Connolly, MarcyKate. Shadow Weaver. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2018. Pages TBD. Hardcover $14.59, ISBN 978-1-49264-995-3
TL;DR: Do I recommend this book? Yes
Part of a series? Yes; this is the first in a series
Emmeline has been a loner for as long as she can remember. Her family is disturbed by her Talent (bestowed by a comet with certain properties, properties that give newborns Talents every 25 years) for weaving shadows. Well, perhaps it isn’t the shadow weaving that others find objectionable — it might be that she claims that she can speak to her own shadow, Dar. Servants avoid Emmeline and fear her. Dar is Emmeline’s only friend; fiercely protective, Dar is Emmeline’s cheerleader, confidante, and support. When a mysterious man comes to take Emmeline away and train her talent out of her, Dar acts quickly to protect Emmeline. The next morning, the man is in a coma. Dar promises Emmeline that the coma is reversible … if Emmeline helps Dar regain her physical form. Can Emmeline help her friend? Is her friend really being honest with her, or does Dar have secrets of her own?
Critical Evaluation/Reader’s Comments:
This book has already received rave reviews from readers. I’m not quite as sold on the book. I wouldn’t actively turn kids away from it, but I wasn’t captivated. The book feels as though it is set in the past, perhaps in an Edwardian vein. Cars, phones, and other modern luxuries are absent. That said, the language feels anachronistic — people are “brought up to speed” amongst other modern turns of phrase that ring oddly. Furthermore, Dar seems evil from go, and Emmeline’s repeated moments of doubt and then “pushing” the thought of Dar’s creepiness out of her mind gets grating. Students looking for a good gothic read would perhaps be better off picking up Elizabeth and Zenobia, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, or Doll Bones.
Grade Level: 3-6
Awards and Starred Reviews:
n/a at this time