Monday, August 31, 2015

The Shadow Behind the Stars

The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn

Chloe is the youngest of the Three Fates.  Chloe spins the wool and gives it to her sister Serena, who measures the yarn.  Serena holds the yarn to the appropriate length of a life, and the oldest sister, Xinot, takes her shears out of her pocket and cuts it. Together they hold the fate of the world in their hands.

Chloe is the narrator of The Shadow Behind the Stars and the book begins like this:

"THIS IS A STORY ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD.  It is a lesson for you, mortal, so listen well to my words.  Shiver and become them.  When you sleep, dream of them.  When you blink, see us sisters spinning, measuring, slicing in the darkness behind your lids. Know us. Fear us. Heed my warning, mortal: Stay far away from us."

From the first page, I knew I would like this book and love the writing style.  I love it when a narrator speaks to me personally and I adore retellings of Greek Myths.
When a young woman arrives to their secluded island just barely beyond girlhood, with a tale of unspeakable tragedy, Serena takes notice and spins a spell to lesson her pain.  Chloe immediately recognizes that Aglaia is a threat to their way of life and they should not be sharing a meal or living with a mortal. Chloe has plans to get rid of Aglaia by drowning her in the lake but cannot go through with it, as each day they took the boat out, Chloe learns a little more of Aglaia's story and comes to care for her well being.  Aglaia has a destiny and the Three Fates are wrapped up in the threads of it.

I am a fiber artist so I really enjoyed the spinning and weaving and needle work in the book. My fingers were itching to create.  The story itself moves quickly and has some surprises and twists and turns to keep the pages turning.  Full of elements of philosophy, the Shadow Behind the Stars is a creative retelling of an old classic story.

Here is one of my favorite quotes:
"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."

So dear mortal, I wonder how long is your thread?
How many books will you read in your life time?

It is entirely possible that by reading this review the Three Fates are whispering in your ear and telling you to read this book and to look for The Shadow Behind the Stars.