute to build momentum. However once you do SHADOW WEAVER is a crazy fast read. The book hits its stride and off you go until before you know it you’re 70% done and all hell has broken loose.
I absolutely love, love, love, love, LOVE the magic in this book. I love the rules and how it works, how the good characters use it verse those who use it for ill, and all the world building behind it. It really is the best part of this book for me. I can’t wait to learn more about it in the next book since the scenes where characters use magic in this book are written so beautifully.
The main character Emmeline is very sweet and innocent, naive to the point where it causes her a lot of problems. Her shadow, Dar, is her best friend but no one else can see or hear her. This can only go badly. Poor Emmeline is resourceful and determined, I’ll give her that much. If she wasn’t this book would be kind of dull and incredibly predictable.
As it is I did kind of guess the twist. I mean it’s middle grade, you can’t expect to be wowed by an out of nowhere plot twist. There has to be some pretty obvious breadcrumbs. And there are, but in a good way. This book builds suspense well. Even though you know shit is about to hit the fan you can’t wait to see it happen and what the MC will do about it.
The ending is a little sickly sweet and convenient but, you know, middle grade. I am glad to know that this is going to be a duology because I want to see it get dark and gritty again in the way that this story is totally built for. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for that second book.
I recommend this book for the middle grade reader in your life. Adults can actually get something out of it as well, which is nice, but it will definitely be satisfying for younger readers.
Interested in SHADOW WEAVER? Read it already? Share your thoughts in the comments.
From my shelf to yours,