This is a beautifully written story of love, magic and transformation reminiscent of a fairy tale. Most contemporary adult
fantasy is written on an epic scale with multiple tomes of five-hundred pages or more. It was refreshing to be able to read
the entire book in one day.
The world building is a bit sketchy, but that's the tradeoff for keeping the story simple by sticking to one main plot
and a few characters. These characters are well enough drawn to be interesting through not terribly complex. Aubrey is almost
always cheerful and kindhearted, Lilith dispassionate, and Glyrenden temperamental.
Sharon Shinn has a true gift for story telling. This slender novella is actually my most favorite of her books, for it's simple style. She never over explains, it's just charming and romantic.
Short, sweet, engaging.
This little book carries you right along through a simple and highly original fairy tale constructed with hauntingly familiar story elements. Wizards, magic, romance, good, evil -- it's all there. Rather than using a cloying "fairy tale" tone, Shinn's writing style is contemporary and unpretentious. I highly recommend this novella.
This book was a bit predictable - some heavy handed foreshadowing, but was an enjoyable quick read. Interesting plot and very rich prose, vivid and totally immersed in the world of the plot. Set in a kingdom where the royal courts have sorcerers. A talented young wizard apprentices with the master of a special skill - shape-changing. This was a gothic romance/fantasy. Had lots of the same elements as a traditional gothic plotline - sense of danger, setting in an isolated country mansion, class distinction, gender differences, all very similar to a typical suspense novel.
Wonderful book. It felt much like a fairy tale story, not too slow, yet not too fast. There's vivid details that can put you right into the mood. It's a short read and well worth it.
Original fantasy, thought provoking and human
Excellent fantasy that proceeds in such an engaging manner.
Both me and my daughter really enjoyed this book :)
I really enjoyed the story line with this book. It was a very quick read and pretty predictable but was interesting to me.
A well written and imaginative tale that earned a Locus Award for the author. The story focuses on a young talented wizard named Aubrey who journeys to study with a shape-changer, Glyrenden. He learns the spells, some with the elder wizard's help, others without. As his knowledge grows he realizes, to his horror, that those who inhabit Glyrenden's house have been changed from their original shapes. Puzzling out their original shapes, he discovers that the wizzard's wife whom he loves was once a willow tree in the king's forest. When the wizzard changes one of the king's men into a dog his control breaks and the two wizzards battle. Aubrey, a gentle man, is determined to kill the evil wizzard. The story climaxes to an interesting end that makes one smile. This is a fun and imaginative read - most deserving of the award it won.
This is the review from Peter Beagle (The Last Unicorn). I couldn't have said it nearly as well:
"Sharon Shinn strikes me as the most promising and original writer to come along since Robin McKinley... Her deceptively low-keyed, marvelously straightforward storytelling is a delight and a comfort to discover"
This is a fabulous book! Fortunately I could read it in one sitting ,because I couldn't put it down. Love,Obsession, all the great intensities draw you into a well spun world of sensuous texture. Just creepy enough to keep you on the edge!
Good book! A bit strange and twisted and thoroughly engrossing.
A simplistic and interesting novella on magic and magicians. Rather than a child's night time story, it is developed more for a pre-teen. Not what I expected, but still well-written.
This is an amazing book. It answers the same problem that Peter S. Beagle himself brought up in The Last Unicorn. I can see why he was so impressed; so was I.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The style is spare and yet beautiful.
Very well worth your time.
THE SHAPE-CHANGER'S WIFE is a first novel that deservedly won several awards; Locus' Best First Fantasy Novel of the year and also Nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Evocative of the best of Charles de Lint and Nina Kiriki Hoffman.
From back cover: Aubrey was a student, gifted in the fine art of wizardry. But the more knowledge he acquired, the more he wanted to learn. So he traveled to a faraway land in search of the greatest master of all, the powerful shape-changer, Glyrenden. From him, Aubrey expected to discover the secret of long-lost spells and the mysteries of arcane magic.
But there was one discovery he never expected, one mystery he risked everything to solve.
Her name was Lilith.