- Page Count: 410
- Release Date: September 11, 2012
- Publisher: Knopf
- My Rating: 4 stars
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.
I definitely see how this story was too slow for a lot of people, but I thought it was all rather peaceful because I loved the setting so much! I was mostly looking for another book with Celtic roots and/or fae elements.
The basic plot is that Neryn’s drunk father gambles her away to a stranger at the start of the story. She’s secretly a Caller and is able to talk to/attract the Good Folk, but it’s a rare talent the king could use in his evil plans. The first half of the book is mostly Neryn walking through a LOT of pretty scenery and hiding… the guy who took her from her father comes and goes. His name’s Flint and he reminded me a lot of Aragorn as Strider.
Flint has his secrets. Neryn has her secrets. They don’t tell each other anything. The book would have been over in like 100 pages if they had just been open with each other. Basically, most of the story can be summed up as everyone telling Neryn not to do something… and then she turns around and does it. She makes some questionable decisions, but I still liked her as a character! And the story gets going more once she meets up with the rebel group and learns what Flint is.
So I ended up really enjoying this despite the SUPER slow pace. It reminded me a bit of Ever the Hunted or The Lord of the Rings with how I didn’t mind all of the walking through forests. I guess there’s something about medieval Irish type settings that make slow plots lovely instead of boring for me.