Author: Juliet Marillier.
Series: Yes, #1.
Publisher: Knopf Books.
Published Date: 1/1/12.
Barnes and 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.
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."
There is no slow moment in Shadowfell, not even at the beginning. The reader is thrown right into the middle of the action, like a wild roller coaster, and strapped in for the ride! Shadowfell takes places in a world where an abusive king, Keldec, rules. He hunts down, murders and scraps anyone's mind, if there is even the slightest suspicion that they might be communicating with the good folk.
The good folk are fairy like creatures, who stand only a couple of feet tall, are hundreds of years of age, who have the ability to hide and blend into their background, and who stay as far away from cold iron as possible.
In only the first chapter we are introduced to the main character Neryn, who is on the run to hide her magical power; she can see the good folk all around her.
Since the death of her mother, and the murders of her brother and grandmother, Neryn and her father have been traveling only staying one or two nights tops in the same location. They use what little that they have, and trade manual labor for a night's rest in the barn. In only the first few pages, we watch as Neryn's drunk alcoholic father gambles his own daughter away to a strange man; unsure of what he might do to her.
Scared and afraid, Neryn knows not to rust this Flint man, not matter how nice he may seem. She knows it isn't smart to trust anyone so quickly, especially in the world she's grow up in; anyone is willing to turn the other in to make a quick buck from the king. Everyone in this world is out for themselves.
When Flint offers her a way out, but begs her to stay with him, Neryn takes the opportunity to leave. She doesn't know what to do, since she is now completely alone, and unsure if she will ever see her father again. Neryn knows it's a risk, and knows it will be tough, but she makes her journey to a place called Shadowfell; in hopes that the rumors of a group of rebels residing there to be true.
But the journey is much harder than she could have ever expected. She is caught by a man who seems to lack the ability to talk or process information properly, she is even tied up and almost caught by the enforcers and dragged to the king. But with the help of the good folk and even Flint, Neryn might just make it to Shadowfell.
But Shadowfell and it's rebels might be a lot closer...than Neryn could have ever thought...and that Keldec's downfall might be a lot sooner, than she could have ever imagined..
Shadowfell was such a magically, heartbreaking, empowering read! With such an amazingly AWESOME first chapter, I couldn't force myself to put the book down. And that only got harder and harder for me to do while reading; I almost went a whole day reading and forgot to eat!
*That's saying a lot!*
Neryn was such a kick butt lead character! She was SO intelligent and thought before she did anything; she didn't make any dumb moves. She was strategic and used what she had on hand. There was never a moment where I shook my head, or thought "oh, boy.." which I do with a lot of female leading characters.
Flint was such a twist in this story, and I adored him! He was quiet, gentle and so kind, which I would have never thought possible with what Neryn discovers about him. While I liked that the two were getting closer towards the end of the book, and even kissed once or twice in the last couple of pages, I was happy that it didn't happen earlier. I liked watching Neryn travel on her own, and survive by herself. I liked focusing on her journey, on the world and on the good folk, instead of the romance. I like that it didn't overshadow everything else, but instead was faintly in the background until the end.
While I do wish we could have seen more of the good folk, I have high hopes for a fantastic battle in the books to come between the rebels and the good folk, against the king and his enforcers!
Shadowfell was beautifully written, and filled with magic! It took me to a whole different world, and the entire time I felt like I was journeying right along side Neryn the entire story!