Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: September 9
Genre: young adult, fantasy
Neryn has made a long journey to perfect her skills as a Caller. She has learned the wisdom of water and of earth; she has journeyed to the remote isles of the west and the forbidding mountains of the north. Now, Neryn must travel in Alban’s freezing winter to seek the mysterious White Lady, Guardian of Air. For only when Neryn has been trained by all four Guardians will she be ready to play her role in toppling the tyrannical King Keldec.
But the White Lady is not what she seems. Trapped with Whisper, her fey protector, Neryn is unable to send word to her beloved Flint, who is in danger of being exposed as a double agent. When a new threat looms and the rebellion is in jeopardy, Neryn must enter Keldec’s court, where one false move could see her culled. She must stand up against forces more powerful than any she has confronted before, and face losses that could break her heart.
Neryn has two more Guardians to visit before using her skills as a Caller at the midsummer Gathering. But as she enters the White Lady’s wintry territory, the whole rebel plan falls to pieces. Her training is cut short when she spies King Keldec’s forces rounding up Good Folk and young farmers to form a new army — and if he has the Good Folk, then he has a Caller of his own. Meanwhile, Flint is near to snapping, and struggles to find a way to make the captured Good Folk work alongside his men. From one obstacle to the next, Flint and Neryn must be careful now more than ever not to expose the rebel cause before the final battle.
This is the conclusion to the beautiful and quiet Shadowfell trilogy, my favorite Celtic-inspired YA fantasy by a wonderful, talented, established fantasy writer. See my reviews of Shadowfell and Raven Flight. That said, beware this review may contain spoilers!
Marillier has a brilliant way of reminding the readers of the backstory without filling the first chapter with info dump. Neryn needs to explain to the warriors at Shadowfell the training she needs to complete, and when she does so she gives the reader background information. It’s perfect. From there, the entire story is filled with twists and turns. I had no idea what would happen next — for Neryn or Flint — and my stomach was in knots. I genuinely felt concerned for their safety and the outcome of the cause.
The way Marillier was able to express that tension is through her wonderful suspense. Each book in this trilogy was quiet and slow, the perfect pace for an underground cause in a kingdom long-silenced from magic. Because each book had that establishment, it didn’t seem out of place with each passing month in Alban. Even down to the battle, we’re given every single detail — every thought and feeling and observance of Neryn’s. The ending was excellent, and I loved every precious moment Neryn and Flint exchanged.
Quiet and powerful, Marillier’s Shadowfell trilogy is not one you want to miss.
Thank you, Edelweiss, for providing this book from Knopf Books for review!