Shadows on the Moon

Shadows on the Moon

4.2 13
by Zoe Marriott

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A powerful tale of magic, love, and revenge set in fairy-tale Japan. Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to re-create herself in any form - a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother's new husband, Lord Terayama? Or a lowly


A powerful tale of magic, love, and revenge set in fairy-tale Japan. Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to re-create herself in any form - a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother's new husband, Lord Terayama? Or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama's kitchens? Or is she Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to use her skills to steal the heart of a prince in a revenge plot to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even the one true aspect of her life- her love for a fellow shadow-weaver.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In this spin on 'Cinderella" set in ancient Japan, Suzume is an only child living with her parents and orphaned cousin, Aimi. The action starts immediately when royal soldiers unfairly accuse her father of being a traitor. Aimi and Suzume watch in terror as her father is killed, and Aimi is also shot as the girls flee through the woods. After her mother remarries, Suzume learns that she is a shadow weaver, "One who can weave illusions from the threads of the world." Her skills are useful when she discovers that her stepfather had a hand in her father's death. So begins a domino effect of twists, turns, and shocking revelations that lead to Suzume masquerading as a servant in her stepfather's house to escape his attempts to silence her. Fleeing altogether when she believes that she has accidentally killed her mother, she embarks on a perilous attempt to avenge her family and redeem herself. Along the way she is forced to question whether hate is more valuable than love and if she can ever consider herself worthy of happiness. A rich cultural context and strong female characters make this novel reminiscent of Kristin Cashore's Graceling (Harcourt, 2008) and Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha (Knopf, 1998). The "Cinderella" theme is interwoven with just the right strokes, creating a magical reinterpretation that is much richer than a mere retelling. Although several hot-button issues such as self-mutilation and gender identity are dealt with in an explicit manner, the fast-moving plot, intense action, and compelling characters will pull readers through to the satisfying conclusion.—Sunnie Sette, New Haven Public Library, CT
From the Publisher
"Cinderella" is reimagined as a revenge story set in an alternate feudal Japan. A dark yet very fresh fairy-tale reinvention.
—Kirkus Reviews

Beautifully written, with diverse and fascinating characters, an intriguing plot, and a romance that will steal your heart. One of the most innovative fairy-tale retellings I've read in years.
—R.J. Anderson, author of Spellhunter and Ultraviolet

Shadows on the Moon weaves a spell as deft as any by its main character. Beautiful and cruel; a mesmerizing read with an intoxicating love story.
—L.A. Weatherly, author of Angel Burn and Angel Fire

Marriott plays with the motifs of the Cinderella story in fresh new ways, recasting the classic fairy tale as revenge quest in a pseudo–ancient Japan, and her powerful exploration of familial betrayals and the personal cost of vengeance dovetails seamlessly with the more familiar fairy-tale themes of love, belonging, and multiple identities. . . The atmospheric writing, compelling secondary characters, and emotional complexity of this adaptation give it broad appeal and make it a standout addition to the perennially appealing field of fairy-tale novelizations.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

