Shadow Weaver (Shadow Weaver #1)
The shadows that surround us aren’t always as they seem…Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar.Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.With the noble’s guards on her trail, Emmeline’s only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline’s not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it’s hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.The first in a dark middle-grade fantasy duology, MarcyKate Connolly weaves a tale filled with shadows, danger, and magic that has the feel of a new classic.

Shadow Weaver (Shadow Weaver #1) Details

TitleShadow Weaver (Shadow Weaver #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 2nd, 2018
PublisherSourcebooks Jabberwocky
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Young Adult

Shadow Weaver (Shadow Weaver #1) Review

  • Montzalee Wittmann
    January 1, 1970
    Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly is a fantasy kids book that is absolutely thrilling. Emmeline can control her shadows and she has a companion, her own shadow, Dar. She talks to Dar and Dar talks to her. Dar plays tricks on people which gets Emmeline in trouble and shunned. People are afraid of Emmeline. Then some people want to take Emmeline away, she and Dar run away...I can't spoil it but there is more to her life then she knew, and she just made it worst for everyone on her trip. Very ex Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly is a fantasy kids book that is absolutely thrilling. Emmeline can control her shadows and she has a companion, her own shadow, Dar. She talks to Dar and Dar talks to her. Dar plays tricks on people which gets Emmeline in trouble and shunned. People are afraid of Emmeline. Then some people want to take Emmeline away, she and Dar run away...I can't spoil it but there is more to her life then she knew, and she just made it worst for everyone on her trip. Very exciting, mysterious, a little suspense-filled in spots, and great fantasy. Great imagination at work! Thanks NetGalley for letting me read this awesome book.
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  • Fafa's Book Corner
    January 1, 1970
    Mini review:DNF I received this E-ARC via the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I saw this book on Netgalley one day and decided to request it. I enjoy Middle Grade and thought it would be right up my alley. Unfortunately it wasn't for me. Something about this read very shallow. The writing style wasn't any good. And the main character was really annoying me. As this was a personal thing I still recommend. Others might enjoy this.
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  • Zainab Shah
    January 1, 1970
    I received this as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewAll I have to say is that this was an awesome fantasy book! Also it's a pretty light read so I'm sure everyone would enjoy this even if you don't read any fantasy.
  • Shadowdenizen
    January 1, 1970
    06-07-17: Pre-Read. More thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! The existing reviews have already gotten me super excited for this!***First impression: Only a few chapters in, and I'm already enraptured by the authors lyrical prose quality, as well as being invested in both Emmeline & Dar already!***06-08-17: Full disclosure first… Thanks to Netgalley, as always, for the ARC, it’s most appreciated, but this in no way impacted my review in anyway.As with most bibliophiles, I read A LOT of books, wi 06-07-17: Pre-Read. More thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! The existing reviews have already gotten me super excited for this!***First impression: Only a few chapters in, and I'm already enraptured by the authors lyrical prose quality, as well as being invested in both Emmeline & Dar already!***06-08-17: Full disclosure first… Thanks to Netgalley, as always, for the ARC, it’s most appreciated, but this in no way impacted my review in anyway.As with most bibliophiles, I read A LOT of books, with my acknowledged specialty being the Fantasy/Horror/Fairy-Tale genres. And in most instances, it’s easy to tell within a few pages if the book will ultimately grab me or not. And I’m extremely pleased to say that with this upcoming title “ShadowWeaver” (the first in a series) by MarcyKate Connolly, that happened within the first few paragraphs!The lyrical quality of the authors prose completely sucked me in from the opening paragraphs; coupled with an immediate vested interest in our focal characters Emmeline & Dar, I was able to push through this book in record time, quite unable to put it down!What the author handles particularly expertly is capturing the mindset of Emmeline; I genuinely felt the “otherness” that was Emmeline, and her conflicted feeling over the Shadow-Powers she handled, and her relationship with her “other half” Dar. (Capturing this difficult aspect of moving from childhood to adulthood, and dealing with your own darker urges is crucial to the success of a middle-grade book or movie in this genre, and is something that was captured masterfully by books series like “Harry Potter” and films like “Frozen”. [In many ways, Emmeline reminded me of Elsa from that aforementioned movie, and I mean that in the best possible way.])All that said, be aware that this book does not tread any particularly new ground if you know the genre; there wasn’t anything that particularly struck me an especially “New” or “Groundbreakingly Innovative, but I don’t view that as a drawback; on the contrary! It allows for a solid read that allows the author to focus on the characters and settings, and to play a bit with established tropes just enough to make them fresh and engaging.A solid 4-star read, highly recommended for fans of middle-grade fiction, but especially those who enjoy the Fantasy/Fairy-tale oeuvre. I eagerly await the next volume!
