Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson Review

Catherine Knutsson

Publication Date:
June 5, 2012

Simon Pulse

Hardcover, 464 pages

CAD $19.99

A finished copy was provided by Simon and Schuster Canada for review! Thank you!


Old ways are pitted against new horrors in this compellingly crafted dystopian tale about a girl who is both healer and seer.

Two hundred years from now, blood has become the most valuable commodity on the planet-especially the blood of aboriginal peoples, for it contains antibodies that protect them from the Plague ravaging the rest of the world.

Sixteen-year-old Cassandra Mercredi might be immune to Plague, but that doesn’t mean she’s safe-government forces are searching for those of aboriginal heritage to harvest their blood. When a search threatens Cassandra and her family, they flee to the Island: a mysterious and idyllic territory protected by the Band, a group of guerilla warriors-and by an enigmatic energy barrier that keeps outsiders out and the spirit world in. And though the village healer has taken her under her wing, and the tribal leader’s son into his heart, the creatures of the spirit world are angry, and they have chosen Cassandra to be their voice and instrument….

Incorporating the traditions of the First Peoples as well as the more familiar stories of Greek mythology and Arthurian legend, Shadows Cast by Stars is a haunting, beautifully written story that breathes new life into ancient customs.


There’s such a creepy tone when I read this book that I couldn’t help but get shivers. Thinking of the spirit world in a sense makes me think of ghosts! Eeks! Imagine being able walk into the world and talk and interact with souls. I wished there was more of this. I don’t know what to call it but soul searching.

I love the concept of the disease. The plague wiping out most of the world but when a scientist finds out the antibodies in native blood prevents them from getting sick from the plague. But I definitely wished there was more world building. I really thought that would be the main plot of the story, the government trying to track them down and drain their blood. I guess the description was wrong since most of the book is about Cassandra trying to learn her new powers, and helping her twin brother.There was a lot of everyday tasks that Cass had to do to survive and I didn’t think it added too much to the story, so those parts can be edited down. There’s an unknown history with Cassandra’s brother Paul and I can’t help but wonder what it is. Even Cassandra herself has a dark past which are touched upon in a few paragraphs. I couldn’t help but cringe as to how the Band and their citizens treated her. It felt all too much like prejudice and superioty all mixed into one.

I loved the beautiful visualization that Catherine Knutsson writes with. It was detailed enough for you to add your own visual cues. I certainly imagined what their house looked like and how the Island looked like. There’s a lot of mystery and intrigue in this novel, and I would love to know how it all works out.

Rating 4/5


“Dreams can be tempting, you know. Sometimes they’re so sweet we don’t want to come back to our bodies.”—Madda

Giselle San Miguel is a freelance web designer who has a voracious appetite for reading and manages her own book blog at She also enjoys writing, design, movies, and photography.