Title: Shadows on the Moon
Author: Zoe Marriott
Publisher: Candlewick Press
From the Publisher: A powerful tale of magic, love, and revenge set in fairy-tale Japan.
Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to re-create herself in any form - a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother's new husband, Lord Terayama? Or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama's kitchens? Or is she Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to use her skills to steal the heart of a prince in a revenge plot to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even the one true aspect of her life- her love for a fellow shadow-weaver.
I really had no idea what to expect from this book when I requested it from NetGalley – all I really knew was that it was a re-telling of Cinderella, but I’m so glad I did! The publisher’s summary does not do the book justice.
Suzume has been through a lot in her lifetime – at fourteen, she witnessed the murder of her father and cousin at the hands of the royal guard, narrowly escaping with her own life. Her mother quickly remarries and her stepfather is willing to risk Suzume’s life if it will gain him a profit. At every turn, it seems that something goes wrong in her life – until she meets Akira and Otieno.
I don’t want to give anything away, but let me just say that Suzume is a beautiful young women with a strength of character that I truly admire. The paranormal/fantasy aspects of the story were also fascinating to me – I would love to have the ability to create such illusions.
The only thing I wish had been expanded on was the notion that Suzume was special with her gift and that it had manifested itself in ways that the world hadn’t seen in generations. It was touched on, but never fully explored. If we had seen more of that story, the book would have felt complete to me.