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Bibliophilic Monologues

Shadows on the Moon

Shadows on the Moon - Zoë Marriott Gorgeously crafted, intricately detailed, Shadows on the Moon illustrates Marriott’s remarkable story weaving skills. Suzume’s evolution from the carefree girl who frolicked with her cousin under the cherry blossoms to the strong woman at the end of the novel is particularly compelling. The novel is reminiscent of Alison Goodman’s Eona series in its depiction of the struggles of a girl against severely adverse situations. I remember thinking that Marriott has done her research in the writing of this novel (a bit more on this later) and I am right, Marriott has done a lot of research and it shows in the way her story unfolds.The pacing, the plotting, everything is spot on and the tiny shades of a Cinderella story blooming here and there does not take away from the overall. Suzume is a fascinating character but she is not the only one. All the side characters serve to make the story more intriguing. Also, the love story itself is fun to read and I like how the sexuality in the main characters is approached. The novel contains a bit of everything and anyone who likes fantasy novels will enjoy this one. So really, the novel itself is completely readable and comes highly recommended by yours truly.What I did take umbrage with (somewhat, really) is how in the acknowledgements or maybe it is the note at the end, Marriott claims that the world is a new one and has no connection to any Asian country and I find that remiss of her as the Japanese influences are very obvious and credit should go where it deserves to go. I believed the country the story is set in is Japan, albeit not a Japan that exists in history but one in which some things have been altered. I don’t understand why she does not acknowledge the richness of Japanese culture that influenced her writing so that threw me off balance. I mean, the language used in the book is Japanese and that definitely points to a specific Asian country so…really, I don’t get it. At all. As a contrast, I offer Eon/Eona. While that series definitely had Asian influences, it did not name any, nor was it specific to any and as such it was easy enough to believe that there were no specific Asian countries.You may think I am hung up on something that is admittedly slight but it bothers me. Because I believe that authors who write about cultures (and from perspectives not belonging to them) walk a fine line between appropriation and misappropriation.But anyway, I believe the book, without the author’s note, is extremely readable and satisfying and you should totally read it. The other stuff I mentioned (I only did because I couldn’t not mention it, that’s the way I roll) is something you will notice if you study literature and if you are concerned with the same things I am.