Book: SHADOW WEAVER
Author: MarcyKate Connolly
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Series: Shadow Weaver #1 (1/2)
ARC?: Yes, provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Pub date: Jan 2, 2018
TW/CW: Child neglect, attempted kidnapping.
The shadows that surround us aren’t always as they seem…
Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar.
Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.
With the noble’s guards on her trail, Emmeline’s only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline’s not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it’s hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.
My goddaughter, Sidda, and I read this one together and we both loved it!
Emmeline is a shadow weaver, a girl blessed with the mysterious ability to turn shadows into tangible things. Unfortunately for Emmeline, no one in the giant estate she lives in appreciates her ability and she lives almost completely separately from the people around her. The only company she’s ever had was her own shadow- a creature named Dar that speaks to Emmeline and encourages her to do things that further ostracizes Emmeline from her parents.
When a neighboring dignitary comes from a visit and convinces Emmeline’s parents to let him take her back for “treatment”, Dar does something unspeakable and Emmeline and her shadow are forced to run for their lives. While escaping through the woods, Emmeline runs in Lucas, a light weaver, and his family who are working hard to make sure that no one discovers Lucas’s power.
As Lucas and Emmeline become friends, Dar becomes increasingly agitated and distant from Emmeline. When the shadow starts insisting that they must perform a ritual to make her human, Emmeline has to figure out who is really her friend and who is using her.
I think the thing I liked most about this story, aside from the amazing writing and characters, was the moral that it brought: just because someone claims they are your friend doesn’t mean that they are. It was interesting to see how this book handled abusive friendships. Dar continuously reminds Emmeline of all the things she has done for the little girl in the past and regularly claims that she (the shadow) is the only one who truly cares about Emmeline. It opened up a really great conversation with Sidda about how gaslighting and emotional abuse works between friends.
I definitely recommend this to fairy tale lovers of all ages but especially for young readers! This is a great lesson on friendship, family, and realizing when someone just isn’t good for you.