Book Review: The Shadow Behind the Stars

the shadow behind the starsHeed this warning, mortal: stay far away from the three sister Fates. For if they come to love you, they might bring about the end of the world…

Chloe is the youngest. Hers are the fingers that choose the wool, that shape the thread, that begin it. The sun smiles upon her. Men love her without knowing who she is. She has lived forever and will live forever more. She and her sisters have been on their isolated Greek island for centuries, longer than any mortal can remember. They spin, measure, and slice the countless golden threads of human life. They are the three Fates, and they have stayed separate for good reason: it is dangerous for them to become involved with the humans whose lives they shape.

So when a beautiful girl named Aglaia shows up on their doorstep, Chloe tries to make sure her sisters don’t become attached. But in seeking to protect them, Chloe discovers the dark power of Aglaia’s destiny. As her path unwinds, the three Fates find themselves pulled inextricably along—toward mortal pain, and mortal love, and a fate that could unravel the world.

– The Three Fates!, no romance, a lot of sage advice from Chloe

Cons – Its hard to really pinpoint the main plot at times, Aglaia is not particularly likable at times, the pacing may throw others off

Review – I have a soft spot for stories about the Fates, they’re endlessly intriguing when you think about it.  Maiden, Mother, Crone – the start of life (Chloe), the middle of life (Serena) and the end of life (Xinot).  In many versions they’re rather monotone, and other then their obvious roles don’t have much personality.  Hahn, who’s previous book A CREATURE OF MIDNIGHT was interesting if not completely engaging, gives each Fate their own individual “self”.

Chloe, the youngest, is quick to irritation and quick to make impulsive decisions.  She sees Serena as overly soft hearted and Xinot as too complacent to want to make changes.  Chloe is determined to save her sisters, even from themselves if necessary.

Serena, the middle Sister, is the mother of the group.  Back in the day, that is before their self-imposed exile to their lonely isle, she often took care of the children who lived around them.  Feeding them and coddling them, but as time moved forward for them (standing still for her) her heart grew heavier and heavier.  Its largely because of this that Chloe and Xinot chose to remove themselves from the mortal lands as much as possible.

Xinot, as the oldest and by far the grumpiest, watches both sisters with affectionate exasperation.  Not prone to acting unless firmly prodded, she’s content letting Serena do as she likes and for Chloe to deal with much of the fall out. As long as their work continues unabated she doesn’t raise a fuss.

Then there’s Aglaia, the mortal who stumbles on their home seeking answers.  I didn’t much like Aglaia truth to tell.  She spends much of her “lucid” time being argumentative and contentious, and the rest of the time vapid and annoying.  Her story is a tragic, though not uncommon one for the time period.  I can understand and even relate to why she would demand answers or demand a change.  I even admire her for taking what is a dangerous journey few could make anymore.

But by the gods she was annoying.

The story is really three parts–Aglaia’s arrival, the Fates’ Journey with her and what comes after  While they all interlock, they’re not treated exactly the same way.  As the novel progresses (and this isn’t a terribly long book) a sense of…dread comes into Chloe’s narrative.  She makes it very clear early on that the Fates removed themselves from the mortal world because not only is it painful for them, but its very dangerous for the Fates.

The temptation to change things, the knowledge that one little snip or a little pull could alter another life’s–someone they care for, someone they want to help because when you care its only natural, its perfectly obvious why that would be dangerous for them. Aglaia, somehow in some way, changes their minds.  Maybe it was always meant to be that way, maybe this is what it means to be “fated” or maybe this was meant as a true lesson to the Fates.

Regardless its a steep and terrifying curve, which the Fates learn all too well.

This was an insanely quick read. And one I quite enjoyed even as it twisted ways I couldn’t have guessed. So I leave you with this very wise quote

“Oh, you mortals, with your desperate prayers, with your terrible fates. You all want something from us–you all think there must be an easier way, a shortcut through the harder parts of life.

There is no shortcut. There never is anything we can give you. You must live the life you have; it’s all any of us can do.”

Want to Know More?

Published by: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Release: September 1st, 2015
Series: Stand Alone
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Lexie Words

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Shadow Behind the Stars

  1. Fantastic review, I am really looking forward to this book. Sorry to hear that Aglaia seem to ruin thing, but I love the aspect of Greek mythology this story is based on! Thanks for such a thorough write up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was reviewing where I made notes and such I had apparently made an absent minded notation wondering if Aglaia was so annoying because Chloe, who has little patience for even her sisters much of the time, is so often aggravated by Aglaia and that was bleeding over into her narrative. That could be me overthinking it though XD

      I’m glad you enjoyed the review! Please let me know when you read it yourself!


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