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  • Lilyn G. (Scifi and Scary)
    January 1, 1970
    Shadow Weaver is an atmospheric, haunting story that immediately ensnares the reader. This may be written for a middle grade audience, but it begs for adult readership as well. MarcyKate Connolly weaves a tale that keeps you trapped in her world until the very end.Emmeline is a child that's easy to like and want to protect. Also, like most children she's also easy to manipulate and scare. Throughout the story I continually wanted to step into the pages and mother her. To whisper in her ear the t Shadow Weaver is an atmospheric, haunting story that immediately ensnares the reader. This may be written for a middle grade audience, but it begs for adult readership as well. MarcyKate Connolly weaves a tale that keeps you trapped in her world until the very end.Emmeline is a child that's easy to like and want to protect. Also, like most children she's also easy to manipulate and scare. Throughout the story I continually wanted to step into the pages and mother her. To whisper in her ear the truths that she needed to hear. To watch her story unfold, knowing that she had to discover things for herself, was almost painful. But her Shadow Weaver journey was exquisitely told.Shadow Weaver is a book that will draw me back to it for more than one read. And when the second book comes out (for this is part one of a duology), I'll be reading it as well. Emmeline and Lucas could be extremely powerful together and seeing these two kids take on the evil introduced in this first book will be well worth the wait.One of the other things I liked about Shadow Weaver (not that there was anything I didn't like) was the resolution with Dar. I'm not going to say what it was, but the author handled it very nicely. She could have went a few typical routes but she didn't. And while I'm almost positive the solution will come back and bite them in the butt, I'm still happy things ended the way they did.Well-written, with believable dialogue, nicely paced action, and fantasy kept on a level easy for middle-grade readers to understand, Shadow Weaver is an exquisite example of how to write darker fantasy for kids. MarcyKate Connolly did a phenomenal job, and I will be shocked if Shadow Weaver doesn't make it onto the best seller lists for middle grade fiction. I loved it! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review consideration.
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  • Angelica
    January 1, 1970
    When I first saw this book cover on NetGalley several months ago, I knew I simply had to get it. Much like the cover, Shadow Weaver is creepy, and eerie, and dark. Sadly, it was not enough to keep me hooked or make me love it.While the story itself is interesting, I the writing style didn't fully do it for me. It seemed too simplistic at times, even for a middle-grade novel. There was something about it that never fully got me fall into the world of the story. It's a tale of magic and shadows an When I first saw this book cover on NetGalley several months ago, I knew I simply had to get it. Much like the cover, Shadow Weaver is creepy, and eerie, and dark. Sadly, it was not enough to keep me hooked or make me love it.While the story itself is interesting, I the writing style didn't fully do it for me. It seemed too simplistic at times, even for a middle-grade novel. There was something about it that never fully got me fall into the world of the story. It's a tale of magic and shadows and yet, the writing lacked some magic, at least, in my opinion.Plotwise and characterwise, the book actually did very well. The plot was interesting and engaging, especially in the second half of the novel. I also really enjoyed the characters, especially Lucas whom I would like to see more from. As for Emmeline, there were moments I liked her and moments I didn't. She was always lying and eavesdropping and whining about one thing or another. Her thoughts were also a bit repetitive at times, which I guess ties back in with the writing style. Lastly, it was frustrating to see how blindly Emmeline trusted her shadow, Dar, and how oblivious she was to its dark nature, despite all the signs.Still, in the end, I actually liked reading through her adventure and watching her come into her own.The book is a battle between light and dark, and dealing with our own shadows and it displays this very clearly and very well. Despite my problems with it, I highly recommend it. I have doubt that had I read it at a younger age, I would have probably loved it.**I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**
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  • Jessaka
    January 1, 1970
    Enchanting. A play of shadow and light. Children have always been fascinated by their own shadows. When I was young I made shadow puppets on the walls of my bedroom. My teenage friend, Paulette, invited me to spend the night at her house once, and the full moon came streaming into her bedroom window, lighting the wall opposite it. Paulette positioned herself in front of the window and began to mimic Peter Pam’s climbing into a bedroom through the window. Like Peter Pam her body cast a shadow on Enchanting. A play of shadow and light. Children have always been fascinated by their own shadows. When I was young I made shadow puppets on the walls of my bedroom. My teenage friend, Paulette, invited me to spend the night at her house once, and the full moon came streaming into her bedroom window, lighting the wall opposite it. Paulette positioned herself in front of the window and began to mimic Peter Pam’s climbing into a bedroom through the window. Like Peter Pam her body cast a shadow on the lighted wall. What an imaginative young woman Paulette was.The writer of this book goes many steps further than Paulette, as she spins a tale about a girl named Emmeline, who could weave shadows into toys, bridges, and just about anything. She even wrapped them around her in order to hide from others when needed. Her own shadow she called Dar. I couldn’t help but believe that Dar was short for Dark. I even began to think that Dar was not good for her, for Dar reminded me of our own shadow self, the part of us that we wish to hide, the part that is not so good at times but is mysteriously interesting. Her own parents didn’t care for this side of her either and had decided to send her away where she could get help, where she would lose her shadow self. She decided to run away instead and was hunted by men on horses. This book was so enthralling that I couldn’t put it down. And I wondered if Emmeline would be able to continue to weave shadows or if she would be caught and her magic, along with part of her personality, would be taken away from her.As I have aged I don’t really pay any attention to my own shadow. I don’t even make shadow puppets on the wall, but last night the light came into my window, and I looked at my shadow, and my legs were so mysteriously long that I laughed. How delightful to have read a book that brings back memories and made me realize that there is an adult, the author, who still thinks of shadows and light and can weave them into a story for young teens that even draws in adult readers. I wish to thank NetGalley for allowing me to read this book; otherwise, I would have never found it since I don’t search out this genre of books.
