This story is set in an alternative version of Britain, where something strange has happened to people’s shadows. Instead of reflecting the shape of a person, they are now showing the true personality of the individual. To keep control of this, the government has enacted the ‘Shadow Order’ which forbids citizens from being outdoors during daylight hours. However, not everyone likes to follow orders. Three children, Teddy, Betsy and Effie, all from very different backgrounds, find themselves wondering why all of this is happening and then are caught up in the struggle to find a way to return life to normal. When they discover an Orrery that seems to affect the way that time work, they know they will have to try and reverse the damage that is being done. Their attempts to change things leads them on an exhilarating, dangerous journey, where they find allies as well as enemies. But will they bring their world back into the light, or will they be stuck in the shadows forever?
What a fabulous story this is; full of excitement and adventure and with three really brave characters, who have their own fears to face, but who understand the dangers that their society is facing. The world that has been created has echoes of steampunk, mixed with elements that might have come from a Joan Aiken story. However, the author has managed to blend all of these aspects in to a world that we can actually believe in and which we are grateful that we don’t live in. The idea of not being able to go out and enjoy the sunshine is really very depressing. Above all the three children are fighting for the right to be individuals; to be themselves and not scared of what other people think of them and to have the right to shape their own destiny. This is a wonderful addition to the canon of fantasy novels out there for middle grade readers and is highly recommended.