Wintercraft #1: Shadowcry

Book Information
Rating: Significant Shortcomings
Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Jenna Burtenshaw
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Year: 2012
ISBN: 9780062026439
Pages: 336

Kate Winters lives with her uncle above their book shop in Morvane. She loves books and loves spending time with her uncle Artemis and with her best friend Edgar. But when Morvane is pilfered by warders in an attempt to find anyone who is Skilled (people that can cross the veil between this life and the life beyond death) Kate discovers she is one of the Skilled and is taken. She is whisked away by Silas, the most feared of the warders, to be brought to Da’ru, a woman who has made it her life's work to become an expert at navigating the veil with the help of an ancient book called Wintercraft. After many escape attempts and only a few days, Kate learns how to navigate the veil enough to defeat Da’ru and her evil plot to kill many people during the Night of Souls.

Kate’s story is exciting and refreshingly original in the fact that navigating the world between life and life beyond death is a topic not often broached these days. Some of Burtenshaw’s writing is very original. That being said, Shadowcry is a dependable read at best. The entire story occurs, almost unbelievably, within a few short days (maybe a week). There is little character development that Kate and Edgar undergo. Silas, almost heralded as a hero at the end, is a homicidal murderer. The story is rather disjointed and destroys any suspension of disbelief the reader may have with the break-neck speed at which all of the characters “learn” and act. An interesting fantasy, but riddled with lackluster writing, poor plot development, and flat, stagnant characters.

*Contains brief moments of violence.