Title: Shadowcry (Wintercraft #1)
Author: Jenna Burtenshaw
Release date: June 21, 2011
The Night of Souls—when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest—is only days away.
Albion is at war . . . and losing.
The wardens have descended, kidnapping innocent citizens for their army, but looking for one in particular.
And fifteen-year-old Kate Winters has just raised a blackbird from the dead.
As her home is torn apart by the wardens, Kate’s discovery that she is one of the Skilled—the rare people who can cross the veil between life and death—makes her the most hunted person in all of Albion. Only she can unlock the secrets of Wintercraft, the ancient book of dangerous knowledge. Captured and taken to the graveyard city of Fume—with its secret tunnels and underground villages, and where her own parents met their deaths ten years ago—Kate must harness her extraordinary powers to save herself, her country, and the two men she cares for most. And she’ll make a pact with a murderer to do it.
Those who wish to see the dark, be ready to pay your price.
I went into Shadowcry with no expectations whatsoever. Sure I’d seen a handful of reviews but I still didn’t really know what to expect from the author, the characters, or the setting. I was pleasantly surprised by Shadowcry and while I didn’t end up loving it, I will definitely be checking out the sequels.
The setting is what really made Shadowcry so awesome and gripping. The cities of Morvane and Fume (especially the underground city in Fume) are unlike any I have read about. They are not fantastical places full of castles and wonders but they are memorable places. Morvane is a small city with some awesome creepy underground tunnels. A lot of time isn’t spent in Morvane so a lot of details aren’t given but it’s any place to imagine. Fume is the real wonder. The magic of Fume starts with the Night Train and it doesn’t end there. The Night Train is one dark and scary train with a pretty awesome history. It’s where things in the story start to get really interesting and things only get more fascinating as the Night Train delivers it’s prisoners to Fume. Fume is a city built on thousands of graves but that’s not all it’s built upon. Underneath the towers of Fume is a whole other city. Instead of tearing down the city that was originally there, the council decided to build upon it, not thinking that anyone would continue to live underneath. Every part of the setting was wonderful and the writing was so descriptive that I was easily able to picture every last scene in my head.
Jenna Burtenshaw’s writing also makes the book so fun to read. Her writing is lush and descriptive and it was definitely one of the things that hooked me. Also, while it is descriptive, it is never weighty and there is never too much description. Even the bleakest of places were made beautiful by Jenna Burtenshaw’s writing.
The characters are where I found the book to be a bit lacking. Kate Winters is the heroine of this story. She seemed like the might be a strong character in the beginning but as the book went on I found her to be a bit whiny. She was definitely thrust into a crazy situation but I felt that she could have handled it a lot better. She was just a bit too immature for my tastes. As for the other characters, Silas, Edgar, and Da’ru were once again found to be a little lacking. Silas was supposed to be this villain but I felt sorry for him more than anything. Edgar is a good friend to Kate (maybe hoping for more?) but he was kind of a doof. He always managed to get both of them into tons of trouble and he was not good at getting them out of that trouble. Da’ru was the real villain in the story and I just wasn’t scared of her. I don’t think there was enough background on her to really make her the villain that I would have liked. I’m hoping for some development of all the characters in the next book.
As for the plot, it was a little weak but definitely gripping. I think the worst part about it was that Kate and Edgar kept getting into the same situations over and over again. One of them would be captured, the other would run away, the one not locked up would return to save the other, and they would then be captured while the other one got away. It was so freaking repetitive. I mean, really, how many times can you get captured without wising up? However the magic of Wintercraft and the search for the book as well as Kate’s burgeoning powers managed to keep things interesting enough for me to finish the book in a day. It’s definitely a fast read.
Overall, Shadowcry could have been a lot better, that’s for sure, but I still greatly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it for a rainy day. The sequels are both high on my to-read list!
Looking for more reviews of Shadowcry?
Shadowcry (Wintercraft #1)
Blackwatch (Wintercraft #2)
Legacy (Wintercraft #3) – 2013