Shadows on the Moon, Paperback

Shadows on the Moon Paperback

4 out of 5 (4 ratings)


A powerful tale of magic, love and revenge set in a fairy-tale Japan; this is Cinderella meets Memoirs of a Geisha.

The brightest illusions hid the darkest truths...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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Fantasy
  • ISBN: 9781406318159



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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

While not the most well-written retelling of Cinderella that I've read, Shadows on the Moon is by far the most interesting take on the traditional story. It's set in some previous time in Japan, but this Japan comes with shadow weavers and strange foreigners from the land of Athazie. There is no traditional fairy godmother, and Suzume is no traditional Cinderella. Out for revenge, she is strong-willed and determined to do anything necessary to seek vengeance on those who killed her family. Yet Suzume has her own flaws unique for fairytale retellings: she resorts to cutting and burning herself to release anger and other emotions, and her actions are not always above moral scrutiny. Suzume's story in Shadows on the Moon will hold readers attention for its not inconsiderable 450+ pages. The action is fairly constant, and between the author's writing style and the formatting of the book, the novel is actually a quick read for its page count. Better yet, the novel is so different from "Cinderella" that you eventually forget it's a retelling and stop looking for and expecting the events of the traditional tale; Shadows on the Moon is good enough to hold its own as an epic story without the added bonus of being a retelling. While I found that I could foresee some of the consequences of Suzume's actions and the ultimate conclusion to the novel, this did not mean that I knew how the end of the novel would be reached, and that, coupled with the unique characterizations of the Cinderella, prince, and godmother characters, made this a totally worthwhile read. My one complaint with the book is, as I hinted in the first sentence of my review, that Marriott's writing is almost, but not quite, equal to the story she tells. I'm not really sure what the problem is - was it that the plot moves too fast, or that there's not enough explanations for some things? - but the writing and the story never completely clicked together. Still, they come close enough to make Shadows on the Moon a great read for just about every variety of reader.

Review by

This year I discovered Zoe Marriott and I believe I have discovered an author I truly enjoy. I look forward to each one and sometimes use them as a bribe to get through others that are proving a bit of a slog. Though I must admit I have approached some of them with trepidation. What if this one won't be as good, what if I'm disappointed with this one?And each one has surprised me by sucking me in and engaging me fully. This one more than some others. I could almost feel the heavy robes and it almost felt like blasphemy to sit down with a coffee instead of sitting down to a proper tea. Though reading while going through a tea ceremony would have been impolite too!This is not to say that this is a perfect book and that there aren't moments where it lurched a bit or where I could see what the author was doing with the character, but it was damned close for me.This is the story of Suzume and her three lives. The first is where she witnesses her family being massacred. Then her mother marries a man who has wanted her for many years and doesn't necessarily want her daughter as well. During this time Suzume finds that she can work with shadows and finds that this skill helps her cover up the fact that she is cutting herself to make herself feel better.Her second life is as Rin, a lowly kitchen servant. I saw someone say that this was improbable but a lot of people don't notice servants. Many people don't notice the people who serve them in shops either (I know this from experience). When someone is somewhere you don't expect them to be, behaving in a way different from the normal you're used to with them, you can gloss over them quite easily. No-one expects the daughter of a noble house to be a drudge in a kitchen, combine this with her ability to shadow-weave and you've got a very good disguise.Her third life is as Yue starts when she runs away, thinking she's killed her mother, and saves Akira, who is also a shadow weaver, and offers her help with a plan to get her revenge on her wicked step-father. Throughout all of this is woven Otieno who comes from a land where people use shadow-weaving and who loves Suzume, no matter what mask she's wearing. It turns out that Akira is an Oyama, or man who played the role of a woman in theatre and was good enough to become the Shadow bride of a prince. Bishounen are a part of Japanese culture and this was an intersesting use of that concept. It was interesting to have someone in the story for whom this was normal and apart from the moment of dissonance when Suzume realises the truth, is accepted as just part of Akira's character. As she presents as female, female pronouns are used, which is how I would address a friend in a similar situation.The training, the work, the characters all made this a great story for me, other people's mileages may vary but it's one of my favourite reads of 2012.

Review by

Something of a Cinderella Story. It can stand on it's own, but I think a fan of fairy tales will appreciate the little nods to Cinderella here and there.

Review by

Setting, story, and characters were multi-faceted and compelling. I kept getting incredibly frustrated with the main character--GET OVER IT, ALREADY!!--but that's what made it feel more real. However, I was kept from a higher rating because of one lie told by an otherwise trustworthy person, upon which much action depends. I found it unbelievable and it kind of lessened the impact of some of later events.

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