By: Melanie | May 12, 2014 | (23) Comments

Mini Review: Shadowfell by Juliet MarillierShadowfell by Juliet Marillier
Series: Shadowfell, #1
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Release Date: July 1, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Pages: 349
Source: Received in exchange for review
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The people of Alban are afraid.

The tyrannical king and his masked Enforcers are scouring the land, burning villages and enslaving the canny.

Fifteen-year-old Neryn has fled her home in the wake of its destruction, and is alone and penniless, hiding her extraordinary magical power. She can rely on no one – not even the elusive Good Folk who challenge and bewilder her with their words.

When an enigmatic stranger saves her life, Neryn and the young man called Flint begin an uneasy journey together. She wants to trust Flint but how can she tell who is true in this land of evil?

For Neryn has heard whisper of a mysterious place far away: a place where rebels are amassing to free the land and end the King's reign.

A place called Shadowfell.

A story of courage, hope, danger and love from one of the most compelling fantasy storytellers.

Shadowfell is my first book by Juliet Marillier. Before the publisher contacted me about the third book of this series, and I admit, I had no clue who this author was.  But now, I can definitely see where all the love for Juliet Marillier is coming from.

I thought of betrayal and how it came so easily – in a word, a glance, a gesture.

It’s the writing. Juliet Marillier writes beautifully and I devoured every word of it; this was probably the aspect that transcended my expectations most. Unfortunately, this book falls in the category where there’s beautiful, beautiful prose but felt boring. That probably sounds incredibly odd, but there’s been many times where I’ve read a book, loved the prose but just struggled to keep attentive and engrossed into the novel. Sometimes I wonder whether the author is focusing way too much on writing brilliantly, that he/she forgets that we are humans and we get bored if nothing is happening if there are just words words words… and no action.

My second major nit-pick was the main character, Neryn. She’s not particularly irksome to begin with, as I was expecting some character growth however she remained naive and way too innocent  throughout the book. Maybe it’s just that I am not used to reading such pure characters who try to see light in every other character, but she stayed like that the entire journey which I began deem as unrealistic.

Aside from a few problems, Shadowfell was a beautifully-crafted tale that many fantasy/magic lovers will fall in love with. I am definitely curious to see how everything continues in the next instalment.

~Thank you Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me this copy!~

3 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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23 Responses to Mini Review: Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

  1. I toootally get you with the “beautiful but boring”. I’ve read a ton of books that fit that category, and it’s so hard to review/rate them. 😉 I really loved how you summed it up though! I’m more into books with action and dialogue instead of really detailed and thoughtful prose. I hadn’t heard of this one until now, either.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Gone by Michael Grant (You need this kind of trauma in your life.)My Profile

    • Melanie says:


  2. Nara says:

    I definitely agree that there’s not too much happening in terms of the plot! It kind of felt like LOTR where it’s basically just the characters walking around for the entire book lol. The writing is pretty nice though 🙂
    Nara recently posted…Review: How They Met, and Other Stories by David LevithanMy Profile

  3. Oh, the writing style in this one sounds absolutely brilliant, though you’re right, Neryn sounds like a nuisance, which is unfortunate. Despite that though, this sounds like the perfect fantasy for me! Great review 🙂

  4. I absolutely agree… I tried this one for a while before putting it on hold, and while I found the prose beautifully worded, it was just boring for me. It was quite telling than showing, don’t you think? >_<
    Faye D’Social Potato (@kawaiileena) recently posted…ARC Review: The Murder Complex by Lindsay CummingsMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah there was more telling than showing, and I found the beginning to be really hard to get into, but it does get a little better after a few chapters

  5. I haven’t read this one, but I do agree that there are books that are so beautifully written yet fail to fully catch my attention. And I prefer books that captivate me enough to finish it in a day or two.

  6. I tried reading this one a few months back, BUT IT WAS SO BORING. I DNFd half way through which was sad, as I wanted to love it 🙁 Oh well, you can’t love ALL the books, no matter how much you want too.
    Ella @ Once Upon a Bookish Time recently posted…Review: Starling by Fiona Paul (More of a series review)My Profile

  7. Melliane says:

    ah yes it must a be a little long. It’s nice that the writing style is amazing but when nothing happens it’s difficult…
    Melliane recently posted…Interview with Felicity HeatonMy Profile

  8. I was sent the second book in this series so I dismissed it because I’d never read anything by her, despite hearing v.good things! Now, you might have convinced me to start these books, I love beautiful prose

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist
    The Bookish Manicurist recently posted…We Were Liars by E.LockhartMy Profile

  9. Shadowfell was my first Marillier book as well and, having read eight more of her books since, I can confidently claim it’s her worst. Truly. Try out her Adult Fantasy and try not to fall head-over-heels in love with her work. It’s impossible. 🙂
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…ARC Review: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCourMy Profile

  10. Zoe N. says:

    Despite the minor problems you had with this, everything else sounds absolutely intriguing! I agree, it’s difficult to read on when virtually nothing happens, but I’m glad you stuck through this one. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing Mel! <3

  11. I really enjoyed this one. The beginning was a bit boring, but once I got past that I really liked it, but I do love high fantasy. The second one is even better and I can’t wait to read the third. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Rochelle Sharpe recently posted…YA Book Lover: A Short Story.My Profile

  12. Great review Mel, I received this one from Nara and I look forward to reading it. I really enjoy beautiful prose and sometimes I don’t mind if there isn’t much happening, if it isn’t supposed to be an action-packed book. Lovely review hun <3
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige Review: Twisted Nightmare OzMy Profile

  13. I completely get what you mean about how beautiful writing can still accompany a boring story. I know I’ve appreciated many authors’ writing styles in the past, but haven’t cared at all for their characters or their plots. Still, I’m glad you liked this well enough overall and are curious enough to read the next book. I really need to try something by Juliet Marillier soon!
    Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted…Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula StokesMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      You definitely do! Keertana just told me that this one is her worst work so you might want to start elsewhere (her adult fantasy series, I believe?)

  14. Words are just words, until they are made beautiful. But yes, beautiful can be boring. I understand how that can be a struggle for you, it’s an issue for me, too. I like books that captures me from the get-go. At least, despite the minor issues, you were able to like the book 😉
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Review 171 : This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. SmithMy Profile

  15. Romi says:

    I love the cover for this one- it’s so fairytale-esq and would just look beautiful exposed on a bookshelf. I think I would hold off reading this one because of the the lack of plot and issues you had with the protagonist, but the writing sounds truly exquisite. Perhaps I’ll pick it up if I see it at the library one time.
    Lovely review, Melanie!
    Romi recently posted…Plotting a Takeover: Character Buys 5.My Profile

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