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  • Alexis
    January 1, 1970
    * I received this as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review* I have to say I was really surprised with this book. I though it was going to be an okay read, but I loved it. The last half of the book is amazing! Plus a plot twist I didn't even see coming. We have the main character Emmeline who has special powers to manipulate the shadows. Her parents are afraid of her and want her "cured", from there everything spirals out. I really enjoyed this book and I'm excited for the next o * I received this as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review* I have to say I was really surprised with this book. I though it was going to be an okay read, but I loved it. The last half of the book is amazing! Plus a plot twist I didn't even see coming. We have the main character Emmeline who has special powers to manipulate the shadows. Her parents are afraid of her and want her "cured", from there everything spirals out. I really enjoyed this book and I'm excited for the next one!
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  • Riley Redgate
    January 1, 1970
    Ohhh, this book is so wonderful. Vivid yet spare, with children's-story creepiness abound.Hold your breath for 2018, folks. (But like. Figuratively.)
  • Carina Olsen
    January 1, 1970
    I have been so excited to read this book for ages now. I adored the other books by MarcyKate, and couldn't wait to read more books by her. So happy to have been able to read an eARC of this book early. It's so stunning. I wish I could say that I loved this book like I wanted to, but oh, I sadly had some issues too.There are parts of this book that I loved a lot. Found the story pretty incredible. But because of some issues that I had with some things, I couldn't fully love it all. Which makes me I have been so excited to read this book for ages now. I adored the other books by MarcyKate, and couldn't wait to read more books by her. So happy to have been able to read an eARC of this book early. It's so stunning. I wish I could say that I loved this book like I wanted to, but oh, I sadly had some issues too.There are parts of this book that I loved a lot. Found the story pretty incredible. But because of some issues that I had with some things, I couldn't fully love it all. Which makes me a little sad, because I really did want to love it like crazy. Aw. But I did enjoy it a lot, and I am super excited that there will be a sequel.I did find this book to be an easy one to finish, as I felt like it was super short, but there was a lot happening. And I did not really want the book to end, because I did grow to care for the characters. Shadow Weaver tells the story of twelve year old Emmeline. She has had magic ever since she was born. She's able to control shadows. Which was all kinds of awesome. And I loved reading about what she could do. Emmeline is able to talk to her own shadow, as it's almost a person. Which was so complicated and a bit creepy, to be honest. Because of the things that Emmeline can do, people and her parents are afraid of her. So she does not have any real friends, or good people in her life. Which was so sad. Aw. As Emmeline is pretty adorable.This book tells the story of how she runs away from her home, after her parents are planning on sending her away, to cure her of her magic. And Emmeline does not want this at all. So she runs into the forest. But she's not the best planner, and she has lived a pretty sheltered life, so it doesn't go all that well. Her shadow, Dar, is always with her, and she has just shared with Emmeline that it is possible to make her human. Which they are working on doing. And oh, I wish Emmeline had been a bit more careful and wary.There are a lot of interesting things happening in this book. The reason for why Emmeline had to escape was pretty exciting to get to know more about. There are some bad people around, looking for children, looking to take their magic. There aren't that many people in this world that have magic, as they got it in a special way. Which I liked a lot. But I wish there had been more about the world, as there really wasn't much described, and I wanted to know more. But still, I liked reading about where this book took place.I really enjoyed reading about Emmeline. Though at times she could be a lot of stupid, and not seeing things that were obvious, about her shadow. And I didn't like how she lied a lot. Aw. But she was still an awesome girl to read about. Though I did feel that she felt a lot younger than twelve years old. Hmm. But then again, she had been really sheltered. And she was adorable. Anyway. I liked the plot a lot, learning about shadows and magic and more stuff like that. Just wishing that the book had been longer, though.The reason for why I had issues with this book was mostly the writing, sadly. I had so many issues getting through it. Aw. I found it to be a little bit weird, and hard to read most of the time. Especially with the way Emmeline was thinking all the time. She kept repeating herself the whole book too, and that was super annoying. Grew tired of reading the same small parts again and again. I also just had issues connecting with the writing, as I had more issues with it. Just, aw. I'm pretty sad about it. But I didn't dislike the story.Because the plot in this book is pretty good and I enjoyed it at all times. I loved the magic that Emmeline has. I loved reading about her playing with the shadows, and I wanted more of that so badly. I loved it so when she met Lucas, and started spending time with him. Their growing friendship was awesome to read about; just wishing there had been more details about it. And oh, Lucas was pretty incredible, and I truly adored reading about him. And his magic too. Eee. It was beyond stunning and so so interesting as well.Even though I didn't love it, you really should give this book a try. Shadow Weaver is a stunning middle grade book with an incredible lead girl and such an exciting magic story. Huge thank you to the publisher, Sourcebooks, for letting me read this book early via Netgalley. Means the very most to me. I shall now be hunting for a print ARC too, eee. Which are so gorgeous. I'm thrilled that I got to read this book early. I'm just sad that I couldn't love it like I wanted to. Aw. But I still liked it a lot, and I am really happy about that.---This review was first posted on my blog, Carina's Books, here: http://carinabooks.blogspot.no/2017/0...
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    Sadly, Shadow Weaver didn’t live up to my expectations. I was bored to the point where it took me nearly a week to read this 300-page Middle Grade novel. Half the time I just didn’t care to pick up the book. While the world and magical abilities were intriguing, the characters weren’t all that memorable and I don’t feel invested enough to check out the sequel.For the full review and more, head over to The Pretty Good Gatsby!