A rich cultural context and strong female characters make this novel reminiscent of Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING (Harcourt, 2008) and Arthur Golden’s MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA (Knopf, 1998). The "Cinderella" theme is interwoven with just the right strokes, creating a magical reinterpretation that is much richer than a mere retelling. Although several hot-button issues such as self-mutilation and gender identity are dealt with in an explicit manner, the fast-moving plot, intense action, and compelling characters will pull readers through to the satisfying conclusion.
—School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Mary Thompson
Marriott weaves together a very different tale of Cinderella, one that is richly textured with layers of emotion and set in a fairytale-like Japan. Suzume is not your typical damsel in distress. She is, in fact, strong and very brave. She barely escapes with her life after witnessing the brutal murder of her father and cousin by soldiers. Her mother soon marries Terrayama, an old family friend from one of the prestigious noble families. Our young protagonist happens to be a Shadow Weaver, meaning that she can create illusions and be whoever she wants to be. When she discovers Terrayama is the man responsible for the attack on her father, she uses her skill to transform into one persona after the next, almost losing her true self in the process. Her thirst for revenge becomes an obsession so dark and encompassing that she turns away from the one who truly loves her. Grief, guilt, self-loathing, revenge, passion, friendship and love are the emotions evoked by this brilliantly written story. The characters are strong and the plot is compelling. The author deftly touches on the delicate topics of self-mutilation and sexual identity in this astonishingly unique take on a classic fairy tale. Readers will fall in love with this mesmerizing romance. Reviewer: Mary Thompson
VOYA - Johanna-Vallee Nation
A magical rendering of feudal Japan provides inspiration for the Moonlit Land, backdrop for Marriott’s latest novel, a retelling of the Cinderella story featuring sixteen-year-old Suzume Hoshima. Suzume possesses the rare and powerful gift of shadow-weaving that allows her to create illusions or conceal herself at will. After witnessing the murders of her father and cousin, Suzume must develop her talent to survive and exact revenge on her enemies, who are closer than she realizes. When she falls for the exotic Otieno, whose magical abilities match her own, she must decide whether to relieve her suffering through manipulation and murder or through acceptance and love. Divided into three sections, Shadows On The Moon highlights Suzume’s evolving identities throughout the story, from noble young girl to drudge in her stepfather’s kitchen to her final incarnation as a celebrated courtesan angling for the Moon Prince’s hand. The pace is slow due to rich descriptions and multiple layers of storytelling. The result, while beautiful, emphasizes the fairy tale romance over the perhaps more original and compelling story of Suzume’s emerging magical abilities. Suzume’s darker emotions and impulses may disturb some readers, as may descriptions of self-harm. Fans of fantasy in general and fairytales in particular should thoroughly enjoy this book, though it will undoubtedly attract more female readers. Violence and minor sexual content make this novel more suitable for older teens. Ages 15 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
"Cinderella" is reimagined as a revenge story set in an alternate feudal Japan. On the day Suzume turns 14, her family is destroyed. Soldiers arrive to slaughter her father, falsely accused of treason, and all his line. Suzume somehow escapes, and with the aid of Youta, a mysterious "cinderman," manages to evade the soldiers until her mother returns from traveling, along with her father's best friend, Terayama. Terayama takes mother and daughter under his protection by marrying Suzume's mother, assuming the wicked-stepfather role. As Suzume learns more about her parents' involvement with Terayama, she discovers reasons to hate and fear him. Marriott (The Swan Kingdom, 2009, etc.) writes wonderful villains, who fulfill fairy-tale roles while maintaining a balance between despicable and understandable. Suzume's blooming desire for revenge and the need to conceal herself to stay alive are aided by her emerging magical powers as a "shadow weaver," training in the craft of illusion under Youta. Shadow weavers are rare to the point of mythological except to other shadow weavers, who are conveniently drawn to help each other in times of need. The emotionally damaged, self-harming Suzume needs all the help she can get in her constant illusion-driven reinventions aimed at self-preservation and avenging her family. Strong characters and motivations abound in a rich fantasy world. A dark yet very fresh fairy-tale reinvention. (QR code to digitally access poetry written by characters) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
HL800L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Zoë Marriott is the author of The Swan Kingdom and Daughter of the Flames. About Shadows on the Moon, she says, "I never liked Cinderella as a little girl. I hated the fact that she needed someone else to come along and rescue her. Then it occurred to me: what if Cinderella were strong and brave — and out for revenge all along?" Zoë Marriott lives in England.

