book reviews by Althea

The Shape-Changer’s Wife – Sharon Shinn *****

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I *thought* this book was part of the same series as ‘The Truth-Teller’s Tale’ and ‘The Safe-Keeper’s Secret.’ (I dunno, something about the title?)
Anyway, it’s not. Although I loved those other 2 books, I think I liked this one even more than either. I was surprised to read here that it was actually Shinn’s first novel, because it didn’t read like a freshman effort at all. The language was gorgeous, and the plot flowed smoothly and beautifully.

A young apprentice wizard is sent by his master to study with the famed wizard Glyrenden. Glyrenden has a mixed reputation, at best, but he’s also powerful and knowledgable – and the only adept to have mastered the art of shapechanging. However, he’s also odd and prickly – and his household is even odder, consisting of his beautiful but strange wife, and two peculiar servants, one of whom is mute and the other of whom seems to have some kind of OCD disorder. Left alone with her at length, the young man finds himself drawn to his new teacher’s wife like a moth to a flame…

This isn’t one of those stories where the secrets are revealed to much shock and surprise. Rather, it’s a fairytale where everything unfolds just as it ought to. It’s a lovely, satisfying story.

Recommended for fans of Patricia McKillip, as well as Shinn’s own fans, of course.


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