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Shadows On The Moon by Zoe Marriott

The Blurb On The Back:

This Cinderella doesn’t crave love. She only wants revenge …


Suzume is a shadow weaver. Her illusions allow her to be anyone she wants – a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? A heartbroken girl of noble birth? A drudge scraping by in a great house’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, she is determined to capture the heart of a prince – and use his power to destroy those who murdered her family. Nothing will stop her. Not even love.




Suzume lives with her father (a poet and minor nobleman), her mother (a great beauty from a noble house) and her orphaned cousin Aimi. While her mother is away, Suzume’s quiet life is changed forever when the Moon Prince (ruler of the Moonlit Lands) finds her father guilty of treason and sends troops who execute him and murder Aimi. Suzume only escapes because she’s a shadow weaver, able to create illusions that concealed her from the troops and because she’s protected by the family’s cinderman, Youta, a fellow shadow weaver who begins to teach her about her gift.

Suzume’s mother marries Terayama, a friend of Suzume’s father and an ambitious nobleman who sees a visiting delegation from Athazie as his ticket for advancement in the Moon Prince’s court. Suzume feels a connection with Otieno, the son of the delegation’s leader, but when her mother falls pregnant she discovers a secret that puts her life in jeopardy and sets her on a course for revenge ...

Zoë Marriott’s YA fantasy standalone reimagining of Cinderella transforms the fairy tale’s key elements into an intelligent revenge tale set in a quasi-Japanese society that takes in issues of self-harm and although the romance element didn’t quite work for me, the fantasy elements made for an enjoyable read that kept me turning the pages until the end. Marriott does particularly well with depicting Suzume’s emotional journey in the book – I believed in the reasons for her self-harm, her guilt and her suppressed rage and desire for revenge and her relationships with her mother, Terayama, Youta, Otieno and Akira all feed into her character and shape her development. I wished that there had been more depth to the romance with Otieno who is a character with a lot of potential – instead it’s too much of an insta love thing with little real contract to justify the bond – but Akira does make up for that as she certainly has the more interesting backstory and a great twist that I really enjoyed. Also interesting is Suzume’s mother – a flawed woman driven by her own ambition, need and also jealousy and uncertainty – and I wished that Terayama had some of the same depth. The shadow weaving elements are integrated effectively into the story and the world building is solid and interesting. All in all this is a good, page-turning read and I will check out Marriott’s other work.

The Verdict:

Zoë Marriott’s YA fantasy standalone reimagining of Cinderella transforms the fairy tale’s key elements into an intelligent revenge tale set in a quasi-Japanese society that takes in issues of self-harm and although the romance element didn’t quite work for me, the fantasy elements made for an enjoyable read that kept me turning the pages until the end. Marriott does particularly well with depicting Suzume’s emotional journey in the book – I believed in the reasons for her self-harm, her guilt and her suppressed rage and desire for revenge and her relationships with her mother, Terayama, Youta, Otieno and Akira all feed into her character and shape her development. I wished that there had been more depth to the romance with Otieno who is a character with a lot of potential – instead it’s too much of an insta love thing with little real contract to justify the bond – but Akira does make up for that as she certainly has the more interesting backstory and a great twist that I really enjoyed. Also interesting is Suzume’s mother – a flawed woman driven by her own ambition, need and also jealousy and uncertainty – and I wished that Terayama had some of the same depth. The shadow weaving elements are integrated effectively into the story and the world building is solid and interesting. All in all this is a good, page-turning read and I will check out Marriott’s other work.

Thanks to Walker Books for the review copy of this book.
Tags: fantasy, walker freebie, zoe marriott
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