5 Things About Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott

January 27, 2018 Review 12 ★★★★

5 Things About Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Purchased
Pages: 464
Length: 11 hrs
Release Date: July 7th 2011
Series: The Moonlit Lands #1
Genres: Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy, Love & Romance, Young Adult
A powerful tale of magic, love and revenge set in a fairy tale Japan.

Suzume is a shadow weaver. Her illusions allow her to be anyone she wants - a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really?

A heartbroken girl of noble birth? A drudge scraping by in a great house's kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?

Whatever her true identity, she is determined to capture the heart of a prince - and use his power to destroy those who murdered her family. Nothing will stop her. Not even love.
This book may be unsuitable for younger readers due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence. Note that this review itself does not contain any inappropriate material.

An accidental reread

When I first started this audiobook it felt awfully familiar. Turns out when I checked Goodreads I’d already marked this book as read way back in 2012. I’d even reviewed it! From the sounds of it I’d thought it was an okay read but it had been so long I was curious to see if my thoughts might have changed.

A Japanese fantasy with Cinderella elements

The book is kind of marketed as a Cinderella retelling but it’s not. There are definitely the key Cinderella elements (the ball, the shoes, the working) but there are more than enough differences to make itself its own unique story. I loved the setting (it’s very reminiscent of ancient Japan) and the magic system was super interesting but not fully explored.

My favourite part was the romance

The romance is so slow burn and sweet. After all Suzume had been through, she deserved someone as sweet and caring as Otieno. I would have loved to see him be able to spend some more time with her being happy. They deserve more happy memories together.

It’s not a light hearted novel

Despite the fairy tale retelling prospect, this book isn’t happy. It starts with the slaughter of Suzume’s family, then follows her emotional path toward vengeance. Her road isn’t easy, isn’t happy. She has a lot of blame and anger which she does express through self harm. It was heart breaking to read, but really made me feel for her as a character.


I wanted an epilogue

Just to see Athesea (I could be spelling that wrong, having listened to the audiobook ha) and see the characters find happiness in their new lives. After all they’ve been through they deserve a good life. I would like to know how they fare after all they’ve been through. Maybe we’ll get lucky and see them in BAREFOOT ON THE WIND, the companion novel that’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling.


SHADOWS ON THE MOON is a book I didn’t expect to enjoy more this second time round but I did. It hit me at the right time I think and everything just worked. It’s not a light book, with Suzume struggling through many challenges as she grows and learns about herself. I loved all the characters and can only hope that we get at least glimpses in the companion novel, BAREFOOT ON THE WIND


Check out this unique fantasy tale:
Book DepositoryBooktopia | BookWorld

Rating Report
Overall: 4.1

12 Responses to “5 Things About Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott”

  1. Zoe Marriott

    Your review popped up in my Google alerts, and while I wouldn’t normally reply to a review (even such a nice one as yours!), I just wanted to let you know that the new UK paperback edition of this book (the one that has the cover you’ve used for the review) does have an epilogue. It’s actually a short story that I wrote specifically for the re-issue. I hope that helps :)

    • Bec

      I love this cover so I was already wanting to buy it, but you’ve just given me another reason I need it ASAP!! Thanks so much for letting me know :D

    • Bec

      Definitely! Especially since I used to borrow a lot of books from the library and can’t remember if I’ve read them or not when I buy them haha

  2. lissa

    ‘shadows on the moon’ is definitely a sad read, though I do like Otieno a lot but sadly, there really isn’t much of him, at least, it just seems like the focus is a lot on suzume, I actually find the book a bit painful to get through especially self-harm moments, those are devastating. I have read the book a few months back so I’m not certain but the ending did have some sort of happy afterwards.

    ‘barefoot on the wind’ is set in the same world but the characters from ‘shadows on the moon’ is not in the book at all. I definitely like and almost love ‘barefoot on the wind’ way more. I hope you get to read that one.

    have a lovely day.
    lissa recently posted…20 Days of Chill: Finale

    • Bec

      I would have loved more Otieno, but I guess it is Suzume’s story. It would be frustrating if Otieno took all the limelight or the romance got in the way of Suzume’s growth.

      I can’t wait to check out Barefoot on the Wind! Such a shame that the characters aren’t mentioned in there though.

  3. Sarah J.

    It’s so interesting when one rereads a novel and loves it more. That happened to me with Fahrenheit 451 and it went from a 2 star read to a 4 star read. I don’t think I’ll reread a book and ever find it five stars because usually five stars are books that will strike me right away. I definitely want to check this one out! Great review, Bec!
    Sarah J. recently posted…The King of Bones and Ashes by J.D. Horn

    • Bec

      Normally I’m afraid that I’ll like a book LESS on reread so this was a present surprise!

      I hope you get the chance to read this soon :D

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