Shapeshifter: Book 2
Helm Publishing (2012)
Reviewed by (age 18) for Reader Views (6/12)
Last summer -- in “The Source,” Book 1 of the series -- Caitlin Flynn met Fortescue and Mortimer, the Hamelyns, the race which started the myth of vampires. Caitlin is American, but living in Ireland with her father, an Irish professor of folklore. Caitlin’s interest in, and her father’s knowledge of collide are immensely helpful as they help Fortescue and Mortimer return the Goddess Stone to their city. In Book 2, “Shapeshifter” by Diana Bastine, it is now Christmas break, but the return of the Goddess Stone left Caitlin and the Hamelyns with a debt to pay to the fairies.
Caitlin’s plan to study hard for the Irish equivalent of the SATs, and to research whether to stay in Ireland for college or to move back to the US are interrupted when the fairies come to her for help. Many fairies are leaving fairyland and not returning, and the fairy who comes asking for help thinks someone is capturing and torturing them, trying to steal their powers. What ensues is a fast-paced, mystery-action-rescue-mission story, with plenty of romance to offset the adventures.
Before I continue with my review, I must admit something: I read this, Book 2, without reading Book 1. While I was able to follow everything, and any gaps in my understanding were eventually filled in (or figured out with the help of ‘Google’), and I enjoyed the book ‘cold-turkey,’ I felt that my reader-experience would have been much more powerful with context.
With that said, I did enjoy “Shapeshifter” by Diana Bastine. It was an exciting novel, with a good balance between development and action. The plot was engaging, and, while I predicted that the “good guys” would win, the method and means of triumph was unpredictable.
The characters were also diverse, and solidly developed. Probably my favorite character was Mrs. Doherty, the Flynn’s very, very Irish housekeeper. The Flynn’s have many magical guests staying at their house while they save the fairies who come and go. When Mrs. Doherty lets a cat in who turns out to be a shapeshifter fairy, after only a mild explanation, Mrs. D -- as she is affectionately called -- goes back to her cooking, only commenting, “Well, good Lord, then we must do somet’ing. We’ll be havin’ droughts and the milk’ll be goin’ off and who knows what kind of mischief if the fairies no longer look on us kindly.”
I also appreciated the Irish accents splattered throughout the book. They were all as enjoyable as Mrs. Doherty’s words above. Bastine does an excellent job at creating a rich and subtle backdrop over which her story is set.
I greatly enjoyed “Shapeshifter” by Diane Bastine, and would recommend it to fans of folklore, fantasy, fairytales, and any with a penchant for adventure and romance.
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