By: Melanie | December 6, 2014 | (38) Comments

Review: The Year of Shadows by Claire LegrandThe Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: August 27, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, MG, Paranormal
Pages: 416
Source: Bought it
Goodreads | Purchase

Olivia wants a new life, and it might take ghosts to get it. A heartfelt, gently Gothic novel from Claire Legrand.

Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year.

Her mother's left; her neglectful father, the maestro of a failing orchestra, has moved her and her grandmother into the city's dark, broken-down concert hall to save money, and her only friend is Igor, an ornery stray cat.

Just when she thinks life couldn't get any weirder, she meets four ghosts who haunt the hall. They need Olivia's help; if the hall is torn down, they'll be stuck as ghosts forever, never able to move on.

Olivia has to do the impossible for her shadowy new friends: save the concert hall. But helping the dead has powerful consequences for the living; and soon it's not just the concert hall that needs saving.

This is another book that I read on my hiatus way back in July, but once again, a novel that really stuck to the back of my mind. The Year of Shadows is a MG novel, and a particularly beautiful one. It explored some pretty dark themes–literally and non-literally, and had the best characters.

I honestly loved all the characters in the end. The book starts with Oliva, and she’s had a really tough year–her mother left her without a word, and money started to become scarce in Olivia’s family. Her father, who Olivia calls the Maestro, made the decision to leave their old home, and to live in the concert hall instead, so Olivia’s family can save money as the Maestro tries to earn more money through conducting the local orchestra. Because of the Maestro’s absense, Olivia is alone in the back of the concert hall on most days after school. Her grandmother and a mysterious black cat are her only companions. It’s easy to feel sorry for Olivia, all alone and in not the best situations. She soon meets some people–dead and alive that begin to change her world, however.

Igor the cat was my favourite supporting character by far. His no-nonsense and blunt remarks did brighten up the novel a fair bit. He’s such a smart cat, and now I want an Igor as well. Olivia also gains a partnership with Henry, as they try to help the ghosts of the Concert Hall. Henry and Olivia’s dynamic was heart-warming, and Henry’s character didn’t go to waste either–there’s a lot of depth that is spent in his past and his own family life.

This book was as beautifully written as every other reviewer has stated. I wanted to eat all the words up, but quite frankly, it’s not possible in today’s world. Though, when I grow up I plan to invent some machine that can turn books into edible food, and taste all the beauty and magic. Sounds totally possible, yeah?

Just watch me.

We explore a fair bit of themes in this novel. The main story line is Olivia and Henry trying to help the ghosts leave the world by finding the one thing they left in our world that anchors them. And the only way for Olivia and Henry to help the ghosts is to let them ‘possess’ them as they relive their last moments before death, and seek out the thing that makes them unable to leave. It got pretty dark when the tweens were possessed because there’s a bit of murder, a lot of death and was rather remorseful. But, it all was handled ideally for an MG read. There’s also the constant nagging question of why Olivia’s mother left Olivia and the exploration of how Olivia comes to terms with it.

The Year of Shadows was a mesmerizing read that was beautiful and absolutely magical. If you love MG and haven’t read this: WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?

4 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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38 Responses to Review: The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

  1. I do love MG . . . but I just don’t read enough of it! This is definitely going on my TBR list, then, after reading this wonderful review. 🙂
    Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer recently posted…NaNoWriMo Excerpt #2My Profile

  2. Melliane says:

    Oh yes I heard abiyt this one and it sounds so much fun! Really curious about it!
    Melliane recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #121My Profile

  3. Glass says:

    This sounds like great book to pick up when you’re feeling nostalgic about your childhood years. 🙂
    Great review, Mlanie!
    Glass recently posted…The Law of Moses by Amy HarmonMy Profile

  4. I have a copy of this one for a while now but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ll bump it up my TBR! 😀 Great review!
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…Stacking The Shelves #67 & Weekly RecapMy Profile

  5. Mary Claire says:

    I’ll join you in inventing a machine that turns books into food, and then we’ll be millionaires together and can buy all the books in the world 😛
    Nice review! I’ve loved plenty of MG series before, because if I’ve loved them since a child, I always get this nostalgia that makes me so happy, so if I’ve had a bad day (or sometimes on a good day too!) you’ll probably find me re-reading some of my favorite MG books. I’ll keep my eye on this book.

