Book Review: Shadows On The Moon by Zoë Marriott

A powerful tale of magic, love and revenge with a strong female lead set in fairy-tale Japan; this is “Cinderella” meets “Memoirs of a Geisha”. Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to recreate 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 Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to capture the heart of a prince – and determined to use his power to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even love. (
Why, Why Why haven’t I read any of Zoë Marriott’s previous books? This is something I intend to put right as soon as possible, because I absolutely adored her writing style in Shadows On The Moon. Described as ‘Cinderella meets Memoirs Of A Geisha’ and with a stunningly pretty cover, I was hoping for something magical from this book, and I definitely feel I got it. Set in a fantasy world reminiscent of old Japan, the book sizzles with magic and romance.
The given comparisons in the blurb are pretty huge ones, but they are absolutely valid here. I love how Zoë Marriott took the story of Cinderella and completely turned it on its head. Suzume is no meek girl waiting for her prince to come along and rescue her. There are layers upon layers to her character, shown through several identities. Everything you’d expect from a fairytale is here: Wicked step parent, badly treated heroine, handsome princes, a ball and even a fairy godmother of sorts, though they all have their very own spins from the norm. But surprisingly there’s so much more to this book than I ever expected. Amongst the fairytale there’s a story of loss, identity, self-hatred and vengeance, which makes this book utterly compelling and ensures Suzame’s story is unforgettable.
The fantastically created world is so beautiful and evocative you can almost hear the rustle of Kimono’s and smell the cherry blossom. It’s rich in detail, with sumptuous descriptions of clothing and surroundings bringing them vividly to life. One particular dancing scene towards the end is described with such detail and passion I could imagine it happening and the intensity of it made me emotional. I think this may be one of my favourite scenes ever in a book…it’s breathtaking!

Then there’s the romance. Ohhh how gorgeous this is, real old fashioned fairytale romance; dark, tortured, dangerous and passionate. It swept me off my feet. The magic I hoped for was there in abundance as we’re introduced to the mystical world of the shadow weavers. All these elements blend together seamlessly to create an epic tale, which completely blew me away. Yet amongst all the magic and romance Marriott raises the serious and relevant subject of self harm. Written with empathy and understanding I felt Marriott captured Suzama’s feelings perfectly and realistically, and through these sections she sheds light on a difficult to understand topic. This really is a book with many hidden depths.

So as you can probably tell, I LOVED this book. From the very beginning Suzame’s story and Zoë Marriott’s world captivated me. I was completely lost inside this world; it wrapped itself around me as if the shadow weavers themselves had cast a spell. I know this book is one that has left a lasting impression and I’ll think of for a long time to come.

Published by Walker UK July 2011
Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Shadows On The Moon by Zoë Marriott

  1. Can't wait for my copy to arrive! I have her second book, Daughter of the Flames, on my bookshelf but haven't read that yet. I've been waiting for SHADOWS since this time last year when I first saw the trailer(s) on Youtube.

    Glad you loved it. There has been good feedback so far. 🙂


  2. Vicki, Very high praise and I have wanted this book for a while. I love any retelling and this one just has so much going for it. Now I am adding writing style so it is a must have. Thanks for the great review.


  3. I have only read Daughter of The Flames before but I loved it so much, all her books are getting new covers for the release of this one next month I believe so I'm going to buy them! (I got DotF from the library!) I'm glad you enjoyed it but after hearing your initial thoughts last weekend I knew you would! 😀


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