Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: July 2013
Genre: young adult, fantasy
Neryn has finally found the rebel group at Shadowfell, and now her task is to seek out the elusive Guardians, vital to her training as a Caller. These four powerful beings have been increasingly at odds with human kind, and Neryn must prove her worth to them. She desperately needs their help to use her gift without compromising herself or the cause of overthrowing the evil King Keldec.
Neryn must journey with the tough and steadfast Tali, who looks on Neryn’s love for the double agent Flint as a needless vulnerability. And perhaps it is. What Flint learns from the king will change the battlefield entirely-but in whose favor, no one knows.
Neryn, after an exhausting and enlightening journey to Shadowfell with Flint, has finally found a place to call home with fellow rebels in King Keldec’s Alban kingdom. It is there she begins her training as a Caller, a person with the ability to call upon all fairy-like creatures called the Good Folk, to save Alban from destructive rule and bring it back to it’s traditional, safe ways. But she must meet with the four Guardians before she can help her rebel cause in this war, and she must travel in secret from King Keldec. With Flint as his most trusted confidante, how will the cause stay alive? And how will Flint manage to continue his double-agent life?
Once again, Marillier brings to life Anglo-Saxon Celtic folklore in a very Tolkien-esque world. I was absolutely enchanted and could not put the book down. Neryn, albeit small in stature and physically weak, has such a powerful mind and fantastic connection with humans and Good Folk alike that I cannot help but admire her strength, confidence, and will. She’s incredibly intelligent and determined. Her love for Flint is not the primary focus at all in this trilogy, which is such a relief. It makes every moment they have together all the more sweet, and her goal in this trilogy all the more powerful.
I find Neryn’s tasks quite relaxing to read. It’s a lot of visualization, mental imagery to control the physical world, traditional rituals and respect to the old ways. In a way, Neryn’s tasks are meditative, reflective, and every sacrifice made by the Good Folk is done willingly in her honor. She’s such a peaceful character, such a pleasure to read.
There is a chapter in the book regarding a summer festival, several days of games and tournaments featuring men of strength. It’s very medieval, reminds me of Renaissance fairs, and truly shows how remarkable Marillier can be when she incorporates her academic knowledge with this fictional lore. I appreciated the descriptions, no matter how enthralling or brutal. It brought past and present Alban culture to life.
I cannot wait for the next installment!
Read my review of the first book, Shadowfell.