Amos is fearless. He walks with easy confidence, certain that the Shadow cannot touch him. Even his family is in awe of him. His father marvels at his skill with the bow, his mother thanks the gods that he has all the courage she lacks, and his sister, Phebe, worships him for saving her from an attack of the Shadow Cats.
On a trip to the village of Emmerich, Amos rescues the Magistrate’s son, Simeon, from the village bullies. Simeon, fair-skinned and pale-eyed like other Dreamers in Shiloh’s history, becomes Amos’s constant companion and dearest friend. Simeon becomes a part of Amos’s family, listening to fireside stories told in a way he’s never heard them before and learning to wield a bow and arrow.
The year the boys turn twelve, they are itching to prove themselves. An impetuous plan to steal a beautiful lantern goes miserably awry, and the lantern’s owner prophecies that Amos will be devoured by the Shadow. For the first time, a seed of fear is planted in Amos’s mind, and when his father is killed by a Shadow Wolf on the last day of the Great Hunt, the fear takes hold. If so great and brave a man as his father could fall to the Shadow, what hope has he?
Ok I'm going to try to go about this like a serious reader and writer but I might flail around a little bit because of my immense love for this book.
First off, I came into this book with high expectations. It's high fantasy and an epic fantasy at that. I adore books such as Terry Brooks' Sword of Shannara series, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. Shiloh easily finds a place on the same shelf as these books. It has suspense, mystery and a wonderful setting brimming with magic. Despite my very high expectations I was blown away.
Sorensen had no easy task writing a book like this. Yet Shiloh is brimming with magic, three-dimensional characters, realistic and witty dialogue, and beautiful descriptions, and to back it all up was the incredible plot.
At first glance it might seem like a usual "kid(s) with special powers runs into unexpected hardship and then have to find a way through it" kind of story, and in a way it is. But the details of the world, the little sayings the people have, the songs, the stories, and the heart of the characters make the story completely fresh and enjoyable.
I loved how powerful a character Amos was, not as a person with a special ability, but as a 13 year old boy. He handled things realistically, as did all the characters. I adored Simeon (he was hands down my favorite), Jada, and Isolde as well. Although there is a large cast, each character is well developed and adds something important to the story; a hard feat to pull off at times!
The ending was beautiful. I would say more, but I don't want to spoil anything. It drew everything together perfectly. I can and will say that though!
This book is incredible and I'm willing to bet that any fantasy lover will delight in this book.
QuotesThere were so many beautiful and powerful quotes in this book. It was really hard to narrow it down to a reasonable number. But here are the best of the best that don't spoil anything.
Riannon was neither cruel nor wicked, but, like the wind, she could not be contained, and she hardly knew what she did when she stood face to face with her brother and brought into being the Shadow. (Prologue)
There was nothing but darkness in Shiloh. In the Shadow they lived and moved and breathed. It was the sky above them, the night enclosing them, the darkness blinding them, the power hunting them. It was what they had always known, all they had ever known. And only the most foolish had ever dreamed that anything lay beyond it. (Ch. 1)
Most girls understood this reality from a very early age. It was not only the beasts of Shadow that hunted them. For many, men would hunt them as well. And though no eye could see the chains that bound them, most would waste away in captivity, just like Riannon. (Ch. 7)
“We go now inta the very heart o’ darkness. May the light shine upon us all!” Orin (Ch. 29)
It is only in recent years that Helena Sorensen discovered how deep her love is for epic fantasy. In preparation for writing Shiloh, and as part of her independent education in literature, Helena has read scores of books: books for children and young adults and adults, National Book Award Winners, and Newberry Honor Books. But she always comes back to the fantasy novels. Helena loves the idea that anything is possible in the world of fantasy. There is no limit to the imagination, and she can choose to embark on any kind of adventure.
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