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  • stardustreader
    January 1, 1970
    I just finished Shadow Weaver by Marcykate Connolly and it was such a quick, cute book. The twists and turns in this book have me wanting more. I can(and will) easily recommend it to anyone of any age looking for a short yet wonderful read. MarcyKate weaves a wonderful tale in just 163 pages, her writing strong and characters realistic, The book leaves on a cliffhanger and I hope the publisher picks up the next book. The charactersEmmeline is a really nice character and her voice, like the other I just finished Shadow Weaver by Marcykate Connolly and it was such a quick, cute book. The twists and turns in this book have me wanting more. I can(and will) easily recommend it to anyone of any age looking for a short yet wonderful read. MarcyKate weaves a wonderful tale in just 163 pages, her writing strong and characters realistic, The book leaves on a cliffhanger and I hope the publisher picks up the next book. The charactersEmmeline is a really nice character and her voice, like the other characters, is strong. Each character stands out on the page and I wish I could read just a bit more of them. I love how she and Lucas have a strong bond together and easily become friends. Lucas is another favorite character of mine, he is so happy and bursting with light(see what I did there?). While I can’t say each character is complex(I don’t have enough material to really go into their character), I can say they are all different from each other and none of their voices blend together. 9/10The PlotThe story is about a young girl name Emmeline who has been blessed by a special comet that comes around every 25 years and gives babies powers. Emmeline is a Shadow Weaver, meaning she can control shadows, talk, and play with them. Her family and servants fear her and hate her powers. When a woman comes to her home, telling her parent she can “cure” Emmeline of her powers, her parents agree to send her to this woman. Emmeline does not like this and runs away, found by a boy who has been blessed with powers as well. The story follows Emmeline as she realizes her true friends and tries to hide from the woman trying to take her away. The book is quick, but that doesn’t mean it won’t satisfy you. 10/10The WritingI love the writing of this book, it’s descriptive but not purple prose. It’s perfect and fits very well for this book. MarcyKate knows how to write, that’s for sure!Final Rating10/10I’m excited for the next book(if the author chooses to write one) and sincerely hope Shadow Weaver the best in the book world. I can’t wait to see it in libraries and bookstores. Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks for giving me this opportunity to read this book!
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  • NaTaya Hastings
    January 1, 1970
    I quite enjoyed this book. It was a little juvenile at times, and some of the main plot points are quite obvious, and when the big "turnaround" comes about at the end, it is no shock because it was quite predictable. However, despite those flaws, the book was a lot of fun to read. The basic premise is that there are people in the world who have been blessed with special powers by a magical comet that only flies by once every generation. One of these people is a young girl who was blessed with th I quite enjoyed this book. It was a little juvenile at times, and some of the main plot points are quite obvious, and when the big "turnaround" comes about at the end, it is no shock because it was quite predictable. However, despite those flaws, the book was a lot of fun to read. The basic premise is that there are people in the world who have been blessed with special powers by a magical comet that only flies by once every generation. One of these people is a young girl who was blessed with the power to "weave shadows." She can take shadows from anywhere and mold them into anything she chooses -- play things, animals, tools, etc. Only, her parents do not see her "gift" as a blessing or a gift. They see it as a curse. Enter the evil baddie who, for reasons I will not name due to spoilers, is "collecting" these children under the guise of "healing them" of their abilities. The parents of this young Shadowweaver, Emmaline, turn to these "healers" to "fix" their daughter. She, however, does not want to lose her abilities so she runs away from home. She finds another family to take her in; this family has a son who has the ability to "sing light". The family is good to her and takes her in with kindness and love -- the first she's seen in her entire life -- but she is being a little less than honest with them. Unlike other people with abilities, she has a special secret -- her shadow is actually alive. It talks to her and has been her best friend for as long as she's been old enough to have friends, and her shadow wants to become a real girl again. There is a ritual that can make that happen, but in order to perform it, Emmaline has to do things she is not always comfortable with doing.I don't want to go on much more because I don't want to spoil anything, but the book is, overall, quite good, and I highly recommend it to those who love young adult or fantasy novels. It is full of beautiful imagery, a good storyline, and interesting, relatable characters. I was quite taken with it. Give it a shot. I think you will enjoy it.
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  • BookishOwlette
    January 1, 1970
    I took one look at this book and instantly wanted to grab it. Whoever worked on the cover art did a marvelous job!Shadow Weaver made me curious from start to finish. Emmeline’s life and her story had me hooked and invested. I'm glad that this is a series because I really do want to know what is going to happen next. This book would be very suitable for a book club. It's interesting and filled with elements that speak to its target audience. I know for a fact, that if I were to read this at a you I took one look at this book and instantly wanted to grab it. Whoever worked on the cover art did a marvelous job!Shadow Weaver made me curious from start to finish. Emmeline’s life and her story had me hooked and invested. I'm glad that this is a series because I really do want to know what is going to happen next. This book would be very suitable for a book club. It's interesting and filled with elements that speak to its target audience. I know for a fact, that if I were to read this at a younger age, I would love it.  I have been suspicious of Dar from the very beginning! There was just something so eery about her. https://bookishowlette.wordpress.com/
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  • Alyx Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    I cannot wait to share this one with the 4th and 5th graders at various elementary schools we visit each month. They are absolutely going to go wild for this one! I thought the plot was well thought out. I had wished there had been some more world-building, since the characters seem to live in a totally different time. I also loved how spooky and creepy Emmaline's voice was at the beginning of the story, but that ghoulishness seemed to diminish throughout. Overall, I was very captivated and thou I cannot wait to share this one with the 4th and 5th graders at various elementary schools we visit each month. They are absolutely going to go wild for this one! I thought the plot was well thought out. I had wished there had been some more world-building, since the characters seem to live in a totally different time. I also loved how spooky and creepy Emmaline's voice was at the beginning of the story, but that ghoulishness seemed to diminish throughout. Overall, I was very captivated and thought this one was a page turner. It is sure to be a hit with our patrons!
