Shadow Weaver

Blessed by the Cerelia Comet with the talent of "shadow weaving," 12-year-old Emmeline has always been different. Her talent makes darkness a tool: she can shape and mold shadows into toys, animals and other objects. The only shadow Emmeline doesn't manipulate beyond a friendly touch is her own shadow, Dar, her friend and constant companion. Though Emmeline finds joy and comfort in her shadow play, those around her fear it: "they don't see how wonderful the shadows are, the beauty in the darkness, not like I do."

When a visiting nobleman offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of her shadow magic, Emmeline and Dar are troubled by her parents' agreement. Dar offers an unexpected bargain of her own: she'll make sure the man doesn't take Emmeline if Emmeline promises to enact a ritual that will free Dar from her shadow form--and make her human. The next morning, the nobleman is found in a coma, and a witness saw "a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it." Emmeline fears Dar may be the culprit, but pushes aside her suspicions and flees with Dar. Their unexpected journey brings Emmeline to Lucas, a boy who can work magic with light the way Emmeline can direct shadows. Trusting Lucas will mean taking a big chance, but mostly Emmeline wonders if she can truly trust Dar.

The first in a duology from MarcyKate Connolly (Monstrous; Ravenous), Shadow Weaver is a spooky thriller filled with danger and magic. In Emmeline's world, those with talents are rare and their abilities are not always respected or admired--"over the years, people have grown more resentful" of those blessed by the comet. The later introduction of Lucas and his family provides a wonderful contrast to Emmeline's shadowcraft, and the challenge presented to Emmeline when she meets Lucas's family, who "live in the light, while all I've ever known is shadows," is significant. Shadow Weaver is a fresh take on magic and friendship not to be missed. --Kyla Paterno, former children's and YA book buyer

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