I love books with well-developed characters, strong plots, and clever usage of literary devices—it's a tall order for a book to have all three, but Shadow Runner does! A beautiful story about finding strength in even the most difficult of circumstances. Plus K.J. Fieler knows how to insert humor! Clever, fun, and insightful—I highly recommend this book.
Born to aristocracy, Ada will marry and never want for anything… except freedom. She yearns for adventure, lives for her chess games with Papa, and is captivated by family stories of Grandmama's escapades in America. However, when a much-anticipated male heir is finally born, she'll lose everything, and spend the rest of her life tatting lace and having tea with lady friends.
A ghostly visitor and a series of seemingly supernatural events unexpectedly deliver Ada from the mundane—but no one could have predicted the darkness that comes with it. Taken in and raised by a secret society, she's forced to abandon her own moral compass when she is required to lie and steal—and is groomed as an assassin.
As Ada comes of age, she must uphold the mantle of her mistress and become a predator, targeting members of the very nobility to which she was born. The only other choice is to leave the organization as a fugitive. And if she leaves, she must forsake the two people she loves more than herself: her captor and her adopted sister, both of whom will almost certainly be slain as punishment for her disloyalty.
"Adventurous, clever, unique, and compelling. Fieler does a spectacular job in her debut steampunk fantasy novel. Be ready for Ada to take up residence in your heart. She will entertain and haunt you, supply you with laughter along with sorrow, and morph into a beloved companion as you embrace her life-changing quest. Shadow Runner weaves a fantastic tale that will leave you enchanted, entertained, and eager for more."
—Tara C. Allred, award-winning author of The Other Side of Quiet
“Shadow Runner's ability to move between fantasy and historical fiction makes it an especially thought-provoking read for teens, as well as adult audiences. Neil Gaiman's Coraline partially inspired Ada and this story, but KJ Fieler embarks on journeys foreign to Gaiman's book as Ada leaves childhood behind and considers the choices and challenges that light the way to a very different legacy than she'd ever envisioned for her future.
Fieler adds thought-provoking reflections that come from Ada's physical and emotional growth, injecting these into dialogues and situations that accompany her new strengths and tests of abilities...As maid and teacher Mistress Nadine leads Ada into realms she'd never imagined, readers follow her growth and revelations, which are flavored with action and insight. A touch of wry humor marks many of Ada's encounters, which will feel unexpectedly delightful as she is forced into alien territory both physically and mentally.
Libraries and readers seeking vivid fantasy stories that embrace a coming-of-age theme with an environment that tests its young protagonist, and which comes with many topics ripe for book club debate and classroom discussion, will find Shadow Runner a winning acquisition."
—MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
A chess game of a novel, set in a steampunk world balanced between the white squares of a familiar Victorian world and the black squares of techno-fantasy. KJ Fieler’s Ada is a quirky, charming heroine you will fall in love with, born to privilege but dreading a straitlaced destiny. Her world will indeed be upended, and the reader can’t help but follow the adventure as her pawn makes its way through the machinations of darkness and light, on to finally discovering the queen she is inside. Bravo!
—Samuel Peralta, USA Today bestseller and creator of The Future Chronicles
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"Intensity and strife are no stranger to Ada, and the reader is treated to this young woman’s journey from an innocent child to seasoned adult, one hardship after another; in the end rewarded with a heart-warming resolution. The interleaving of fantastical technology will leave you wanting to know more and will set the stage for stories to come."
—Terry R. Hill, NASA engineer, author of the series In the Days of Humans