Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn Review

Title: The Shadow Behind the Stars
Author: Rebecca Hahn
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

This book was given to me by the publisher, Atheneum Books for Young Readers through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review--thank you so much!

'A life contains a thousand stories, but we know them all. And they always end the same way: snap.'

I'm a total nerd for mythology, from every culture, but the one that I happen to be most familiar with is Greek. I had quite the passion for it from a young age, and even now, at 24, go hunting for books that contain elements from the canon. I just love seeing the gods reinterpreted for the sake of a good old fashioned story.

What do you think of when you think of The Fates of Greek mythology? For me, it's always this:

But the story that Hahn presents completely blew my mind, and completely spins a story that is both seductively compelling and utterly heartbreaking, for the young adult set. God. There really aren't enough words to describe just how much I loved this story. It was a tale of love, friendship, and humanity--it was dark, beautiful, heartwrenching, and it really rang true of a story that was well-loved.

There are three sisters of Fate, Xinot, the old one, Serena, the middle-aged, and the youngest, Chloe, who happens to be the narrator of the novel. The Fates are solitary creatures on a small island, somewhere close to Greece. They enjoy and find purpose in their work, and are content, in a way that mortals are not. But that all changes when a young woman, Aglaia, comes to their door, and changes their lives forever.

First off: The prose was what drew me into the story. The pacing wasn't breakneck, so some readers may have a hard time sticking with this one, but that's not what mattered, at least for me. The writing was gorgeous, lush and descriptive and utterly hypnotic when I started reading. And then there's Chloe herself, who regards mortals with mixed feelings, in turn. Awed, inspired, indifferent? She was a very dynamic character, and her narration was perfect.

Her sisters, too, are equally compelling: Serena, who is quick to love anything that shows her affection, despite her inability to die, or to interfere with human affairs. Xinot, of all of the Fates, showed the indifference I expected in one of the Fates. But that all changes when, Algaia, a beautiful and troubled young woman, comes to stay at their hovel, disrupting the women's routine, brought by pain and tragedy.

What really made me love this book was its characters, as well as its premise. As much as I like to think of pillars of the Greek myths, I've never thought of them. But whatever I would have, it was changed completely by Hahn's telling. This book was beautiful, and at times, incredibly painful, ringing of Chloe's helplessness, and what it really means to be human, to have pain and suffering but beauty and joy as well.

I don't want to reveal much of the plot; this book is best read going in blind. But fans of love stories, Greek myths, fantasy and historical fiction will love The Shadow Behind the Stars, if they stick with it! The bottom line: A gorgeous, tender love story wrapped in fantasy and Greek mythology, The Shadow Behind Our Stars is not to be missed! Next on deck: The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore!

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