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Shadows on the Moon 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful tale of love and despair. A young girl who loses everything then lives 3 different lives and succumbs to powerful depression. This book is relatable to many self-harmers who feel as if they are living multiple lives. A very emotional and heartwarming story. I absolutely reused to put it down. As the main character goes through so many identaties, all connected with recognition by a fellow shadow weaver and growing attraction to the main character, she finds that revenge is indeed an unnecissary thing. Although she wants it more than anything in the world, she turns out to want her love more. This story will captivate you in a way that will make you feel as if you were her. Reccomended for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
M_McRoberts More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars actually! I loved this story, which surprised me as I had never heard of it and happened to stumble upon it while perusing the library website for an EPub to hold me over til another book came in. Never did I think I'd enjoy the story so thoroughly. I loved the atmosphere the writer created and the Japanese flavor woven into the realm. I enjoyed that Sasuke's thoughts and doubts and pain are realistic; they are expressed in her thoughts and actions. I also appreciate that an author had the guts to illustrate inner turmoil using cutting. The thought processes are there and it isn't glorified, but it also illustrates how Sasuke really deals with her pain. I wish the ending/resolution wasn't quite so succinct. I would have liked to see the resolution fleshed out a little bit more; not that I felt anything was missing, but I felt that the story could have had a bit more depth in its resolution. Overall, this was a great retelling of a fairy tale - you'll just have to figure out which one...
pagese More than 1 year ago
There was something about this book that called to me from the start. I'm not real versed in books set anywhere in Asia (I know I'm really generalizing there but work with me). But, I had this on my wishlist before it even had a US release date. To say that Suzume's life hasn't been easy might be a gross understatement. She watches her father get brutally killed. Her mother drags her off when she marries another man under the pretense that it's for the protection (so they won't be in ruins). But, she sees something her mother doesn't when it comes to Lord Terayama. When she begins to fear for her own life, she goes into hiding right under his nose. She eventually feels she needs to leave the safety on the household. Through all of this she learns that she is capable of a certain kind of magic. With a little bit of instruction, she can put herself in a position to extract revenge on those who have wronged her. I found the story enchanting. Suzume was an interesting character and I felt every heartache along with her. I understood why she felt the need to cut herself. I understood her absolute dedication to her goal of extracting revenge. I understood her confusion on living for herself and carrying on her families memories. It was all beautifully crafted together. I also loved the explanation of her shadow-weaving. It was an interesting type of magic that I don't recall every reading about before. I think my favorite part of this book was the intricate cultural details. It may not be entirely real, but it felt like it could be. I loved the idea of the Moonlit Lands and the Shadow Princess. It had a historical fiction feel with a cultural that I'm completely unfamiliar with. If I can find more books like this...I might have a new country I love to read about! I tore through this book. It closes nicely, but I think it leaves room for a sequel. I would read it if she wrote it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had heard of shadows on the moon someqhere and decided to read it. So i checked out a copy from rhe library and did so. I had no clue what it was actually about untill i got my hand the the book . I reaf it and loved it. Shadows on the moon is an amazinf book. Ironicly i found a connection to cinder by marrisa meyer in it. They are both modern cinderella stories and both set in asia. Cinder is in china and shadows on the moon is in japan. They are both really good book. I highly reccomend both of them to all.
Truly_Bookish More than 1 year ago
Set in a fantasy version of Japan, Shadows on the Moon is about a young girl, Suzume, who suffers a horrible injustice and becomes obsessed with getting revenge, even if cost her everything: her identity, love and even her freedom. Suzume is the Cinderella-like character in this fairytale retelling but she is like no other Cinderella you have ever met. She is flawed and vulnerable yet so incredibly strong. I am a very character driven reader and I absolutely loved Suzume, even when she was making awful decisions based on her need for vengence. Zoe Marriott writes Suzume’s tumultuous emotions so well, I felt like I was experiencing them with her. I so wanted her to get revenge on her oppressors! I know it was wrong but Suzume’s pain was so real and the injustice so great, I wanted them to pay for what they did. I am an escapist reader and tend to avoid issues books and Shadows on the Moon has some serious issues. Suzume has a lot of anger and is depressed. Her mother, a cold and uncaring woman, won’t let her talk about her pain so Suzume starts