A Shadowfell Novel
Review posted August 6, 2013.
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2012.
2013 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #5 Teen Fiction
When my copy came in for Raven Flight (no waiting on the library -- I knew I had to have one.), it made a wonderful excuse to reread the first book, Shadowfell. This book is a continuation of the story, so, yes, you need to read the first book first.
And the story doesn't finish with this one. But it does give you another chance to immerse yourself in this world. Neryn is already in love when this book starts, so the exquisite process during which she falls in love happened in the first book. She doesn't see a lot of the man she loves in this book, and he's in great danger, but they do get some time together, much to the reader's satisfaction.
But most of the book is about Neryn trying to get training in her uncanny gift as a Caller. She's been told she'll need the help of powerful lords of the West, North, East, and South. But finding them is not easy, and traveling to them is difficult in an environment where any uncanny gift is reason for horrible death, and the king's men know to look for her to try to use her as their own weapon. Right at the start of the book, the rebels learn that their time is limited. If they confront the king the summer after next, a powerful chieftain will join them. But if they wait, they will lose his support. Can Neryn get her training in time?
During the process, Neryn must go right into the king's camp to try to help her friend. But that's not the only time her life's in danger, or that of the rebel leaders at Shadowfell.
This book is full of magic, intrigue, romance, and suspense. Our heroine is challenged in multiple ways as she tries to carry out her training. Juliet Marillier writes rich, lovely prose that will keep you spellbound.
Here Neryn tries to wake some of the Good Folk to ask for their help:
As I stood there in silence, I felt the strength of stone pass into me; I opened myself to its deep magic. The call woke inside me, rising from my heartbeat and coursing blood, forming words I spoke almost despite myself. "Folk of the North! Folk of deepest earth!" The call was bone and breath, memory and hope, the past and the future. In my mind I held the many faces of stone: the roots of great trees deep in the earth; the cliffs where stanie men stood in their long, silent vigil; pebbles in the riverbed, each different, each a small, lovely miracle. Crags raising their proud heads to the sunrise; mountains under blankets of winter snow. "In the name of stone I call you! Come forth! Show yourselves! I have grave need of you, and it is time!"