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  • Ragan Dendy
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a free copy from NetGalley*Every 25 years a comet passes over and grants select unborn children incredible powers. Emmeline is one such child, able to weave shadows into any shape possible. Emmeline's shadow, Dar, is also alive, an Dar is Emmeline's best friend. Em's powers cause fear and distrust to bloom in all of her friends and family, and her parents eventually seek a cure. Emmeline and Dar run away from home, but Dar begins to grow secretive and Emmeline must wonder if she can *I received a free copy from NetGalley*Every 25 years a comet passes over and grants select unborn children incredible powers. Emmeline is one such child, able to weave shadows into any shape possible. Emmeline's shadow, Dar, is also alive, an Dar is Emmeline's best friend. Em's powers cause fear and distrust to bloom in all of her friends and family, and her parents eventually seek a cure. Emmeline and Dar run away from home, but Dar begins to grow secretive and Emmeline must wonder if she can truly trust her only friend.This was a wonderful children's novel, and I experienced much anxiety and suspense as the story barreled quickly along. Full of memorable characters, anguishing realizations, and powerful children, this was a story I am very glad I was able to read. This is the first start of a new series, and I will be highly anticipating the rest of the novels.
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  • Stacie
    January 1, 1970
    Shadow Weaver, by MarcyKate Connolly, a fantasy for middle-grade readers that reads like a deliciously dark fairytale. Spinning a web around her readers just as protagonist Emmeline crafts her shadows, Connolly has created a world where darkness shines and light is hidden, along with secrets that make the truth hard to distinguish from lies. At the heart of this tale is Emmeline's ever-evolving sense of self and her connections, both good and bad, with others. Emmeline lives in a castle that is Shadow Weaver, by MarcyKate Connolly, a fantasy for middle-grade readers that reads like a deliciously dark fairytale. Spinning a web around her readers just as protagonist Emmeline crafts her shadows, Connolly has created a world where darkness shines and light is hidden, along with secrets that make the truth hard to distinguish from lies. At the heart of this tale is Emmeline's ever-evolving sense of self and her connections, both good and bad, with others. Emmeline lives in a castle that is remote; her parents have hidden her from society because of her special talent: shadow weaving. We meet her where she has alway felt most at home, in the woods, playing with her shadow, Dar. Dar has long been Emmeline's best - and nearly only - friend. But when visitors come to the castle promising Emmeline's parents a "cure" for her talent, that friendship is threatened. Rather than be sent away, Dar convinces Emmeline to run away into the woods. But what they find in the woods is more than the comforting darkness. They find that there is light there, too, and Emmeline begins to doubt whether everything Dar has told her is the truth. But her love and loyalty for her best shadow friend is strong, and guides her towards a decision that will change everything. The strengths of this story are many, with characters whose voices are strong or gentle, soft or harsh, immediately recognizable for their goodness or their flaws. Readers are challenged to question whom or what they believe, and friendship is tested in this fantasy just as it is in real life. Goodness and light are combined with evil and darkness in a way that make both equally compelling, and there are times when the language of each have the beauty of poetry. Shadow Weaver is the first book in a duology, and the ending promises that Emmeline's journey will continue. With gorgeous prose, characters sparkling with life and deliciously dark adventure sprinkled with light, I inhaled this story in what felt like a single breath. For fans of fantasy and dark fairytales (whether kids or big kids like myself) this tale is a must read. Read it on a dark night under the stars, and I promise you'll shiver with fear and delight. *I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Mary Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Middle grade is a genre I've found myself drifting away from. But some of my all-time favorites fall in this category, and since I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from MarcyKate Connolly, I decided to revisit. First of all, I've got to say, SHADOW WEAVER has one of the most stunning covers I've seen in a while. The plot sounded fantastically creepy, and the first paragraph gave me shivers. I mean... I did not reach for my mother like instinct should have instructed me. Instead, I held out m Middle grade is a genre I've found myself drifting away from. But some of my all-time favorites fall in this category, and since I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from MarcyKate Connolly, I decided to revisit. First of all, I've got to say, SHADOW WEAVER has one of the most stunning covers I've seen in a while. The plot sounded fantastically creepy, and the first paragraph gave me shivers. I mean... I did not reach for my mother like instinct should have instructed me. Instead, I held out my tiny arms and smiled at the shadow in the corner of my room.And it smiled back. YES. I loved the characters of Emmeline and Dar. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast felt rather dull and lifeless. Much of the book was like that: there were beautiful images scattered throughout, but the setting was overall quite generic. There were periods of high intensity, but also long periods where I lost interest. The writing was good, but not enveloping. And though I understand that this is middle grade and rules can be bent, I found a few logic holes in the plot itself. It's not one I think I'll be putting on my favorites shelf, but bear in mind, I'm not the intended audience here. It's a promising start to a middle grade duology with plenty of darkness and magic and intrigue that younger readers should enjoy.