    Fabulous review!
    Mary Claire recently posted…Review: Dangerous Girls by Abigail HaasMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      YES THAT’S A PERFECT IDEA! I am particularly sold on the idea of being a millionaire, lol. Thanks, Mary Claire! This is a lovely MG book, and I highly recommend you give it a go

  6. Siiri says:

    These kind of MG novels make me wish I could bring myself to read a MG novel. I’m so glad you loved the characters! And lol!!! Igor sounds like Grimalkin, don’t you think? No no-nonsense and blunt remarks etc? I really need to reread some of the Iron Fey books 😉 Haha! If only this machine would be a possibility! So glad you loved this, Mel!
    Siiri recently posted…Mini Reviews: Through the Zombie Glass & These Broken StarsMy Profile

  7. Hilary says:

    I really don’t know what I’m doing with my life…must go and borrow this book.
    Hilary recently posted…A Guilt-Ridden Monthly UpdateMy Profile

  8. I love seeing reviews for MG books. Especially happy, loving reviews like this one. I definitely don’t read enough MG, and this is one I will be adding to my TBR. Fantastic review, Mel! 🙂
    Lisa (Lost in Literature) recently posted…Lisa’s Stacking the Shelves & Weekly Recap ~ 12.6.14My Profile

  9. Missie says:

    I don’t really ever read mG but this looks so stinking cute, I love the cover!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings
    Missie recently posted…Review of Where’d You Go, BernadetteMy Profile

  10. This sounds like such a fun book! And ooh a cat character?! I’m all for that!
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Lauren’s Christmas Wish ListMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yes, your comment posted! I’m still working on fixing this thing that makes people think that their comment hasn’t posted. Sorry about that for the time being! Yes, a cat character! You need this, Lauren ;D

  11. I don’t know if my comment posted…

    At any rate, this sounds like a lot of fun. I really want to check it out. And I love that a character is a cat. 🙂

  12. Lexa Cain says:

    This sounds totally adorable! I want to read it right now! Thanks so much for the review. 🙂
    Lexa Cain recently posted…Celebrate: Walking Shadow & IWSG FreebieMy Profile

  13. Hehe, Igor the cat reminds me of the Chesire cat from Alice! This sounds like a wonderful magical and whimsical read and the fact that it stuck in your mind makes it even better. Great review Mel!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Indulgence Insider #15 – Gaming SubscriptionsMy Profile

  14. I WANT TO READ THIS REALLY BADLY. I like dark/gothicy Mg, although I did just read Winterspell by Clare Legrand and I wasn’t very impressed. >.> Still. I always like to try more than one book by an author before I make too many decisions. hehe.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…PuppyMy Profile

  15. I absolutely love reading MG and particularly the type that tends to be darker than most. I’ve heard so many good things for this one already, and Igor the Cat has my attention!
    Great review Melanie 😀

  16. Bennari H. says:

    Oh this has such a sweet cover! I haven’t heard of this one before so thanks for introducing it to me! I’m going to add this one too my Goodreads to read shelf now. Cool review Melanie

  17. Amelia K says:

    Yes, you had me at best characters! It’s an important ingredient to a good book, and 4 stars is very high from you. I definitely will be checking this one out–wait, was this the author who wrote Winterspell? I have seem so many reviews on that book lately.

  18. Divya says:

    I’ve never heard of this book till now. That cover looks pretty cute! I love MG, but good MG books are becoming increasingly harder to find. I’m gonna add this to my TBR list. Great review, Melanie!

  19. Valerie says:

    I read Winterspell by her and didn’t really like it much, but I’m glad that you enjoyed her MG book! It seems really good 😀
    Valerie recently posted…Sisterhood of the World Bloggers TagMy Profile

  20. blodeuedd says:

    Awww what a cute cover! I’d read it for that
    blodeuedd recently posted…Roulettte – Megan MulryMy Profile

  21. Yup, girl, you have officially recruited me to the Year of Shadows read parade 😉 I’ve been reading such good MG lately, and I don’t plan to stop that streak anytime soon. Will definitely read this one early next year or this month when I have the time to sneak it in. And come in, dark themes in an MG book is always a good thing ^_^
    Faye le Potato recently posted…ARC Review: The Thickety – The Whispering Trees by J.A. WhiteMy Profile

  22. Lyn Kaye says:

    Yes! You liked this one! This is my favorite Legrand book. I fell in love with it over and over!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Early Review: Cut Me FreeMy Profile

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