Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: June 3, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Grace Knox has grown up hearing the folktales of her Irish ancestors, especially about the warriors who fought for control of Ireland. In 19th-century New York City, however, these legends are far from Grace's mind. She's much more concerned with how to protect her family from debt collectors, and whether her childhood friend Patrick Devlin will propose. Patrick is a member of the Fenian Brotherhood, a group of young Irish American men intent on fighting for the independence of their homeland, whatever the cost. Patrick and the Brotherhood use ancient magic to summon mythical warriors to join their fight to protect Ireland. One of them, Diarmid, finds himself drawn to Grace, and she to him. When Diarmid discovers that, in their desperation, the Brotherhood has also summoned a rival group of ancient warriors, he warns Patrick that there will be bloodshed. Grace is caught in the middle of two men she loves, and discovers she alone holds the power to save Ireland but at a dangerous price."Grace Knox should be living a worry-free life, dating boys and hosting tea parties, but her family's situation has taken a turn for the worse. Since her father's death, debt collectors have been visiting her house everyday and her brother, who is now head of the household, is throwing away what money they do have on booze and gambling. They have practically sold all of their family heirlooms and her mother even took a job as a piano teacher to make ends meet, but what they really need is for Grace to marry well. So, now Grace is going to enter society early and thankfully her debut has good timing, because her life-long friend Patrick is back from Ireland. She hasn't seen him in years, but he confesses that he has feelings for her. Could he be the answer to her prayers? To complicate matters even more, Grace finds out that Patrick is part of the Fenian Brotherhood which supports Irish independence, but their brotherhood is more than that. Grace also meets Diarmid, or Derry, and he seems to be inconveinantly popping up everywhere. Megan Chance's The Shadows is an entertaining historical fantasy filled with Irish folklore.
I liked Grace right off the bat in The Shadows, but I wanted so much more for her than to just marry due to financial reasons. However, that was the norm for the time period. Thankfully, Patrick enters stage left and seems to be the answer to all of her problems; plus, she actually likes him! But despite her best efforts, she has an attraction to Derry, a stable boy, and he seems to be showing up just about everywhere. There's definitely more to Derry than meets the eye. I wasn't a big fan of this possible love triangle, but once readers figure out exactly who Derry is, then it makes sense.
I loved the Irish folklore in The Shadows . That is what initially attracted me to this book. At times there were a lot of references to it and it got rather confusing, but if you like this kind of thing, then you'll enjoy this book.
The time period was one of my favorite aspects of The Shadows . I think Chance captured the 19th century New York City well, especially as Grace's struggles to "save" her family as well as deal with her brother's downfall. Chance did a good job combining historical details with fantasy elements as well as some romance.
The cliffhanger at the end of The Shadows definitely had me curious, so I may pick up book two in the series, The Web, which is already out.