Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Review: Shadows on the Moon - Zoe Marriott

Suzume is a shadow weaver.
She can be anyone she wants.
Except herself.

Only one man sees through her illusions.
Only one man loves the girl within.
And he will not give her up.
Not even to a prince.

The Moonlit Lands Series:
(These are companion novels set in the same fictional version of Japan but there is no crossover of characters so they can both be read as standalone stories)
Shadows on the Moon
Barefoot on the Wind

Visit Zoe Marriott's website more information.

Suzume lived a happy life until the day the prince's soldiers turn up and accuse her father of treason. When her entire household is slaughtered Suzume barely escapes with her life but nothing will be the same for her again when she is forced to go and live with her mother and new step-father. As she finds out the depth of the betrayal against her family she is forced to go into hiding but she is determined that one day she will get her revenge.

Shadows on the Moon may be a retelling of Cinderella but in this story Suzume is no weak character who is waiting to be rescued by her prince. Instead she is fierce and determined not only to survive but also to get revenge for the wrongs done to her family and she will do whatever it takes to succeed. Suzume has very good reason to want to make sure the person responsible for her father's death is punished and I was caught up in her emotions alongside her desperate for her to succeed. You feel every moment of Suzume's grief, hurt and anger and you can't help but feel for her as she tries to find a way to deal with the unfamiliar emotion. With nobody to turn to for support she expresses her feelings by taking her internal pain and making it external. The relief she feels from cutting herself is never glorified but it is heartbreakingly realistic and added a powerful element to the story.

Suzume is a character I adored from the beginning but we are also introduced to some wonderful side characters that she was very lucky to have in her life. From the servant Youta to famous courtesan Akira and the absolutely swoonworthy Otieno I was drawn to them all and was glad that Suzume had such loyal and supportive friends. She desperately needed them considering the terrible relationship she had with her mother and the devious ways of her evil step-father. I don't want to go into too much detail about these other characters because I don't want to give spoilers but I have to say a little more about Otieno. He was the one person who saw through Suzume no matter what her disguise and who cared for who she was inside. An utterly adorable character who completely stole my heart, I want to find an Otieno of my own!

I haven't even touched on the setting for the story which is beautifully described and will take you back in time to feudal Japan. Zoe Marriott has masterfully woven history and fantasy together to create a world that you want to step into, if I could live inside this book I'd be packing my bags today! I loved finding out more about Japanese culture and was fascinated by life in the Gijo, the costumes and the practises of the courtesans. The feel of the story definitely took me back to the first time I read Memoirs of a Geisha and captured my imagination in the same way.

I really don't think I have the words to express just how beautiful Shadows on the Moon is, this story touched me in ways I can't even begin to describe and despite the fact that it is 460 pages long I read it in one sitting. I stayed up until 5am reading because nothing could have dragged me away from Suzume's world and I was desperate to see how things turned out for her. If Zoe Marriot wasn't already on my list of favourite authors this would have earned her a place there and I'll be shocked if this doesn't end up in my top 10 books of 2011 list. I can't recommend the story highly enough, it may be aimed at young adults but I think it is something that everyone should read and if you don't pick up a copy you'll be missing a real treat!

Source: Received from Walker in exchange for an honest review

Other reviews of this book:
My Favourite Books
Fluttering Butterflies
Writing from the Tub
Serendipity Reviews
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle


  1. What a great review, Sarah! Thank you so much - if people don't want to read it after seeing this then I just give up! *Hugs*

  2. Thanks Zoe, I really think Shadows deserves to be a best seller & hope it quicly becomes one :o)

    Thanks Viv, I still don't think I did the book justice but I've done my best!

  3. Brilliant review. I bought this book a few weeks ago but haven't started it yet. I'm bumping it up the pile now!!

  4. Perfect! What an insanely awesome review!! I LOVE Zoe. Like, hardcore. Haven't read this one yet, because I'm in the US, but I'm DYING for it! Both of her other titles are favorites! Your review makes me SO excited to read this! (As if I wasn't already. :P)

  5. @ SJH - you're in for a real treat! I hope you love it as much as I do :o)

  6. @ Ashley - I hope you can get hold of it in the US soon but make sure you enter my international giveaway & you might win a copy :o) This really was my favourite of Zoe's books so far which is saying something because I loved The Swan Kingdom!

  7. You gotta love a fiery Cinderalla. It must be good to read 460 pages in one go!

  8. @ Hannah - Suzume was definitely a kick arse Cinderella lol :o) I literally couldn't put this down, I had to keep reading! Definitely loved it :o)

    @ Emma - thanks hun :o)

  9. Fantastic review! It makes me want to read the book even more. I am a fan of Zoe Marriott's books and was thrilled to find out she was writing a retelling of Cinderella set in Japan. I will probably end up buying this from The Book Depository since it isn't available in the States. Thanks for sharing your review!

  10. Thanks Christina, I'm so glad you like my review :o) I'm sure you're going to love this book, it's my favourite of Zoe's so far (although I really must get around to reading Daughter of the Flames!). I hope you get hold of a copy soon :o)

  11. Thanks for linking my review and isn't this book fantastic? I loved it SO MUCH.

  12. Wow, great review. I already wanted to read this as I read another good review fairly recently - definitely eager to get my hands on a copy after reading this.
    Lynn :D

  13. @ Clover - you're welcome :o) This was such an awesome book! I just need a sequel now for more of Otieno lol

    @ Lynn - I'd definitley recommend this one :o) Don't forget to enter my giveaway!



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