The Shadow Behind the Stars: A Review

The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca HahnChloe is the youngest of the three sisters who spin the world. Her fingers choose the wool, spin the thread, and begin each life. Motherly Serena guides the thread and marks the end. Xinot, the oldest, slices each thread with a snap of her shears.

When a girl appears at their door asking to understand her disastrous fate, the sisters have nothing to say. Serena casts a spell meant to ease the girl’s pain before sending her away. Instead, the spell begins a series of events that will bring about the end of the world in The Shadow Behind the Stars (2015) by Rebecca Hahn.

This sophomore novel from Hahn takes readers on a strange and wondrous course through questions of fate and free will as the narrator and her sisters embark on a journey with the potential to change the very foundation of existence.

Written in second person as Chloe tells her story to us mere mortals, this evocative and descriptive novel is timeless beyond the assumed ancient Greek setting (although all of the characters have names with Greek origins, Hahn avoids delving into retelling any familiar myths instead giving these characters entirely new plots).

A unique voice and mythology-tinged writing give this quiet book some punch and offer a few surprising revelations for the three sisters. Hahn expertly tackles the power of belief and choice in this thoughtful and introspective work. Strong characters and intricate prose help to mitigate a plot that is often slow and narrowly focused (with insights about the human condition that may seem obvious to older readers).

The Shadow Behind the Stars is a unique and often literary tale that will appeal to those interested in mythology, fate, and philosophy.

Possible Pairings: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow, The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst, A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston, The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little, All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry, Soundless by Richelle Mead, Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, And I Darken by Kiersten White

*A more condensed version of this review appeared in the July 2015 issue of School Library Journal from which it can be seen on various sites online as a Starred Review*

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4 thoughts on “The Shadow Behind the Stars: A Review

    • I’ll be interested to see what you think if you do check it out. Obviously I wound up enjoying it but I was really unsure at the start!

      Like

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