Newest Review: ... 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 Moo... more
Stunning! Without A Shadow Of A Doubt.
Shadows on the Moon - Zoe Marriott
Member Name: Rhiana
Shadows on the Moon - Zoe Marriott
Advantages: Beautifully written, evocative fantasy world, layered and unexpected depth, romantic, compelling.
Disadvantages: The only one I can think of is that it ended!
But she has an as yet undiscovered power. Suzume is skilled in the magical art of Shadow Weaving and can recreate herself in any form. Taking on different identities to survive, from a lowly drudge (kitchen servent) to beautiful courtesan Suzume is still unable to move on from her past and has revenge on her mind. A revenge so strong she is willing to forgo everything in it's name, even love.
Why, Why Why haven't I read any of ZoŽ Marriott's previous books? This is something I intend to put right as soon as possible, because I absolutely adored her writing style in Shadows On The Moon. Described as 'Cinderella meets Memoirs Of A Geisha' and with a stunningly pretty cover, I was hoping for something magical from this book, and I definitely feel I got it. Set in a fantasy world reminiscent of Feudal Japan, the book sizzles with magic and romance.
The given comparisons in the blurb are pretty huge ones, but they are absolutely valid here. I love how ZoŽ Marriott took the story of Cinderella and completely turned it on its head. Suzume is no meek girl waiting for her prince to come along and rescue her. There are layers upon layers to her character, shown through several identities. Everything you'd expect from a fairytale is here: Wicked step parent, badly treated heroine, handsome princes, a ball and even a fairy godmother of sorts, though they all have their very own spins from the norm. But surprisingly there's so much more to this book than I ever expected. Amongst the fairytale there's a story of loss, identity, self-hatred and vengeance, which makes this book utterly compelling and ensures Suzame's story is unforgettable.
The fantastically created world is so beautiful and evocative you can almost hear the rustle of Kimono's and smell the cherry blossom. It's rich in detail, with sumptuous descriptions of clothing and surroundings bringing them vividly to life. One particular dancing scene towards the end is described with such detail and passion I could imagine it happening and the intensity of it made me emotional. I think this may be one of my favourite scenes ever in a book...it's breathtaking!
Then there's the romance. Ohhh how gorgeous this is, real old fashioned fairytale romance; dark, tortured, dangerous and passionate. It swept me off my feet. The magic I hoped for was there in abundance as we're introduced to the mystical world of the shadow weavers. All these elements blend together seamlessly to create an epic tale, which completely blew me away. Yet amongst all the magic and romance Marriott raises the serious and relevant subject of self harm. Written with empathy and understanding I felt Marriott captured Suzama's feelings perfectly and realistically, and through these sections she sheds light on a difficult to understand topic. This really is a book with many hidden depths.
So as you can probably tell, I LOVED this book. From the very beginning Suzame's story and ZoŽ Marriott's world captivated me. I was completely lost inside this world; it wrapped itself around me as if the shadow weavers themselves had cast a spell. I know this book is one that has left a lasting impression and I'll think of for a long time to come.
Published by Walker July 2011
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy to review.
Summary: For once the comparisons are justified. Amazingly good book and a new favourite author