Monday, June 25, 2012

Shadows on the Moon

Cinderella is the new heroine of choice.  In Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott, the Cinderella character is consumed with anger and grief.   She plots her revenge. She does the unthinkable.

Set in a magical medieval Japan, Marriott's fantasy begins on the day that Suzume's family is murdered for being traitors to the Moon Prince, ruler of the kingdom.  Somehow, Suzume escapes.  The soldiers can not find her.  An old cinderman shows her how to cast an illusion over herself.  He tells her that she is a shadow weaver.

When her mother returns accompanied by the man who was Suzume's father's best friend, Suzume suspects a clandestine alliance between her mother and Terayama-san.  Soon, her mother is married to Terayama and Suzume finds herself in grave danger.

Terayama-san is an excellent villain, smooth, calculating and cold.  Suzume's mother is spineless and gullible. Suzume is confused, angry and very powerful. Magic, heartache, hardship all combine to make a satisfying adventure with just enough romance.  The details of Japanese culture, whether factual or fictionalized, make the setting a fully realized mythical kingdom. 

The story wraps up nicely with no hint of a sequel.  And that is a shame.  Suzume and Otieno, her friend and romantic partner, and Akira, the courtesan who trains Suzume, are well-realized characters and I'd like to read more about them.

No comments:

Post a Comment