Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Book Review - The Turning Season


The Turning Season (A Shifting Circle Novel)

By: Sharon Shinn
Publisher: Ace Books, New York
Publication Date: 2014
ISBN: 978-0-425-26169-9
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: October 9, 2014

In the third installment of her shape shifter series, Sharon Shinn delivers a captivating novel rife with rich characters and entertaining story line.

Karadel is a shape shifter and her greatest challenge in life is learning how to manage the unpredictability of her next transformation. Meeting Janet Kassebaum was no coincidence back in the day and after Janet’s passing, it only made sense for Karadel to stay on at Janet’s rural farm/vet clinic and continue its legacy as a safe haven for the many four-legged (sometimes two-legged) patients she treated over the years located on the outskirts of the sleepy town of Quinnville, Illinois. Karadel is not alone in her plight. It would seem there is an entire sub community of shifters and how fortunate for them to have the clinic as their refuge. While working on perfecting the perfect serum to control the timing of her transformations, Karadel dodges a near miss of her secret being exposed when the symptoms usurp her on a recent return from town to the clinic. With barely enough time to place the critical call to her friend and confidant Bonnie, in the midst of her change, she doesn’t quite make it back to the farm. Fortunately, she’s perfected the concoction enough to change shape into the orange tabby her alter body has grown accustomed to becoming...

It’s not easy having a social life when you’re human one day and animal form the next. However, Karadel’s 'bestie,' Celeste, convinces her to join her and her bubble-headed blonde friends for a night on the town at the new club Arabesque. Celeste is a shifter too, but the big difference between her and Karadel is Celeste dictates when she changes. The night starts out on a high note and begrudgingly, Karadel finds herself actually enjoying the moment. After a few dances, she takes a break from the band’s pounding bass and bar noise for a breath of fresh air. Joe the bouncer seems to be a likable guy and Karadel lets her guard down long enough to engage in light conversation. Just when things seem to be going well, all hell breaks loose. Town bad boy Bobby got a little too fresh in the back alley with Celeste. When Joe hears the screams and goes to investigate, he’s greeted by a crazed Bobby screaming about the crazy chick who changed into a wildcat right before his eyes and left more than a few kitty scratches on his face and chest. To add to the confusion, Sherriff Wilkerson rolls up on the scene in time to cart Bobby off, but not before asking where the wildcat/woman has gone. The problem is; Celeste is nowhere to be found.

Sharon Shinn has no difficulty in ramping up the adventure in her third novel of her “Shifting Circle Series.” While I’ve not had the pleasure of reading the first two books in this series, it was extremely easy to jump right in and travel the story with her richly developed characters. On face value, the notion of a human morphing from human to animal and back to human again is a bit of a reach. However, Shinn spins such credibility into such a metamorphosis, I found myself completely believing the premise. The dialogue is crisp and natural and the conflicted emotions Shinn assigns to each of the shifters’ characters is plausible. This is truly an engaging and action-packed novel that leaves the reader looking forward to the ongoing saga of the underworld of the shape shifting community. I am a fan of Ms. Shinn’s work and hope there is a “next book” in this series.

Quill says: This is a solidly written story that will convince its audience to ‘shift’ gears and read the first two books in this series once they’ve read The Turning Season.