cutting herself to release her pent up emotions. We are not talking a onetime thing here guys, she cuts repeatedly throughout the book. Normally, heavy issues like this would be a turn-off for me but Marriott’s writing is so good and the entire plot is so well done, I could not stop reading this book! The secondary characters are also very well written and I was most surprised by Suzume’s love interest, Otieno. He was strong, handsome and totally unexpected! I love that Marriott does not focus on the romance in this book. It’s something that sustains Suzume but it’s her need for revenge that drives her and the story. I have not even touched on the magical, shadow weaving aspects of this story or the breathtaking setting (while it’s fantasy, looks a lot like feudal Japan) – they are awesome and not to be missed! Overall, Shadows on the Moon is a fantastic fantasy novel with very realistic contemporary issues. It’s dark, it’s sad, I could not put it down and the ending is completely satisfying. This is my first book by Zoe Marriott but it will not be my last. I already got one of her earlier books, Daughter of the Flames, from my library and I can’t wait to dig in! Content: Implied sex, kissing and violence. There are some mature themes that you may want to discuss with your teens before they read this book including the cutting/self-harm (that I mentioned before) and contemplated suicide. There is also a transgender character who has a long term relationship with a married man and characters discuss prostitution. This book is recommended for older/more mature teens and adults.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the ShadowClan leader's den.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here the apprentices of Shadowclan will rest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ReadingCorner More than 1 year ago
The classic Cinderella is beautifully re-imagined in Shadows on the Moon as a tale of heartbreak and revenge. Woven into the tapestry of a fantasy world, Shadows on the Moon tells the story of Suzume, whose father and cousin were brutally murdered right in front of her--a day that will haunt her all her life. Life goes on for some, but Suzume constantly grapples to pull herself into her new world--her step-father's world. Revelations will shatter her world and choices will leave her drowning in her sorrow and remorse--until she is offered the chance at vengeance and will stop at nothing to get it. Something about Suzume captured me from the first pages. Her personality had a depth that we see throughout the novel as she grows up, transforming, through unfortunate circumstances, from a spunky young girl to a shadowed young woman shut off from her emotions and world. Her strength, however beaten she may seem at points, is incredible and it is emphasized in her moments of cunning and bravery. She's a survivor and someone who makes difficult decisions, but her ferocity is often tempered by moments of frailty that remind the reader that she's really just a young girl The world that Ms. Marriott has crafted was beautifully done. The descriptive and formal writing style, while a tad jolting at the beginning, is something that you settle into gradually. As I delved deeper into the story, the setting came alive more and more and I could imagine myself walking down the paths right alongside Suzume. While the world is a fictional fantasy land, Ms. Marriott seems to draw from Japanese culture and I loved how beautifully those elements were woven into the story. It really added a profound sense of culture to the world. Shadows on the Moon is a fairy tale retelling that really stood out to me. The unique world and characters made this story so much more than just another retelling for me. The way that she moved the story alone rang true as a Cinderella re-telling but in the end the unique elements that Marriott added make it stand on its own as a unique story that explores deeper emotions--fear, loss, betrayal, and revenge.
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect with Shadows on the Moon since I had gone into the novel with my eyes blindfolded. What I do know, is that from the start of the novel to the finish, I had found the novel a totally intriguing read. Not only was it an original re-telling of the Cinderella tale, twisted into a new plot, but it was also based in a fantasy land where tons of Japanese and Chinese terminology was used. What I found interesting was that the Cinderella in this story is one that I won’t soon forget. Suzume was such a sorrowful character that I couldn’t help but like her. From the start of the novel to the next two lives she would end up living, I couldn’t help but feel sorrow with her. I loved how Suzume was an emotionally broken character who had experienced so much loss and torment and how vengeance was beginning to consume her in such a beautifully written way. Now, considering that I said two other lives, I feel I’m obligated to add that Suzume is a Shadow Weaver. Which is a person who can use the shadows and the light to create illusions and upon being hunted by her wicked step-father, Suzume is forced to use those abilities to create whole other lives for her to survive. Personally, I found that each life Suzume experienced had my mind spinning and thinking in ways it never had before. