I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly
Series: Shadow Weaver #1
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc. on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy & Magic, General, Young Adult
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.
This book caused quite the discussion the other night between Kristin and I. Of course that same night I might have fallen asleep while we are on the phone. That has caused some serious doubt that I was actually invested in any conversation that night, though to be fair it was long after the ‘Shadow Weaver’ discussion. Let’s be honest (my review is posting before her’s so I don’t have a lot to share from her end…yet), she didn’t like the book. At all. I sorta kinda maybe did. Yes, there were flaws and I’ll share some of them with you. But there’s also some redeeming qualities to the book that I think have enough merit that I’m interested in reading the next book in the series to hopefully find some clarification.
Let’s get nitty gritty, shall we? I’m really not sure where to begin so I’m just going to random all over the place and pray you can make heads or tails of it all in the aftermath. For a middle-grade book the level of detail was random. Some things were explained in too much detail that was unnecessary (the mortar and pestle or even the apple gathering comes to mind) while other things didn’t make a whit of since due to lack of detail (the comet is a huge comes to mind). Another thing that is completely lacking in understanding is the environment and setting. I need to remind ya’ll that fantasy is not my favorite genre, I don’t read a lot of it though I don’t not like it. Following? When you create a world in a fantasy realm there needs to be a setup. An understanding of what that realm/world/what ever ya wanna call it is like. That was really not set up in this book. There were hints at this or that but I never got a feel for what was what here. With a lack of creating the environment there was a lack of creating what the special gifts/skills/powers/what have ya. I didn’t ever get the full picture of these powers and while it was skimmed over why they were being sought after it wasn’t enough. I didn’t have enough information to care even one hoot for the characters, much less two.
All of that being said the symbolism of the book carried it for me. The interplay of light/dark, shadows/light, to some degree even good and evil. The knowledge that it’s easy to be snowed under by someone you have grown up with and love and trust. (Yes that story arc was completely transparent and I knew where it was going before I think the author did – but…middle grade.) I want to see more about how these special powers play out and how they actually work. I want to understand this world and the motivation for the characters to exist and do the things they do. I have hopes that this series is redeemable and I want to be a part of that. Yes, it didn’t draw me in and make me love it but it did bring something to the table that has potential to become even more.