”On my fourteenth birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before.”
Suzume is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she wants to be. Except herself.
Suzume died officially the day the Prince’s men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no longer sure of her true identity.
Is she the girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?
Everyone knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama.
And nothing will stop her. Not even love.
This is the story of a girl dealing with the pain, anger, grief and sorrow inside her. It’s the story of a girl who lost everything because of one man’s whim dressed as love.
Suzume barely escapes from the soldiers who killed her father and cousin, and she did it thanks to her power as a shadow weaver, a power she didn’t know about until her life was at risk. Her shadow weaving power allows her to create illusions, or glamour, over herself to change her appearance.
Suzume and her mother were taken in by Terayama, her father’s friend. And soon, Terayama and her mother were married. All that time at Terayama’s, Suzume wanted to be invisible, she was scarred and depressed and used her shadow weaver power to hide her feelings, she wanted relief and found it by inflicting herself wounds. After discovering the truth about Terayama’s and her mother role in the death of her father, Suzume’s true journey began, and she became Rin, a poor girl working in the kitchens of Terayama’s household, hiding in the one place Terayama would never look for her. She stayed there for a while until the day her need for revenge made her do something impulsive and … well … she had to run away for good this time. Later she met a woman that helped her get her life together again, so Suzume-Rin became Yue, a beautiful courtesan with one goal in mind: Become Moon Bride to gain the Moon Prince favor and avenge her family.
This book is supposed to be fantasy but for me, it felt real … more fiction than fantasy, her shadow weaver power was not THAT important in the story, of course it helped her but she could have done without it. What I liked about her is that she seemed real to me, one day she was a girl with a loving family living in a beautiful place with no worries and the next she sees the bloodshed and looses everything, of course she was going to get depressed. I felt her pain, the first part of the book was a bit slow, yes, but showed a numb Suzume, going with the flow, hiding her feelings and trying to cope with everything inside her heart. When she became Rin … that’s when I began to have problems with Suzume. Rin wanted revenge, yes, but she just … existed … I mean, she did NOTHING … so instead of doing something like this:
She was EMO-Suzume-Rin …
And when she finally stopped being a couch potato (errrrr … passive) and got a bit of initiative … things got really messed up and well … I won’t spoil anything but … she had to run away and got very depressed (again) and with reason!!! (Your mom is your MOTHER no matter what …)
What I am saying is that after touching bottom, Suzume-Rin got up, stronger and FINALLY started plotting (sort of) revenge …. Her character development was good, but slow … there was a point where I wanted her to die … I’m serious she was depressed again and again and I found myself justifying her behavior all the book saying “ok she suffered this and then that happened” but there is a limit to everything and I wanted to slap her in the face at some point and tell her “you are a shadow weaver!! use your power and DO SOMETHING instead of starving on the streets!!! steal food or clothes just do ANYTHING!!”
The revenge … was not exactly what I thought it would be … I mean, when she decided to do something she chose that path and well… with her power she could have done something else a long time ago … so in my opinion, her revenge was more like Emily Thorne’s Style (TV Serie Revenge) instead of Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill… and NO, she didn’t do the Mulan thing either … this was more like Memories of a Geisha … mhh yeah there were some similar scenes …
The love interest … Otieno is a foreigner that fell in love with Suzume/Rin/Yue … prince charming … what else can I say???
The scene …
“I could hardly wait to be alone that night, hardly wait for the dinner to be over, so Mother and Terayama-san would climb into their flower-hung palanquin and be borne off on their tour of Terayama-san’s lands. When the chattering guests finally departed, Mai accompanied me to my room. It was not thought proper for a maiden to be unattended at night, but while Terayama-san and Mother were off on their wedding trip, I had the power to ban Mai from my room, and I did, sharply. That night one cut was not enough. I broke open the scabs of other cuts, old wounds that I had made over the past three months, and made new ones, slashing again and again with the curved silver blade I had stolen from Mother’s manicure tools. I felt no relief. I heard nothing but the shrill cries inside me. The blade slipped from my fingers and rolled across the tatami mat, leaving a wet trail behind it. I stared, panting. My throat was dry and sore, and my lungs were tight, as if I had been screaming, but the only screaming had been inside, I was sure of that. Head swimming, I reached for the blade. There were soft plopping noises as I extended my hand. Fat, dark drops spattered the mats. I stared for a long moment before I realized I was looking at blood. My blood.”
So this was not action packed bloody revenge, but it was a very good reading. A Cinderella re-tell?? More or less, You have the prince charming, two fairy god mothers and a scarred Cinderella …
I would have liked to see Suzume use more her power, yes she lacked training most part of the book but still …
I enjoyed this book a lot, however I have the feeling that … is like you have all the fancy ingredients to do a gourmet dish and end up with cordon bleu chicken … it’s better than fried chicken but not very fancy. (Yep … I need to sleep … I’m rambling)
3.75 stars … LOL … I’m between 3 (cause something was missing) and 4 (still … I enjoyed it a lot … inspite it all :P)