I love Juliet Marillier, so I had pre-ordered Shadowfell and rather anxiously awaited it's delivery to my kindle. I had a few odds and ends to finish up before I could actually start reading. Started on Sunday, finished on Monday.
Where to begin? As always, I love Marillier's world. I hesitate to call it world-building, because Marillier generally loosely bases her worlds in historical fact. This book is no exception: Alban is a version of old Caledonia. For that reason, I always have the sense, when reading one of her books, that the time and place are dreamy and foreign, yet still achingly familiar for all that.
She also has a talent for writing male heroes. Flint is a wonderful man, strong and protective of Neryn. He doesn't quite meet the standard (to my mind) set by Bran, in Son of the Shadows, but he is, for all that, quite lovely. Neryn is a well-drawn heroine, who grows in strength and certainty over the course of the book.
Marillier's books tend to unfold rather slowly - she takes her time in telling her stories. I don't mind this aspect of her work. Her books are not full of action, however, and this one takes place over the course of a lengthy journey that mirrors the grown of Neryn as well as the development of the relationship between Neryn and Flint.
I expected to like this book. I did like this book. The one downside to reading a first in series upon it's initial release is the wait time for the next installments. And so, the wait begins.