CBR12 BINGO: Violet
While searching online for a book to fill the violet category, I was drawn to the lovely illustration of a girl and her violet shadow on the cover of Shadow Weaver. I only wish I’d done a little research first and learned that there is a part 2 to this story, because part 1 leaves the reader with many unanswered questions.
Shadow Weaver starts with an original and rather charming premise: a young girl named Emmeline, blessed by a passing comet while her mother was pregnant, has a gift for controlling shadows. She can beckon them, play with them, even form tangible objects from them. Even more remarkably, Emmeline can communicate with her own shadow, whose name is Dar. Unfortunately, talking to your shadow tends to raise a few eyebrows, and most people think Emmeline is pretty weird, including her parents. When an emissary of the wealthy Lady Aisling visits Emmeline’s family, he offers to take the child away to be “cured.” When the emissary falls into a coma after Dar visits with him to try to change his mind, Emmeline runs away, afraid she will be taken away to be punished and her magic stolen from her.
This is a pleasant fantasy that should engage young readers, touching on themes of friendship, loyalty, and individualism. When Emmeline meets a boy named Lucas who has the magical ability to play with light the way she plays with shadows, Emmeline is delighted but Dar is jealous. Emmeline is thrilled to meet someone who understands her and doesn’t think she’s weird, but she’s torn because Dar has always been her best friend. Now, from page 2, every knowing adult is saying to the young heroine, “This is a toxic relationship, Emmeline. Dar is a bully and she’s using you. Can’t you see she’s driving a wedge between you and everyone else?” But I guess that’s the benefit of being an adult. It’s difficult to watch Emmeline let herself be conned by her “friend.” When Dar tells Emmeline that there is a ritual that she can perform to make herself whole (i.e., a living girl) again, E. reluctantly follows all of Dar’s instructions, even stealing from Lucas’s parents, the kind family that lets her take shelter with them. Of course, you can understand why a lonely child who feels unloved would fall prey to this kind of manipulation, but I haven’t seen this much foolishness from a twelve-year-old since Sansa Stark sold out her dad to Queen Cersei.
The story is filled with adventure suitable for young readers: Lucas, Emmeline and other children with powers hide from the authorities, because there appears to be a plot to take them away. Nobody knows what happens to the children, but parents are desperate to keep their magical children hidden and safe. Will Emmeline be honest with Lucas about her past? Will Dar become a real girl? Will the evil Lady Aisling get her comeuppance? Will Emmeline’s parents embrace her magic? Well, I know the answers to some of these questions, but not all, because as I said, the book ends with a cliffhanger! Now I’ll have to read Comet Rising, and hope that ties up all the loose ends.
Drat, the two books together could have made a Red-Violet combo!
For an adult, 3.5 stars feels about right. If you have a young daughter, they’d probably rate it at a 4 or a 5. I can imagine that I would have loved this book as a child.