Review: Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott

Synopsis:9741685

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.

Actual Review:

“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”

People have been saying that this is a retelling of Cinderella’s story. I personally think that was a bit of a stretch, and that this was better than the tale we know and love. I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture, so I pretty much enjoyed the world that the author created. This was set in a fictional world that is similar to feudal Japan, and I loved it.

In my opinion, the best aspect of this book was its heroine, Suzume. I’ve always been a sucker for ruthless, imperfect characters. If you don’t like them, I don’t think that this book is for you. If you want your characters to be happy, optimistic, or something, you will not see it in this book.This one, ladies and gents, is about a young girl consumed by anger. She wants to avenge her father and her cousin, she is mad at her mother for choosing her dad’s friend, and she was just…. hurt. She self-harms to help numb the pain she experiences inside. She develops into a much better person during the course of the book, meeting various people that she will love, and I cannot help but feel happy for her.

Then the other thing that I also liked about this book is the search for her “identity”. In this novel, she acts as several different people to the point that she does not know who she truly is anymore.

Besides the things that I loved, I also thought that there were some that could use a bit of an improvement. Some scenes in the book could be removed, since it does not exactly contribute to the story. If you ignore those and simply proceed, you wouldn’t even think that you missed anything. Otieno and Suzume’s love story was also a bit of an insta-love. And you guys know that I’m not exactly a fan of insta-love. Although, their relationship was developed throughout the book, so I guess it’s okay.

Overall, I think that the book may not be perfect, but I loved it all the same.

Verdict:

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Review: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Synopsis:16113606

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Actual Review:

“Beauty is wherever you find it, and Beast is there when you need to defend it.”

Beautiful and riveting. This retelling brought something new to the table and added more flavor to the story of Beauty and the Beast. The synopsis honestly doesn’t give it much justice. It made the story sound simpler than it was.

The premise somewhat reminded me of Under the Never Sky, with domes protecting people from the dry and barren world outside. I loved it immensely, although there were some things that could’ve been done better.

Isra’s blindness for example, was felt only in a few parts of the book in my opinion. It felt that she wasn’t an accurate portrayal of a blind person. This was in the 1st person narration as well.

I also wanted a bit more elaboration about the world inside the dome, because even though the story mostly happened inside the city of Yuan, I had a clearer image of the world outside in my mind. I understand though that it’s because of the fact that Isra was confined to a tower in the palace and was also blind so I guess there was no helping it.

Even so, I still ended up loving this. The romance was well-done and I cared immensely for the main characters. (No insta-love here folks!) The style of writing was also wonderful, one of the best I’ve seen. I honestly am surprised that so few know of this book.

Verdict:

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