The book ”Shadow” by Jenny Moss follows the story of a fifteen (turning sixteen) year old girl who is the ”shadow” or ”look-out” of a young queen because it was once prophesied that the queen would die before her sixteenth birthday.
Reading this for years, Shadow by Jenny Moss is one of the most intriguing and underrated books in the fantasy genre. With a dash of romance and royalty, Shadow is a page turner and never gets old.
Set in a faraway kingdom, Shadow is tasked to watch over the queen. She knows nothing of her parents, only that the gentle ladies would gossip about her father. She doesn’t know her real name either; she guesses it died with her mother. Shadow lives a quiet and observant life. She is often hit and ordered by the queen and the gentle ladies. Her role was established long ago, but unclear to her and everyone else. She was not a servant, a slave, a maid, but was treated as one.
The prophecy of Queen Audrey’s death before her sixteenth birthday left the kingdom apprehensive and uncomfortable. There were more guards and the queen rarely left the castle.
She had only a few days left to live, but some were unbothered by that fact — Sir Kenway. He was not of royalty and was barely a knight, but Sir Kenway wished to marry the queen.
Although she could never marry one below the rank of a prince, it did not stop them from liking each other.
Shadow found this quite humorous. She watched the two fondle and lock eyes, but stopped when Ingrid, one of the gentle ladies, hit her. Sir Kenway grips Ingrid’s arm and scolds her.
After Ingrid convinces and reminds Kenway that Shadow is a witch, Kenway agrees. Shadow is pained, but she buries it.
Fyren and his servant, Piers were the only people Shadow liked. Fyren was the queen’s only relative and held much power despite being ranked lower than many. Fyren was not fickle like most of the people in the castle and thus put Fyren and Shadow in good terms. Entering the queen’s room, Fyren visits with a red apple to which the queen rushes at, but the apple is given to Shadow and Piers. Smiling, they both savor the juicy red apple. It was a silent reminder that
Fyren and the queen absolutely detested one another. Fyren tells the queen that Lord Llewyn has asked to speak with her. The kingdom’s lands are disputed and lords are in a hurry for help. But the queen is confused. Angry, Shadow asks how stupid she is to not remember the concerns of her lords. It was daring to say such a thing, but it was true.
The queen sprang up and yanked violently at her hair. Shadow’s scalp stung, but the queen charged and clawed and scratched more. Shadow has never seen the queen so angry in her almost sixteen years living with her. Shadow grabs back and clenches tightly on the queen’s wrists. The queen screams in pain. She screams at the guards to throw her in the dungeon.
It’s Shadow’s first time in the dungeon. It’s dark and dreary. Moans escape from cell mates.
It’s a depressing and upsetting place, but Shadow is stuck here. Soon, Fyren and Piers freed her.
But a tragedy strikes shortly after her release. She and Sir Kenway are stuck together in a journey to save their dying kingdom. She discovers dark and scary secrets and maybe starts to develop feelings for Sir Kenway too.
This story is a short read and great for new fantasy readers. The setting of the book isn’t too unrealistic and this book is a standalone (which is usually uncommon for the fantasy genre).
Definitely recommended for anyone who wants to read a fantasy novel that is short and eventful.
Shadow’s character is very admirable and unlike any other character I have read about in the past. Although she is mistreated, she isn’t angry and thrashing out on others. It’s like she’s accepted that this is her life and that she isn’t necessarily unhappy and ungrateful for it. Though, if her friend is being targeted, she will go beyond her way to defend them. What makes her character really interesting and different is that she is quiet and in a sense, cold. But her attitude isn’t necessarily rude either. She finds little joys for things that people would typically overlook which is understandable based on her past, but the fact that her past was so terrible, I really like how she still tries to find happiness. Shadow’s character development is a bit strange in a way.
She sometimes might say or do things that are a bit out of character and it could be because of neglect and other factors she has faced as a child. Sir Kenway is also another character who is similar to Shadow. He is cold to those that are ranked under him which is typical in a setting like Shadow. His character development is also confusing because he tends to be kind then incredibly rude. Although both characters are quiet and cold, Kenway is more open about his thoughts and sometimes isn’t empathic.
This book is great for those who haven’t read fantasy because some fantasy is portrayed in a way that can be difficult to relate to certain aspects of the story, and Shadow is wonderful as a starter to the fantasy world. As someone who enjoys the fantasy genre, sometimes reading fantasy can be difficult especially when the setting is complex and different from reality. Shadow is great for those who like fantasy, but to the extent that the setting can be related and imagined without remembering and understanding complex terms.