Shiirleyy's Bookshelf has migrated to Dear Shirley ! I will continue to post book reviews but there will also be a lot of personal and travel-related posts :)

Book Review: Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott

3 Nov 2011

Title: Shadows on the Moon
Author: Zoe Marriott
Publisher: Walker Books Aus.
Release Date: July 7th 2011 
Source: Publisher for review (Thank you!)
Format: Paperback

Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to recreate herself in any form - a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother's new husband, Lord Terayama, or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama's kitchens, or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to capture the heart of a prince - and determined to use his power to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even love.

My Thoughts:

Suzume witnesses the murder of her father and cousin, but luckily escapes with the help of her shadow-weaving ability. She is reunited with her mother, who was conveniently on a trip when the murder took place, and within weeks (6 weeks, if I recall correctly) she has become a stepdaughter to her mother’s new lover. Although she is not treated harshly or cruelly, she does not feel a sense of belonging, and can never forget the horrible events that took place, despite her mother’s futile attempts to convince her to start afresh. As secrets start to unravel, and confessions are made, Suzume suddenly finds herself on the run from the man that caused her family’s death.

Shadows on the Moon was a beautiful retelling of Cinderella, and everything felt so real. I was constantly aching for the pain Suzume had to suffer and then the once-in-a-lifetime-love she decided to give up all for her family.  Her story was that of Cinderella, but with a slight twist. Suzume’s story is much darker and unlike our original Cinderella, Suzume is intent on seeking revenge for her father and cousin. No, she does not live happily ever after with the Prince. Yet, it was a nice, satisfying ending; a happily ever after with her prince.

Suzume was such a strong character and very adaptable; she bottled up all her grief, suffering and pain inside, masking her inner feelings and showed the world a normal, content self. There were of course times when she could not bear the pain anymore, and eased it by hurting herself. Yet, despite all the misery and suffering she experienced, there was always that small, flicker of hope – Otieno. The romance between Otieno and Suzume was so sweet and they were just perfect for each other! He could bring out the happiness in her, and each time, she could truly be herself without having to use her shadow-weaving abilities to hide her inner feelings and thoughts. He was able to show her that life did not have to end; and she could always start afresh.

Suzume’s mother was just…selfish and thoughtless. She stood by her husband’s evil deeds, and was even willing to sacrifice her own daughter’s life if it meant saving her own precious neck and staying good in her husband’s eyes. The few times she actually acted like a real mothe, I was tempted to feel sorry for her and sympathise with her actions but immediately after, she would show her true face and I went back to hating her again. The way she treated her daughter – it was what you would expect Cinderella’s stepmother  to do; not one’s own, loving mother.

This is the first book of Mariott’s that I’ve read, but it will not be the last. This book proved what a fantastic writer Mariott is; her storytelling, characterisation, everything will be imprinted on you even after you finish reading this. It may not appeal to everyone, but this is truly worth your time!

Rating: 4 stars

“People trust their eyes above all else- but most people see what they wish to see, or what they believe they should see; not what is really there.”


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  2. Great review. I've been wanting to read this book for a while now. Will definitely check it out soon. :)

  3. I've been intrigued by this for quite a while, but yours is the first review I've read and I'm totally sold on it! I love any kind of retelling, so the dark Cinderella is an automatic win. This sounds amazing, I can't wait to read it. Fantastic review!!

  4. Yikes. this sounds incredibly intense - and really really good!!

  5. Thank you Brodie! You have to read it <3 It's so heart-breaking yet heart-warming at the same time!

  6. Yes! It's amazing! Definitely try it :)


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