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  • Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to recieve an arc from Netgalley to read and review and I cannot begin to tell you how I loved this book.I've always enjoyed middle grade novels because the reader can fully throw themselves into a fantastical world without adult problems getting in the way of the magic of the story. It really enjoyed how Emmeline was not afraid of the shadows. This would really be a great book for kids who are afraid of the dark in my opinion. I also lived how the author used light and dark m I was lucky enough to recieve an arc from Netgalley to read and review and I cannot begin to tell you how I loved this book.I've always enjoyed middle grade novels because the reader can fully throw themselves into a fantastical world without adult problems getting in the way of the magic of the story. It really enjoyed how Emmeline was not afraid of the shadows. This would really be a great book for kids who are afraid of the dark in my opinion. I also lived how the author used light and dark magic to make something different but I can't say anymore or else I would spoil an important part of the book. This is a story about a lonely girl who discovers what love and friendship REALLY feels like, in a world with cruel and selfish people.
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  • Alyson Kent
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, Netgalley, for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.This is a good read overall, and I know several of the kids that frequent my library that will enjoy the spooky edge this story has. But I also had some small issues with it, too, hence the three star rating. I don't want to go into details because I don't want to give away spoilers, but I just have issues with most of the adults in this story. But I also understand some of why they do what they do/come across the way that they d Thank you, Netgalley, for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.This is a good read overall, and I know several of the kids that frequent my library that will enjoy the spooky edge this story has. But I also had some small issues with it, too, hence the three star rating. I don't want to go into details because I don't want to give away spoilers, but I just have issues with most of the adults in this story. But I also understand some of why they do what they do/come across the way that they do. Still, the setting and Emmeline's abilities are fascinating to read, and I'm anxious to see what the sequel has in store for all involved.
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  • Brent Gilson
    January 1, 1970
    I received and ARC of this story and loved it from start to finish. Connolly has done it again with this story. Emmeline is a great character that really demonstrates what it is like for kids that grow up different and struggle to make friends. While set in a world of fantasy and Magic like Connolly's past books (which I highly recommend, and my students love) Shadow Weaver establishes new lore and and world with infinite potential for more stories. I would highly recommend this book to any clas I received and ARC of this story and loved it from start to finish. Connolly has done it again with this story. Emmeline is a great character that really demonstrates what it is like for kids that grow up different and struggle to make friends. While set in a world of fantasy and Magic like Connolly's past books (which I highly recommend, and my students love) Shadow Weaver establishes new lore and and world with infinite potential for more stories. I would highly recommend this book to any classroom library.
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  • ☽ MaryJane ✨
    January 1, 1970
    This just popped up on my twitter feed and I can’t stop drooling over this cover!!! Look at it!!!!
  • Christina Reid
    January 1, 1970
    The first time my shadow spoke to me I was a mere infant in the cradle. They say on the night I was born that even the stars fled the sky and the moon hid under a dark cloak. That I was a quiet thing, with a shock of black hair and eyes like glittering onyx. I did not scream like other newborn children. And I did not reach for my mother like instinct should have instructed me.Instead, I held out my tiny arms and smiled at the shadow in the corner of the room.And it smiled back. Didn't know what The first time my shadow spoke to me I was a mere infant in the cradle. They say on the night I was born that even the stars fled the sky and the moon hid under a dark cloak. That I was a quiet thing, with a shock of black hair and eyes like glittering onyx. I did not scream like other newborn children. And I did not reach for my mother like instinct should have instructed me.Instead, I held out my tiny arms and smiled at the shadow in the corner of the room.And it smiled back. Didn't know what to expect going into this, but so glad I requested it on Netgalley - a really solid middle-grade adventure. I will be buying my own copy, reading it to my class and can' wait until the second part of this duology. This reads like a future classic and I can see it being very popular with children aged 7+ who have also enjoyed stories such as The Worst Witch, or for slightly older readers who have enjoyed the creepieness of Coraline.I found myself drawn in immediately and could really relate to Emmeline and her isolation - she sees her magic as something beautiful but those around her are frightened by it. As the reader, we also have a faint thread of unease running through the text as Emmeline's shadow appears in mysterious places and, almost, seems to have a mind of its own...The sense of menace deepens when some of Emmeline's shadow play goes wrong and the arrival of some visitors who say they can help her with her 'problem'.Read on and enjoy - highly recommended book!With so few people around with magic talents, you'd think they'd want to show me off. But they don't see how wonderful the shadows are, the beauty in the darkness, not like I do.Only Dar understands me.She squeezes my ankle like she knows my thoughts. You're not crazy and you;re not an embarrassment; you're a gift. Someday we'll prove it to them.What I liked: Emmeline's character, the storyline and world-building which hint at so much more going on behind the scenes, the mystery about Dar and the people Emmeline meets on her journey.Even better if: I want Part 2 of this duology now!How you could use it in your classroom: This would make an interesting read-aloud for upper primary school or a recommendation for those who have already enjoyed books such as Coraline and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It could also spark a discussion about the attitude towards people who are different - how would you feel if your friend or family member had magic? Would you treat them differently? Would the world be better with magic or not? Another interesting discussion could be looking at the unintended consequences of Emmeline's actions - this links back to old fairytales where wishes often go wrong in unforeseen ways. Is there something you have done which hasn't worked out as planned? How do you handle it?(Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for my e-ARC)
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  • Caitlin Christensen
