Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Shadow by Jenny Moss

In a dying kingdom, prophecy said that the young queen would die before her 16th birthday, and so an orphaned girl was given the task to be the queen's shadow, in the hopes that the queen's fate could be averted and fall on the shadow instead.  But Shadow, for she has no given name, could careless for the prophecy.  Friendless and close-hearted, all Shadow wants is a chance at freedom, freedom from the queen's spite as she is never allowed to be away from the queen's side, but for a few stolen moments, when the guard sleeps on duty.  As the years pass the queen and her shadow are sequestered in the castle for fear of attack on the queen, and Shadow grows to hate her queen and her life in the castle.

When the prophecy is fulfilled, Shadow finds herself fleeing the castle with Sir Kenway, a favorite of the queen and a knight who has been given the duty to protect her but who suspects that she had a hand in the queen's murder. Uncomfortable with her feelings for Sir Kenway, Shadow decides to run away as soon as an opportunity presents itself, but as they journey away from the castle on a quest Shadow finds that her fate is bound to the castle and only by accepting it can she save the people she has learned to love.

I love the idea of a queen's shadow who hates her role, despises the queen, and could careless for her country!  Jenny Moss, gives our reluctant heroine depth which shows through in Shadow's independence and courage.  I did guess very early on the the major part of the twist at the end and I found the love story part of the tale a little trite and forced.  As a whole, the novel was enjoyable, easy to read, the characters well thought out and a refreshingly new tale.