Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com
Syanthe is special, and she knows it. She doesn't have the tattoo on her face required for all Shapeshifters at birth. The tattoo that keeps the Shapeshifters locked in the forest because of it's magical poison. The one that differentiates Shapeshifters from humans. She's been kept hidden, all of her life, from the humans that sometimes come to the forest. But "special" doesn't always mean good things. She is harassed, teased, and ostracized by her peers. Between the constant hiding and abuse, she has become a bit of a hermit. Aside from being with her mother, the only thing Syanthe takes pleasure in is her training. Shapeshifters exist to care for nature; it is their purpose and goal. And because of that purpose, Syanthe's life is about to change.
The trees at the edge of the forest are diseased. No one can explain it, nor do they know how to fix it. They only know that the cure is outside of the forest. Time is getting shorter; the disease is spreading. It's even beginning to affect Shapeshifters, namely Syanthe's mother. Due to her lack of a tattoo, Syanthe is the only one who can leave the forest and hopefully save them. She'll have to pass as a human, in a world she knows nothing about, without knowing who to trust. Even if she can find a cure for her mother, she'll have to get back somehow. Syanthe is terrified, but there isn't much of a choice. It's time to take a risk, or twelve.
Syanthe is a strong character. Even being almost paralyzed with fear, she keeps going. Things don't always work out perfectly, or as planned. Sometimes it's better that way, and sometimes not. She makes surprising friends in the midst of danger. She sees things she could never have imagined, and things she would never have wanted to imagine. I hope that we get to find out more beyond this book. I think Syanthe has a lot left to do, and more mysteries to uncover.