By: Juliet Marillier
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: September 2012
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: September 2012
This is a story that will thrill lovers of the Tolkien world.
Readers begin by meeting a young girl named Neryn as she and her father try to find some kind of shelter from the elements with only a small amount of money in their pockets. Neryn’s father soon spies a boat in the harbor that is basically a floating gambling den. Because he and his daughter need money in order to survive, and he is an avid gambler, he decides that this is the way to a small fortune. So away he goes to find money that will see them on their way. Of course, what actually does happen is startling. Dad loses and he, more or less, sells his daughter in a card game and she ends up being taken away by a man named Flint.
Soon the King’s Enforcers come into town and kill just about everyone in it…along with Neryn’s father. Now Neryn has not only been sold but she’s also an orphan - all alone in the world except for Flint. Although her new owner says he wants to help her, Neryn is out of trust and full of fear, choosing to run away.
Neryn soon shows that she is no ordinary young girl. In fact, she has a magical gift that was handed down to her from her grandmother, and the King’s Enforcers are looking for her so that she can help the King keep his power. How can she do that?
Apparently her gift is that she can see and talk to the ‘little’ people in the land and Neryn is on her way to Shadowfell - a place that is home to a band of rebels who are training to overthrow the King and bring the land back to the people. On her journey, Neryn runs up against some very unusual people, not to mention fearing everything from the harsh, cold weather to the fact that perhaps everyone was wrong and Shadowfell doesn’t even exist.
From the ‘Good Folk’ who help her out when she gets into some pretty sticky situations; to Flint, who is actually an extremely kind individual, this is a fascinating adventure. Being the first in this series, readers can look forward to even more secrecy, romance and mind-boggling survival!