This section will cover any key details about the series.
Released: June 2012 | July 2013 | September 2014
Publisher: Random House | Knopf BFYR
Pages: 410 pages | 406 pages | 480 pages
What do these covers say about this series?
I don't hate these covers like I do some of Marillier's other books, but I don't love them either. I think my biggest issue is that I'd never be drawn to them in a bookstore if I hadn't read Marillier before. They're not eye-catching and don't make me ask, "Hmm... I wonder what that book is about!" They're not awful, but they don't scream fantasy series to me. And the model doesn't match the image I have of the heroine!
Based on the summary, what can you expect going into this series?
Before I even read the summary, I had certain expectations for this series because it's written by Juliet Marillier. I knew I'd love the writing, that it would be set in a world threatened by some type of evil, that the pacing would probably be slower, and that it would be a very character-driven story. I hoped for a swoony romance since Marillier has written two of my all-time favorites, though I couldn't tell if there'd be one of not. And, of course, I expected fantasy with a powerful journey for the main character. When I finally looked at the summary for Shadowfell, I knew I was right on so many counts:
"Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill -- a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk -- Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.
During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death -- but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban's release from Keldec's rule. Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban."
Didn't I call it? An epic journey, a magical world, a handsome stranger, and the promise of a better future.
What are some highlights of the series?
A gorgeously written story led by well-developed characters.
A kind and gifted heroine determined to do the right thing - no matter the costs.
A handsome and intriguing man in a dangerous position and keeping many secrets.
A group of Good Folk longing for peace and potentially able to turn the tide of war.
An evil and powerful King and Queen who want to silence all opposition.
A world where people live in fear, magic seems to no longer exists, and a rebellion is stirring.
A story of hidden talents, searches for knowledge, unexpected relationships and powerful courage.
A romance that comes second to the cause but has lovely dreams for the future.
An epic quest and a battle against evil by characters who believe in love, generosity and loyalty.
How will you feel closing the last page?
When I started Shadowfell, I was immediately hooked. I was intrigued by the world and wanted to know more. I could already tell I was going to love the main character, so I was excited to follow her on her journey. And, as expected, Marillier's writing just drew me in. After finishing (and loving) that book, I moved right on to Raven Flight. Although it was a bit slower (and probably my least favorite of the series), I found myself falling more in love with the secondary characters. They were stealing the show!
Then, I got to the last book, The Caller. Honestly, it was probably my favorite book in the series! It's the perfect conclusion to the series. These books build as they go, and they're strong when you look at them as a whole. If you're thinking of reading them, I'd definitely recommend making the time to read them back to back. Each step in this journey is significant, and the last book brings all the threads together in a way that just thrilled me. There's so much growth, for Neryn and others, that it only deepens the impact of the relationships between the characters. I was equally caught up in the political and personal aspects of this series. I cared deeply for the romance, but I was also so invested in the outcome of the fight against injustice. And honestly, I was never sure how everything would end. Thankfully, it was everything I could have asked for and more.
Summing up this series in just three words?
Thoughtful. Emotional. Powerful.
Is this series worth your time?
I couldn't decide what to read, so I picked up a handful of books and decided to read a few pages of each. Shadowfell was the second book in the stack, and I "accidentally" read five chapters before realizing how far I'd gone. I was hooked, and I knew I'd found the perfect book for my mood! I finished the whole series in about a week, and I sighed in contentment when it was over. And I may have shed a tear or two at the fact that I had to say goodbye to the characters I'd come to know and love.
Marillier was a new-to-me author last year, and I've been obsessed with her ever since. She's an incredible writer, and I'm so happy I've discovered her work. This series just sealed the deal for me! I will always recommend picking up her books. What's not to love? She delivers complex characters, imaginative worlds, slow-burn romances and epic quests for truth and justice.