First Impression: Magical.
Synopsis: On my fourteenth birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before.
Suzume is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she wants to be. Except herself.
Suzume died officially the day the Prince’s men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no longer sure of her true identity.
Is she the girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?
Everyone knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama.
And nothing will stop her. Not even love.
(slightly more than) 200words review: Given my review of Frostfire I was trying really hard to compose something beyond me waving this book around and saying: “You need to read this. Go now, I’ll wait. Go!” Apparently Zoë Marriott story telling reduces me to a gushing mess but let’s see if I can redeem myself at least a little bit.
Shadows on the Moon is beautiful. The writing and Suzume’s narration take you into a world were true love (be it romantic or family) is rare and betrayal is not. Suzume survives the soldiers because of her shadow weaving, a skill that is central to her throughout the story but isn’t the point of it.
I cared about Suzume in a way I very rarely do, staying up until the early hours to finish the book even though I had work in the morning. There was no way I was going to sleep before I knew how it ended.
It would be amiss of me not to mention all the other amazing characters Zoë Marriott created; Youta who was all the better for not being perfect. Akira who bought the light when I really thought Suzume was going to break, Otieno who was wonderful without being unrealistic. It’s not just the characters and story, it’s the entire world you find yourself in that takes this book to another level.
There is nothing in Shadows on the Moon for me to pick apart.
This book is well and truly perfect.