Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly
Release: January 2nd 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Shadow Weaver Synopsis:
The shadows that surround us aren’t always as they seem…
Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar. 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. The first in a dark middle-grade fantasy duology, MarcyKate Connolly weaves a tale filled with shadows, danger, and magic that has the feel of a new classic.
I had high hopes about “Shadow Weaver”. From its cover and synopsis, it reminded me of other middle grade atmospheric thrillers like ‘Coraline’ and ‘Doll Bones’. However, once I finished reading it, I felt disappointed and wished it had been more exciting.
My main complaint about “Shadow Weaver” is how the story is slow and repetitive for the most part. This is one of those stories that has an engaging start, a boring middle, eventually leading to a gripping climax. The beginning sets a very nice haunting pace for what we can expect to follow as the plot thickens. It has all the ingredients for a good spooky novel, like magical people, devious shadows and a powerful villain. Some parts were just downright eerie, like when Emmeline meets Simone (who reminded me of the twins from ‘The Shining’). However, once the pace cooled down, and Emmeline meets Lucas and his family, the story starts to drag. We read how kind she feels his family is, versus how resentful Dar is in every other page. There were also parts that could have been cut out, like all the scenes with the Rodan family. They did not add anything to the plot, in my opinion, and could have just as well been avoided.
Coming to the positives, I enjoyed MarcyKate Connolly’s style of writing. It is simplistic and written in a very fairy tale like manner that any age group can enjoy. While I thought the book dragged in between, I commend the author on how she wrote the progression of Emmeline. Emmeline (I love that name!) is a character you can relate to and root for. We see her go from a weak, isolated girl relying on her shadow, to a confident girl who takes charge. The supporting characters, like Lucas and Miranda are also likeable. Kudos to Nicole Hower, the illustrator behind the beautiful artwork cover.
Even though this is the first in the series, it concludes in a satisfying manner with something to look forward to. I hope the next book in the series has a lot more action and adventure packed into it. I also hope to see more characters with special powers, and not just restricted to Emmeline and Lucas. Overall, this was a nice read, but I wish it has been better.