Shadows by Robin McKinley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Oh, how I wish this book had been longer. Not because it felt unfinished or because it ended in an unsatisfying place, but just because I was enjoying it so much, and I wanted to stay in the world a little longer. I was loathe to leave it.
The best part of Shadows is the voice. I instantly believed the narrator was the smart, somewhat grouchy teenage girl she said she was, and her matter-of-fact explanations about her odd world and her normal self felt very real. And because of that very real narrator, McKinley was able to pull of one of the neatest characterization tricks I've ever seen. I don't want to go into detail, because it would spoil it, but someone turns out to be someone different than you thought he was, and because of the viewpoint (and limitations of viewpoint) of the narrator, I was totally able to buy him both as the person the narrator first thinks he is, and as the person he actually turned out to be. It was a lovely suspense, and then a lovely surprise, both.
I admit that I almost didn't read this one, because the gloomy cover and gloomy title put me off. But it's not gloomy at all, even if it is a bit mysterious and sometimes scary. Instead, it's a slow-building fairy tale with familiar characters and fantastical details. Loved it!
And really, really, truly? I did not want it to end.
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