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars! Emmeline was born with the gift of shadow weaving in her blood - she can exert her power of shadows, going so far as to even turn them into tangible things. To top it off, her own shadow, nicknamed Dar, speaks to her and happens to be her best friend. Emmeline loves Dar, but no one else even believes she exists. It's unheard of for a shadow weaver to be able to talk to shadows as if they are living things, and this supposed power of her is seen as impossible by many and insane by most 3.5 stars! Emmeline was born with the gift of shadow weaving in her blood - she can exert her power of shadows, going so far as to even turn them into tangible things. To top it off, her own shadow, nicknamed Dar, speaks to her and happens to be her best friend. Emmeline loves Dar, but no one else even believes she exists. It's unheard of for a shadow weaver to be able to talk to shadows as if they are living things, and this supposed power of her is seen as impossible by many and insane by most. Even her own parents are afraid of what she can do. It doesn't help that bad things seem to happen to those closest to her, and that Dar seems to be involved in those "accidents" more often than Emmeline would like to admit. So when her parents get offered a "cure" that will save Emmeline from her powers they jump on it, deciding to send her away without a second thought. But Dar has other plans, and soon the man who came to take her away is in a coma, Dar and Emmeline are on the run, and life will never be the same. Emmeline is an interesting character - she's definitely very naive and sheltered, and it shows in her POV, but I liked going on the journey with her and watching her learn more about the world. As she journeys through the wilderness, meeting people along the way, she learns a lot about loyalty, friendship, and trust. I think she had a good character arc with a lot of growth, which is something that I admire in a MG novel. Dar, on the other hand, is a tricky little thing, and I didn't really trust her from the beginning. I could tell there was going to be more from her story than what she let on, and I was rooting for Emmeline to see that and stop doing everything Dar says. But it's complicated when the only friend you've had your entire life is asking for favors - you want to trust them, no matter how sketchy their story is, and I get that. But it was like watching a little girl make deals with the devil the entire book. Very creepy. I can't say I didn't see the twist with Dar coming though. Lucas and his family were highlights - new friends Emmeline meets and stays with in the woods - and I think there is a LOT of potentional for character development between Lucas and Emmeline in the next book. He's got hidden depth (and he's adorable). Overall, I enjoyed this one, but it was a little bit slow at times and I feel like the stakes never reached the heights I was hoping for. But it's a fun book and definitely a good chioce for younger readers!
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  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar. Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble's mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a co Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar. Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble's mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away. With the noble's guards on her trail, Emmeline's only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline's not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it's hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.Shadow Weaver is a twisty tale of friendship, of truths and lies, of magic and secrets.Emmeline is a lonely girl. Because of her shadow magic, her ability to control and shape the shadows around her, there are a lot of people who avoid her. Fear her. As she wants to be liked by them, she's told she doesn't need them by her own shadow named Dar. Dar has always been with Emmeline, she'll protect Emmeline and keep them together. They need each other. But then someone comes to Emmeline's house talking about a cure, about separating her from her magic, and Dar pushes her to leave. Then comes a journey away from home and towards possibly learning the truth about Dar, about why she's not exactly like the other shadows. About why she speaks of freeing herself from Emmeline.It's slightly similar to the author's previous middle grade books, mysterious and magical but set in a wholly new fantasy land. This felt slightly eerier, though. A little more darker and dangerous, a little more duplicitous. There was a time or two when I found Emmeline rather naive when it came to Dar's insistence and bizarre requests, but that was on me. Looking at Emmeline, at a lonely girl who's only ever had one consistent person in her life that cared about her and played with her, when that person was Dar, why wouldn't Emmeline trust her more than other people? I would recommend this to middle grade readers who are looking for more fantasy stories.(I received an advance copy of this title from Raincoast Books.)
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  • K.A. Wiggins
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: reviewing uncorrected digital proof via NetGalleyThis story had some really interesting ideas but didn't hold my attention as well as I'd have liked. The relationship between the main character and her shadow (invisible friend?) is interesting, unique, and offers some unusual opportunities to show a story from a very interior perspective. I really liked the setup and premise. Adult readers will very quickly pick up on the fact that the shadow is a rather suspicious character, but if Disclaimer: reviewing uncorrected digital proof via NetGalleyThis story had some really interesting ideas but didn't hold my attention as well as I'd have liked. The relationship between the main character and her shadow (invisible friend?) is interesting, unique, and offers some unusual opportunities to show a story from a very interior perspective. I really liked the setup and premise. Adult readers will very quickly pick up on the fact that the shadow is a rather suspicious character, but if kids take a little longer to clue in, it still shapes up a nicely creepy, ominous and dark fantasy/horror-lite atmosphere. The setting is that vaguely Medieval Europe-ish world of stone manors/castles and rural cottages, which is a draw for some readers, but tends to be a little light on worldbuilding because it relies on familiar tropes.The threats that launch the adventure felt unlikely; I just didn't buy into the parents' nastiness or the risk of kidnapping by enemy agents. Other child characters were handled well (kids with powers/light-magic boy & power-radar girl) but adults faded into the background. Which, to a certain degree, is fine in kidlit, because the story has to be driven by the child characters, but I felt like it stole some of the intensity, depth, and motivation from the story. As the first book in a series, it seems to be setting things up, without high enough stakes or a shocking enough reveal for my taste. However, an age-appropriate reader might not have the same reaction, and would probably experience the atmosphere and threats as more creepy.
