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.
Hardcover, 447 pagesPublished April 24th 2012 by Candlewick Press
(info grabbed from GoodReads)
I was really expecting to like this one.
For supposedly being a retelling of Cinderella set in an alternate version of Japan with a moon kingdom, there is surprisingly little magic. And what magic is there has very little spark for me. This one is really struggled to hold my attention. I could see where the book was going at every turn and that it is a story of revenge, but I'm just not feeling any urgency with the story. Everything feels drawn out and wordy. Rather than flowing right along like a river, the story moves like a trickling creek that is about to run dry. I think SHADOWS ON THE MOON is a good book, maybe a great book to some, but overall just not for me.
I was worried when reading the description that SHADOWS ON THE MOON would be similar to CINDER, in that they are both retellings of Cinderella, they have Asian inspired settings, and that they both involve a moon kingdom. However, all of those similarities just lay on the surface of both books; at their core, they are nothing alike. CINDER is a science-fantasy retelling whereas SHADOWS ON THE MOON is a slower paced tale of revenge that has very little in common with the traditional Cinderella tale. And it has no robots, which makes me sad.
Speaking of things that make me sad, the pacing also felt off. The story would stop and go as I was reading and I personally don’t like playing red-light-green-light with books. I like a nice flow, which unfortunately, I did not get with SHADOWS ON THE MOON. One thing that also worsened the slow pacing was the lack of urgency. All these terrible things happen but we’re not going to do anything other than wait. Let’s hurry up and wait. Not digging it.
Basically this all adds up to: this book wasn’t for me. If you’re looking for an anger fueled journey of revenge riddled with self-mutilation and a lot of reflection in a semi-magical Japan, SHADOWS ON THE MOON is for you. If you want a story with a bit more of a kick and excitement, maybe look elsewhere. Whatever you do, happy reading
Final Thought: 1 out of 3 moon bunny toadstools
This review is also posted on GoodReads