Shadow by Jenny Moss is about a girl who is just that – a shadow, an ignored and unseen constant companion of the queen, existing only to deflect any potential attempts on the monarch’s life. She has spent almost every moment of her 16 years in the queen’s chambers of the castle, her parents dead, her only friend a young boy named Piers. Her only wish is to someday escape and be free.
Her wish appears to be granted when the queen is killed, and a knight named Sir Kenway helps Shadow flee the castle into the world beyond. Together they travel to his home, and onward to a small village, and all the while Shadow is struggling, between her need to flee, her growing love for Kenway, and the strange things that are happening inside her mind. Kenway reveals that he is in fact only acting on orders and there is a plan in place that involves Shadow, though neither of them understand why. They pick up another companion, an odd girl named Ingen who turns out to be the last living priestess of an earth goddess that many no longer believe in.
A visit with a local witch reveals that Shadow is indeed More than she had ever imagined – and instead of this being exciting news, it is a terrible burden for the girl, who discovers that with loftier standing comes much responsibility. Suddenly, much is expected of Shadow, and she doesn’t want any of it. She discovers the identity of her true mother, and must enlist her help in returning vitality to the land of her kingdom. She must also confront her adversary (whose identity as such is only revealed late in the story), who has taken over control of the kingdom and will do much harm. But all Shadow really wants to do is return and rescue her old friend Piers, who has been imprisoned since her escape, and live a quiet life afterwards.
It is not until the crucial last moment that Shadow is able to reach deep within herself and find the power to do all of these things, and accept the responsibility of her heritage.