Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Shadows on the Moon

Shadows on the Moon - Zoƫ Marriott Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker. I received my copy through NetGalley.At just fourteen years old, Suzume witnessed the slaughter of her father and cousin by the hands of soldiers and was saved only because of the shadow-weaving man that hid her and later taught her how to use her own shadow-weaving power. Upon discovering the conspiracy around her family's deaths and how it involves her mother and stepfather, Suzume flees and adopts a life of deceptions. Her ultimate goal: become the Shadow Bride of the young Moon Prince and use that power to avenge her family. All that stands in the way is her heart--specifically, her love for another man.Seeing the deaths of two family members and then being betrayed and abandoned by the only person she has left has taken its toll on Suzume. She's an angry girl on a self-destructive path for vengeance who still feels the pain of her loss every single day. Her complexities are spot-on and her all-consuming grief feels real no matter how deeply in fantasy her story is entrenched. Shadows on the Moon evoked genuine emotional reactions and mental reactions from me. Poor Suzume! I thought at points. How could her mother treat her like that? Run, Suzume, run! No wait, stop running and face it! (I have a rich inner life, especially while reading.)The book is set in the fictional Moonlit Land, but the incredible amount of research on Japanese and Chinese culture, clothing, and values that went into the novel did not go unnoticed. The hours and hours of research that went into it are difficult to imagine, but it was not for nothing. It warms my heart to see such effort put into a novel.The way shadow-weavers could find one another when they need reeked a little too strongly of deus ex machina, just a good excuse for someone to come along and help/save Suzume when she needed it. Her love for Otieno is incredibly important to the story because of how it affects Suzume and makes her question her goals. As such, it is vital to make the love between them believable, but I could not feel the connection or understand what she saw in him. I largely enjoyed the story, but these small flaws in this jewel of a novel were too conspicuous to ignore.Fairy tale retellings are popular enough on their own, but Cinderella retellings in particular seem to be a dime a dozen. Shadows on the Moon, a darker Asian-inspired twist on the tale, stands out among the competition and likely touches more deeply on the grief of losing one's family and being betrayed by the only person left, the one who should be taking care of you and instead mistreats you. Fans of the recent release Cinder by Marissa Meyer will likely enjoy this novel too.