Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Review - Shapeshifter by Holly Bennett (3.5/5 stars)

I got this book through Librarything.com Early Reviewers Program.   The premise sounded like something I would be very interested in.  Overall is was a beautiful book, very lyrical and lush settings.

Sive is a young woman who can transform herself into a deer.  As great as her shapeshifting powers are they are surpassed by the power of her voice.  Sive's singing can weave powerful magic over those who listen.  Sive has caught the eye of a Dark Mage and takes deer shape to flee him.  Her flight will take her out of fairy into the mortal realms and back again, it will take her to the greatest heights of loves and the deepest depths of despair.

This was a beautifully written book, done in a very lyrical style.  Not a ton of action, this book is written more in the style of classic Irish folklore.  All of the book is very focused around Sive and her family and doesn't pay much attention to outside forces.  Sive is an excellent heroine and you really feel for her.  The story was fairly engaging and a quick read.

For the most part I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed reading about Sive's struggles as a deer and about how she hid from the Dark Mage.  I also enjoyed watching her fall in love.  There were a couple things in this book that just broke my heart.   Overall this is a dark story, with a decent ending.

Readers who are interested in Irish folklore, traditional fairy tales, or classic love stories will probably like this book.  If you are looking for action and adventure I would look elsewhere.

There were a couple things I didn't like about this book.  Bennett switches which character-viewpoint the story is told from quite often and she doesn't really let you know when she does this, you have to figure it out.  That made things confusing.  She also has little sections where she says "Sive remembers..." these sections are supposed to give you a glimpse into Sive's past but don't really make sense because Bennett talks about Sive's past in other sections of the book too...so, I didn't really understand the point of separating them out.  Readers will also be disappointed in the way the Evil Mage is dealt with; in general it is pretty anti-climatic.

Still the book is worth a read if you like reading Irish folklore or classic fairy tales.  It is beautifully written and an engaging story.  The story can get a bit confused with the switch in viewpoints but it is not too bad.  Although I enjoyed the story okay, it did not make me want to run out and read more of Bennett's stories in the future.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge

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