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  • Bran Pendergrass
    January 1, 1970
    I was offered this ARC for an honest review from Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS JabberwockyI was not sure that I was going to like this book I ended up loving it and I bought it to read to my niece when she comes over! I was surprised how rich the imagery was and Lordy mercy that plot twist had me waging my mouth open like a buffoon! I even could relate to the main character Emmeline and thought that it was a great coming of age storyline! I believe that Dar is my favorite character and I adore his m I was offered this ARC for an honest review from Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS JabberwockyI was not sure that I was going to like this book I ended up loving it and I bought it to read to my niece when she comes over! I was surprised how rich the imagery was and Lordy mercy that plot twist had me waging my mouth open like a buffoon! I even could relate to the main character Emmeline and thought that it was a great coming of age storyline! I believe that Dar is my favorite character and I adore his mischief! I wish I could blame my shadows for all the naughty things I did at Emmeline’s age! I highly recommend this book to Tween parents and teachers to let their kiddos read! It is a new favorite!
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  • laurel [suspected bibliophile]
    January 1, 1970
    Once upon a time, children with talents were admired and cherished, as their gifts were bestowed on them every twenty-five years from a magical comet. Now they are hunted by the nefarious Lady Aisling, but twelve-year old shadow weaver Emmaline knows nothing of this. Isolated and alone save for her shadow companion (who no one believes exists) after a series of mysterious accidents injure her childhood friends, Emmaline has nothing to do but play with Dar and practice her shadow weaving. When a Once upon a time, children with talents were admired and cherished, as their gifts were bestowed on them every twenty-five years from a magical comet. Now they are hunted by the nefarious Lady Aisling, but twelve-year old shadow weaver Emmaline knows nothing of this. Isolated and alone save for her shadow companion (who no one believes exists) after a series of mysterious accidents injure her childhood friends, Emmaline has nothing to do but play with Dar and practice her shadow weaving. When a childhood prank goes too far, mysterious visitors come to take Emmaline away. She escapes just in time, and stumbles upon Lucas—a light wielder—and his family. Yet the closer Emmaline becomes to Lucas, the more jealous Dar gets. Rule #1: Never trust a child with a name that ends in “line.” Coraline was the first thing that sprang to mind when I saw Emmaline’s name. Granted, Coraline is not the baddy in her story and neither is Emmaline, but they get wrapped up in some pretty creepy shit.Rule #2: Regard rule #1.This was an entertaining and altogether enjoyable story. While not completely original, it is definitely well written and brings along enough foreboding and foreshadowing to leave older readers dreading what’s to come and younger readers curious for more. Emmaline is a character who is faced with lots of different revelations, and who grows from a lonely, miserable child who doesn’t know how to do anything to a self-sufficient girl with friends and newfound family. There is tension and danger throughout the tale, and enough sense of darkness to scare younger readers without giving them nightmares (hopefully). I look forward to reading book 2!I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
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  • Cindee
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book a great first book to a duology I am looking forward to that next book. I loved how the story was told and all of the characters were very interesting. I loved Emmeline and was suspicious of Dar from the beginning I liked the other characters like Lucas and his parents. I loved how the story was told it was written so well. So overall I really enjoyed this book looking forward to the next one.
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  • Nannette Demmler
    January 1, 1970
    Don’t you just love that cover? It really sets the tone for this book quite well. It was one of the reasons I picked up the galley, plus the summary. I was very curious about what a shadow weaver was, how she came about her powers and what exactly was Dar? Emmeline was an endearing character, although I felt sorry for her throughout most of the book. She was immensely naive at times, especially when it came to Dar. But once you reflect on her upbringing and how her parents treated her, I can acc Don’t you just love that cover? It really sets the tone for this book quite well. It was one of the reasons I picked up the galley, plus the summary. I was very curious about what a shadow weaver was, how she came about her powers and what exactly was Dar? Emmeline was an endearing character, although I felt sorry for her throughout most of the book. She was immensely naive at times, especially when it came to Dar. But once you reflect on her upbringing and how her parents treated her, I can accept some of the choices she makes. She is a nice mix of trusting her instincts and not wanting to trust people with her secrets. Her shadow weaving sounds amazing as well, and not quite what I was expecting. The way she received her abilities was unique, and you know from the start that there are others like her. Lucas was another adorable character with a remarkable gift that compliments Emmeline’s gift very nicely. He was maybe a little to trusting considering his up bringing, but I loved watching their friendship grow. Lucas is a happy kid who has grown up knowing that his parents love him and appreciate his gift, unlike Emmeline. I’m looking forward to seeing their friendship grow in the next book. There was a nice contrast between Emmeline’s parents and Lucas’s. It was also nice to see that even though Emmeline’s presence in their family does them more harm than good, they don’t give up on her in the end. They are the nice supportive adults that I like to see in middle-grade books. The plot was very intriguing and although I did not trust Dar almost from the beginning, I was not quite prepared for her to be as evil as she was, or who exactly she was. I know it is hard for children to see the evil in their friends, but many things did not add up about Dar that I kept wishing Emmeline would pick up on. There were some slow spots in the story which may loose some kids, but otherwise the pacing was good. I will confess that I almost gave up on this book in the first 50 or so pages. But it did grow on me. I think it was the writing style at first that I didn’t like and then also the cliche of an unloved child with supernatural powers. But the book grew on me as I kept going and I ended up really liking it.
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