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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a Shadow of a doubt - a Fantastic Read
I was recommended this book by a friend but was not looking forward to it as i read 'Spellgrinder's Apprentice' by the same author and really didn't like it. But within reading the first couple of chapters of this book i was absolutely hooked.
When Jessica Googles her name and finds someone of the same name and age living in London too, they arrange to meet and are...
Published on 9 Nov 2008 by Barmy_Bex

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3.0 out of 5 stars Teenage book
I study drama and english literature at university and was recommended this book by a friend as it's been ages since I actually read a book for pleasure. I haven't actually finished it yet but that's because I'm struggling to get through it. Maybe it's because it's aimed at teenagers but I found it really patronising as things that may seem the tiniest bit complicated...
Published 7 months ago by Ilona Bell


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a Shadow of a doubt - a Fantastic Read, 9 Nov 2008
This review is from: Shadow Web (Paperback)
I was recommended this book by a friend but was not looking forward to it as i read 'Spellgrinder's Apprentice' by the same author and really didn't like it. But within reading the first couple of chapters of this book i was absolutely hooked.
When Jessica Googles her name and finds someone of the same name and age living in London too, they arrange to meet and are shocked when they realise they look exactly alike, Then everything changes for Jessica when she is hurtled into a parallel universe where it is still 2008 but seems like a place from an period long ago, where woman haven't got equal rights and war memorials from her time do not exist in this one.
She must convince everyone that she is the 'other' Jessica if she ever wants a chance to get home.
This book is really gripping and the change between the two London's is very believable, the story is written as if Jessica is talking to you which makes it very easy to get into and relate to her.
I would recommend this to any teen. Some content may not be suitable for younger children as references to 'smoke', 'contries' and the reactions of some men towards young Jessica, may provide awkward questions.
A definite must read.!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, exciting stuff!, 14 Aug 2008
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This review is from: Shadow Web (Paperback)
This is a great read. It starts with 16 year old Jessica Allendon doing what everyone does- Googling her name. When she contacts another Jessica Allendon and arranges to meet her it's the start of an incredible series of unfortunate events (but not remotely Lemony Snicket). Original Jessica finds herself swapping places with parallel universe Jessica. The year may be the same (2008), the setting is still London but society is totally different. Women are inferior and treated much as they were in 1900s. Sleek cars, driven by the privileged few, vie with old fashioned coach and horses as means of transport. Original Jessica soon finds herself embroiled in an alien world she needs to suss out fast if she is to stay alive. But who are her friends and who are her enemies in this 'Upstairs/Downstairs' world? NM Browne's style, pace and characterisation soars above the typical time-lapse genre. Jessica is 'well' three dimensional - the reader is emotionally connected and rooting for this likeable, brave and bewildered character every step of the way. A brilliant book for intelligent teens who want to read something different. A kind of Handmaid's Tale for Dr Who fans! It has a poignant but realistic ending too. Way to go, Browne!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The parallel universe, 19 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Shadow Web (Paperback)
Posted on behalf of a student, Lulu (age 13):

This book is an amazing, contemporary book. It's full of twists and turns that catch your attention straightaway; it was a real page turner. While Jessica was in the parallel world everything was mysterious, and the suspense and tension increased as the book went on.

I could see the story through the narrator's eyes, and as a teenage girl I identified with her. One of the interesting things in the book was that she is forced to be someone she isn't. In the parallel universe she doesn't have any freedom - she can't dress as she used to, she can't go where she wants to go and she can't speak her normal language. I was rooting for her all the way through.

The book is written in a conversational style and was easy to read and follow. It has a blend of slang and formal language which I thought was helpful and interesting at the same time.

I would recommend this book for teens around the age of 13 to 16 years old.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast, exciting and thought-provoking, 9 Feb 2008
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This review is from: Shadow Web (Paperback)
Shadow Web hits the ground running and 16-year-old Jessica is caught in an extraordinarily frightening situation almost before the reader has time to draw breath. Details of the 'other' London are revealed with skill so that the reader picks up on some clues that Jess does not register, while other differences are revealed to Jess and the reader at the same time, but in such a way that does not suspend interest in the plot or interrupt its pace. There are adult themes - the behaviour of James and some others towards Jess, and the implications of 'smoke' and 'contries' will provoke awkward questions from younger readers, and might disturb those who understand them all too well, and that is not even taking into account the overall political/historical issues. If you are thinking of this book for a younger teenager you might want to read it first. But the elements I have mentioned are not just there for sensationalist purposes: Jessica is frightened, and for good reason. In the portrayal of 16-year-old girl thrown into such a situation, dealing with panic and confusion and trying to retain her sense of self (and her sense of humour), I found the narrative voice of Jess very convincing, and the book very, very readable.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Teenage book, 4 May 2014
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Ilona Bell (York, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shadow Web (Paperback)
I study drama and english literature at university and was recommended this book by a friend as it's been ages since I actually read a book for pleasure. I haven't actually finished it yet but that's because I'm struggling to get through it. Maybe it's because it's aimed at teenagers but I found it really patronising as things that may seem the tiniest bit complicated were explained fifty million times (ok slight exaggeration) and the story is sort of spoon fed to the reader. Once again maybe this is because of the intended audience but so far I'm struggling to get through it, however, the story line seems like an interesting concept.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, fun read, 23 Sep 2010
This review is from: Shadow Web (Paperback)
This was quite a quick read, quite enjoyable. A little steampunk, too (which is why I originally picked it up). The main character, Jess Allendon, is transported to an alternate universe, where the World Wars never happened. Everything is very different politically (eg no women's rights, vote still very limited), yet they have the same technology (almost) as we do. It was really well told, and the main character's voice sounded quite realistic to me (in places). I liked that the history of the new world and what was going on was revealed slowly and in pieces, which made it quite exciting and intriguing, and couldn't wait to see how the main character would get home. But I would've liked more about what happened in 'our world' while Jess was in the 'steampunk-esque' world and how her doppleganger got on and whether she wanted to come home, too, but I suppose this is not her story. Still, I did wonder, though!

A fairly straightforward story (with the obligatory romance) but very enjoyable all the same, I read it in a few hours.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic storytelling, 2 Mar 2008
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Paul M "Paul M" (Middlesbrough, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shadow Web (Paperback)
I submitted a review a while back on NM Browne's wonderful Spellgrinder's Apprentice. Once again her storytelling skills are shown in Shadow Web. I wasn't utterly convinced at the start with Jess as a character but a short way into the book the compulsive plot took over. Alternative versions of Britain (or anywhere) are hard to write but her version of London 2008 was a very brave attempt. Really loved the alternative version of the Internet. This is definitely one of those books where you will not be able to stop reading the last 60 pages or so at a sitting.
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Shadow Web
Shadow Web by N. M. Browne (Paperback - 4 Feb 2008)
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