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try to: With every “part” of the novel, it started with Suzume entering a new life. The novel starts off with Suzume, a daughter of noble birth with a life that seems pleasant, up until that life is taken away. After she discovers that her step-father really is evil, she ends up as Rin. A drudge who is a servant in his household. And after that she becomes Yuen, who will become Shadow Bride and finally have revenge served on a silver platter. All through those “life-times” I found myself noticing that everything can be taken away in so little time. Deep stuff. I did enjoy the romance in the novel between Suzume/Rin/Yue and the foreigner Otieno, who stole my heart the moment he saved Suzume’s life. After that, it was simply chance that continued to bring the two together (does anybody else hear the word destiny playing on the wind?). I absolutely loved that Otieno would constantly find Suzume/Rin/Yue so that the two of them could be together, and how he made himself clear that he loved her and only her for the rest of his life. Total awww *la cute face* moment and I know that throughout the novel, whenever Suzume/Rin/Yue broke his heart for her own sake, that my heart broke with Otiento’s. While there were a few times when I would lose interest or become confused, it was still a read worth enjoying. I would recommend this to fans of the fantasy genre, or people who just want to lose themselves in a good book…
Magluvsya03 More than 1 year ago
I would first like to thank Netgalley and the publishers who allow us to read books from them via thier galleys :) I have found some great books on there. This book is mix (FOR ME) between a fairy tale and Milan (yes the cartoon)... Let me explain. It's not set in present time, as they ride horses, however it could be in present time as it's got a feel for dystopian-not quite sure, BUT it doesn't matter. The lead character-Suzume, but I can't keep that name, as she assumes different names thoughout different stages in her life. She starts out as Suzume, the carefree child and has a pretty great life. Then the soldiers come and life tragically and dramtically changes. Then, (& I must say, I hated her mother) Suzume's mother remarries in order to save them from dispair. More tragic things happen and she becomes someone else. (Just like Milan, she is willing to give up herself to help her family, even if she has to hide herself to do it) The fantasy side of this story is intriguing, as shadow-weaving is like a magical ability to change appearances and like the fae who can glamour themselves. Things are a little more complicated, but you should read to find out. Now, on the romance side, Suzume wants nothing more to avenge her family-that means throwing away a true love journey. I think I could understand this in the way that when you love your family, you want the best for them. However, she is a small-ish, teenage girl, with no higher class influence, until she meets a wonderful friend, and she goes a little crazy with her justifications in wanting her vengeance. I have never read a book written like this, nor with this type of culture, so I must say-that really appealed to me. Also, the characters and their backgrounds are just fascinating. The writing is supurb, other than a few cultural words that I were quite sure what they meant, but the author tries to make it for you to understand the meaning in her own way. I don't want to give too much away, but, this book is a fresh read. It's something you should read if you are more into the bigger plot line with a little supernatural on the side, and a lovely ending :) I think I will have to pick up more books by this author! :) 4 Paws!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it when a book surprises me in such a positive way that, although I don't expect it, I fall in love and hate when the story ends. This was exactly what happened with "Shadows on the Moon." The story is apparently a re-telling of the classic Cinderella story, set in an imagined interpretation of feudal Japan. I use the word "apparently," because I really had no clue, while I was reading it, that this was a re-telling until I saw another blogger mention it. The story is so unique and nontraditional, that the parallels of Marriott's tale and Cinderella are only there if you really dig for them. 'Shadows on the Moon" itself is completely stand-alone and has an ability to keep you guessing. The story focuses on Suzume, a young girl with a very special talent called "shadow weaving." This talent enables her to "weave" illusions over herself - cloaks of night and darkness, serene facial expressions, and other physical perceptions. Her skill comes in handy the day men come to kill her father. Without knowing what is happening, Suzume uses her gift to escape a grim fate and ends up haunted with the knowledge that she survived when she shouldn't have. Her new life becomes one big illusion, and her need for revenge becomes her one ultimate goal. It is out of this need that Suzume encounters twists and turns, all of which paint a thoroughly imagined and engrossing story. I'm not going to lie - there are points in the book that are dark, and the themes dealt within are controversial and more contemporary. Marriott writes these so well into a book that is historical in nature, without making them feel out of place. Vivid, and engaging, the story is really one that transports you into a different world - a world of exotic strangers, kimono-clad ladies, and blooming cherry blossoms. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters alike and would strongly recommend this book to anyone - not just lovers of fairy tale re-tellings.