Shadow Weaver (Shadow Weaver #1)
Blurb from Goodreads: Fans of Serafina and the Black Cloak and The Night Gardener will devour Shadow Weaver, the first in a dark middle-grade fantasy duology that’s filled with shadows, danger, magic, and has the feel of a new classic.
Emmeline’s gift of controlling shadows has isolated her from the rest of the world, but she’s grown to be content, hidden away in her mansion with Dar, her own shadow, as her only company.
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
My Thoughts on this book:
Shadow Weaver is a middle-grade fantasy with a gripping plot that reads like a fairy tale. The main character in the book is Emmeline, a 12-year-old girl who has a magical ability to mold shadows into different forms and manipulate them. She uses these shadows in different ways, but the most important shadow is her best friend Dar.
Emmeline is hidden away from the outside world for multiple events that have occured in the past, including a devastating accident with a little girl she was once friends with. Her parents won’t let her have a normal life because of the danger she poses to society. They’ve lost patience with her and all she has now is Dar, her shadow who is always there. Dar has been connected to Emmeline since she was born and they are the best of friends. Dar loves Emmeline and will do whatever she can to protect her.
“Emmeline, we ought to run off and play in the woods. I can hide you so that they never find you…”
When a noble family comes to visit Emmeline’s parents to discuss a treaty, Emmeline can’t help but wonder what they’re really doing there. Something doesn’t seem right and she begins to feel unsafe. It appears they’ve come to take her away and rid her of her magic. Dar is willing to help her, but only if Emmeline will do something for her in return–something that could change their friendship forever.
“I can help you, Emmeline. I can ensure you will never have to go anywhere with that man. But you must agree to help me in return.”
Once the story took off there was no telling what the outcome would be and the suspense with Dar was gripping. I loved that tension and curiosity with trying to figure out Dar and what her intentions were. Is she good or is she evil? Emmeline starts to question her and begins to lose trust, but she’s very unsure and wants to give her the benefit of the doubt. She learns life lessons about honesty and the true meaning of friendship. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the secondary characters as they entered the story or the direction everything was going, but it came together well with just enough magic to keep me engaged until the end. For a middle-grade book, I’d say this met my expectations, but I wanted to feel more for all the characters which was pretty much lacking throughout.
I read this with two of my younger children and even though I enjoyed it, they sort of lost interest a third of the way through and it became more of a chore to read. I personally thought the plot was very unique and interesting, but I think the issue with my younger readers was the pacing as it was slow at times and really didn’t pick up until the second half. Also, when we read the details about this book, the lower end of the recommended reading level was third grade (which is where my two younger children are with their reading level now) so I might recommend this for fourth or fifth grade and up depending on your child’s interest and reading capabilities. In my opinion, 320 pages is a lot for a child who is still reading chapter books like Captain Underpants or Beverly Cleary. Obviously, this is a a book that some adults will enjoy as well.
Overall, I’m glad we bought this for our home library. I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen in the next book, Comet Rising. 4-stars
- Age Range: 8 – 14 years
- Grade Level: 3 – 9
- Series: Shadow Weaver (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (January 2, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1492649953
- ISBN-13: 978-1492649953