|Add to Goodreads|
- Publisher: Candlewick Press
- Publication date: 4/24/2012
- Pages: 464
- Source: eARC from NetGalley / Publisher for review
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 totally don't even know where to start with this review. I love that it is set in Japan, I love the idea of the shadow-weaving, I love the story, it's just really fantastic! This book has suspense, heartbreak, and romance. I loved the many characters that we get to know, and how we get to know Suzume as her many different names as she leaves the old her behind. I think that this story flowed beautifully from start to finish. I will note that this is in fact a retelling of Cinderella, but it is definitely it's own creative and much darker take on the story. Instead of wanting nothing more than the prince to love her, Suzume wants revenge on Terayama no matter what she has to do to get it. To her, the prince is just a way to get what she wants.
Whether she is Suzume, Rin, or Yue, I totally loved her character. I will just call her Suzume for the review, because that was her original given name. She is a scared, hurt, and emotionally damaged girl, but she really grew as a person with each page I turned. She starts off scared and lonely, then when she goes to live with Terayama and her mother she is numb. That is the best way I can describe it. She goes through the motions of everyday living, but is not happy. When she feels like her internal emotional pain is too much, she resorts to cutting. Then after they go to the city things get a bit crazy and she runs off to hide. She becomes Rin and disguises herself as a drudge in the kitchen. After yet another tragedy she runs away off into the city to escape and hide and meets Akira, who is basically her fairy god mother. They become like sisters and Suzume really starts to find herself with Akira's help. She is still unhappy, but she has a goal, so it is easier to hide how unhappy she is. She needs to do whatever she has to in order to become the Shadow Bride.
The story is so amazing. It is almost like three different stories in one really. Every time Suzume changes her name (or actually is renamed by someone else) and leaves the old her behind, it's like a new story begins. It's like she had closed off her old life with the exception of wanting to get revenge. And then of course there is Otieno, who she can't stop thinking about. Somehow he always manages to find her. I adored him. The only thing that I did not like was I wish we knew more about the shadow-weaving. How did she come to possess the gift? How does anyone have the ability? I just wish we had gotten more information on it. Besides that, I loved the intense story, her pain and suffering, her determination, the romance, everything. It is really hard to for me to do this review without giving anything away, but I really, absolutely loved this book! It's one of those books where I feel that nothing I say will really be good enough to explain how it made me feel. I am giving this 4.5 stars out of 5 only because I really wanted to know more about the shadow-weaving.