Review: Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott


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.