Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shapechanger's Song by Jennifer Roberson

Title: Shapechanger's Song (Chronicles of the Cheysuli Book 1)
Author: Jennifer Roberson
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: Scenes of violence related to battle, mildly graphic almost sexual assults
Premise: Long out of print (originally written in 1953), "The Chronicles of Cheysuli" is the sprawling saga of the exiles, and return, of a warrior race of shapechangers, whose magical odyssey begin in these two novels together in one volume: "Shapechangers" and "The Song of Homana". (King County Library System)
Opinions: Long ago, in a different part of my life I read this entire series of books and loved it. I just reread the first book in the series, Shapechangers Song and still loved the fantastical elements of this story, but found myself highly frustrated by some of the main character's actions and conflicted as to how I truly feel about the story.

I love to read books with strong female characters. In many ways, Alix (the main character) fulfills that request, though sometimes her stubbornness even drives me nuts. I can understand some of the frustration she experiences, being kidnapped from the home she loves only to learn that the truth of her past ties her fate in with a race of people being systematically executed by her own people. However, when Alix doesn't get her way she seems to turn into a two-year old who stamps her feet and throws a tantrum. The author does explain some of this away by saying that she comes by it honestly. However, it can get old. I would like to also warn to any parents whose teens might want to read this book that, though the story is good and the fantasy elements imaginative, this book often fades into more romance fiction written for adults before returning to fantasy fiction. There is also a lot of discussion of what is acceptable in a society in regarding to if it's acceptable to have a wife as well as a "light woman" (mistress).

So are you confused yet by my review? So am I. In the end I'll just say it is an enjoyable read with an amazing world and fascinating characters, but watch out for some minor, too in-depth moments of detail (or hinting of detail), that may make you blush if your kids read it. In the meantime, I personally choose to forgo reading the rest of the series this time around.

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