Book Club: Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier




I believe I borrowed the first edition Aussie cover from the Library. It is a charmingly illustrated image of a waif-like girl beside a fire in a deep dark green forest. The title is embossed and Juliet’s name really pops in the bright red used on both the cover and the spine.


In this high fantasy setting there is no room for the weak of mind or the weak of will. Kind hearts are a plenty, though trying to figure out whose heart is true, is tricky.


Mara. Mainly because she is making do in a horrible situation and loves her family anyway.

Least Favourite

King Keldec… though we haven’t technically met him. What a poop head.


Neryn is put up as a prize and is lost in a gambling and drinking binge her father goes on.


She is aiming to head to a place called Shadowfell, where people with unexplainable gifts are free to be themselves without fear of judgement by King Keldec’s cronies.


There is a book 2… and to be quite frank I want it in my hands right now!


It took me longer than it should have to finish Shadowfell, though I think it had more to do with life getting in the way than any disinterest on my part. I found grabbing a page or two on the bus in the morning was enough to get me through to lunch. I could spend all day in the world Juliet Marillier has created for Neryn. It is enchanting to say the very least.


‘I’m fond o’ banes’ the brollachan commented, noticing me looking.

‘I see that.’ My voice was unsteady

‘Ye thinkin’ I might eat ye up for supper?’

‘That did cross my mind, yes. I seem to remember that, in the tales, brollachans sometimes do that.’

‘Ye canna see yersel’, wee one. There’s hardly a scrap o’ meat on ye. Nae worth the trouble.

~ Conversation between Neryn and the brollachan


Krista McKeeth_2_tnKrista




The US cover does represent the book, with the girl wrapped in the brown cloak in the forest. But I prefer the Australian cover with the young girl sitting by the fire in the forest.


We follow Neryn throughout the story, but several characters come into play, both human and animal, as she travels across the land to get to a safe place away from the King’s men.


The Good Folk. I really loved the idea behind them and the imagination that went into describing who they were. Since there was such a huge variety of them, it was very open to the imagination as to what features and abilities they had.

Least Favourite

Even though he didn’t actually show his face in this book, the King, and what he was doing to the people of this land, really did upset me. He is definitely somebody that you want to see taken down from power and taught a lesson by the end of the series.


The story starts off with a bit of action, as Neryn and her father are running for their lives, and eventually ending with Neryn being left on her own to make her way to the only place she knows of that is safe from the King’s men – Shadowfell. She is alone, and walking by foot and it’s several days/weeks travelling to get there.


When King Keldec calls for all magical people to be brought to him, Neryn and her father go on the run. She soon finds herself on her own and with the help of her gift, Neryn must traverse the land to reach a safe haven.


Pretty powerful. I wasn’t expecting to be as moved as I was when the book came to a close. There were so many emotions built up during the story that the ending has an impact, really driving the urge to get the next book pronto.


Neryn was often “stuck” during her travels and that lead to a lot of down time. But it seems that the times that adventure was happening were really pumped up and so thought provoking that I had to stop and consider the story before I could move on. The ending really made the difference for me. I found that I was more invested in the characters than I realized. The story has stayed with me for days now, in a very good way, and won’t leave my mind.


“I understand that it’s hard for you to trust. Your not alone in that” -Flint






At first, after ordering this book online and getting to see it first hand, I wasn’t too excited about it. There just isn’t anything special about the cover, and there is no real meaning to it. There are no elements of the story in this cover. The one thing I do like about it, is that the background is a forest scene, but that’s about it.

A little disappointed, since I LOVED the story so much.


Really enjoyed them! I thought they had real emotions, and thoughts. They weren’t overly dramatic, and didn’t move or do anything too fast, without thinking about it. They weren’t superficial.


I absolutely loved each and every one of the characters in Shadowfell. Neryn was going through so much; the death of her mother and grandmother, the murder of her brother, and the fact that her alcoholic father gambled her off to a stranger. She was smart and made decisions in a calm and realistic way.

Flint wasn’t just battling as a man of the king, and a rebel, but also within himself. He has had to do unimaginable things for both the abusive king, and for the rebels going against the king. He was very torn.

While the fairy folk weren’t mentioned too often throughout the story, I liked the idea of them. They’re much smaller than humans, they hide and blend into their background, and they stay as far away as possible from cold iron. I hope we get to learn and see more of the fairy folk in the books to come.

Least Favorite

NONE!! Not a single one!


The first chapter had me sucked in! Within the just the first three pages, my eyeballs were glued to the book and there was no way I was going to put it down.

In only the first chapter, the reader learns of Neryn’s past and current situation. She’s been travelling, and hiding with her dad, barely surviving. He heads into a bar to gamble and try to get enough money to be able to afford a barn and a pile of hay to sleep on. He gets drunk and decides to put up Neryn for the win.


This part was a bit slower than the first chapters, simply because the author needed to build up the world. I still really enjoyed it and liked learning about the fairy folk as well as Neryn’s past struggles.


LOVED IT! It’s so intense, and beautiful. But the battle’s not over yet… there is still so much to do!

Overall Thoughts

I couldn’t get enough, and that’s why I plan on picking up the second and third books, Raven Flight and The Caller, soon! If you love fantasy and get the chance to pick up this book, I completely recommend it.  

Paperback, Australian edition, 349 pages

Published: July 1st 2012 by Pan Macmillan Australia (first published January 1st 2012)

original title: Shadowfell


1742611346 (ISBN13: 9781742611341)

  • Kay

    This was my first Juliet Marillier read and I have to say I was drawn to the book, in fact enchanted by it. I absolutely loved it. The characters, plot, writing were all amazing.

    • Lisa

      Wow! You’re awesome for reading along with us! Thank you so much! Did you already begin the March read?


      • Belinda

        Kay You rock!
        I’m reading ahead a little, and omg some of the books we have coming up are A-freaking-mazing.

    • Krista

      I think that is an excellent way of wording it “enchanted” fits this series perfectly.

      I fell in love with the characters, mostly the Good Folk, so creative and magical. I highly recommend reading the next two books as well, very good writing and enjoyable reads.

  • Hi Kay, I launched SHADOWFELL at Supanova in the wrestling ring. It was a fun launch! Juliet is such a wonderful writer. best Marianne. p.s. Just in case you are reading along with us, note we had a change of book for next month’s book club.

  • Kay

    I love reading along with you all. Thanks for letting me know about the change, I had no idea.

  • Hi Kay, we thought the book we had listed might not be suitable for our reading audience, so we’ve changed the line up a little. Here’s the list for the rest of the year:

    February: Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

    March: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

    April: Shadow And Bone by Leigh Bardugo

    May: The Program by Suzanne Young

    June: Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres

    July: Kill the Music by Nansi Kunze

    August: Gone by Michael Grant George

    September: Scarlet in the Snow by Sophie Masson

    October: The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth

    November: After the End by Amy Plum

    December: The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente

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