Neryn has been fleeing Enforcers for most of her young life. After she is snapped up in a game of chance, she is given the opportunity to make her way to a safe place. Trusting no-one, she heads off on her own, but doesn’t know the way in the winter.
Neryn and Flint’s relationship is a tenuous one. Neryn doesn’t trust anyone, sensibly enough in her world. She tries to trust the un-canny folk, but in the beginning they aren’t that fond of her either.
This novel is mainly about the journey to Shadowfell (which often seems hopeless and too far away), and Neryn displaying the signs of the Caller before she can begin training. Although not particularly entrancing at the beginning, it did warm up.
This novel reminded me strongly of another set of books I enjoyed by Alison Croggon. The Books of Pellinor is also a journey and powers quartet.
In every novel of Marillier the background and landscape (as well as traditions), are strongly rooted in Celtic beginnings. If you’re fond of her other works, you’ll like this one too. If you (or your younger reader) aren’t ready for the Daughter of the Forest, this is a perfect starter into this world-type.
The magic system in this world is not particularly new. People are ‘canny’, and the fairy folk they see are ‘un-canny’. Although the tyrant king holds that these people are ‘smirtched’, and wants to kill them all off. I don’t quite understand this, as it was a prophesy that he would die at the hand of someone canny, yet he brings them closer to him if they suit his purposes. Then again, he is a tyrant.
I received this novel straight from Pan Macmillan for review. I would have bought it on my own however, as I love these sets of novels from this author.