National bestselling author Sharon Shinn presents a passionate, heart-wrenching story of secrets and the lengths we’ll go to, to protect those we love... Melanie Landon and her half-sister share a unique bond. For her entire life, Melanie has hidden the fact that Ann is a shape-shifter. The never-ending deception is a heavy weight to bear, but Melanie is determined to keep Ann’s secret and protect her from a world that simply wouldn’t understand. For months, Melanie hasn’t seen or heard from Ann, in either of her forms. When a man shows up saying he’s there about her sister, Melanie fears the worst. But Brody Westerbrook doesn’t have information about Ann - he’s in search of it. A freelance writer, Brody intends to include Ann in a book he’s writing about the existence of shape-shifters. While Melanie is immediately drawn to the stranger on her doorstep, she denies his claims, knowing that trusting him isn’t an option. But when Ann finally appears looking thin and sick, Melanie realizes exposure is the least of their worries. Protecting her sister has always been such an enormous part of Melanie’s life, but as Ann’s health rapidly deteriorates, Melanie must come to grips with the fact that saving her may mean letting go…
©2012 Sharon Shinn (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
This audiobook was an engrossing but subtle and somewhat slower-paced listen. The conflict is strictly emotional but it avoids the trap of manufactured emotions that create conflict for the sake of plot progression because the interpersonal drama that drives the story feels very true to life. By the end, I was deeply absorbed in the dynamic between the sisters.
Told in first person present tense, this is a story about love in its many forms. The chapters alternate between Melanie and Brody's story as Melanie worries about and tries to shield her sister Anne from discovery and the seemingly unrelated story of Janet and Cooper - two teenagers whose difficult living situations are made bearable by their friendship and developing love. The two perspectives end up tying together but each was interesting enough on its own. This isn't a supernatural shape-shifter sexy-times book but rather a compelling re-imagining of our world with shifters who live a hidden and, as another reviewer put it, rather hardscrabble existence. More than a story about an alternate reality, however, it's about these specific characters and the lengths they go to for those they love. This was one of those books that lingered in my thoughts after I finished it and each time I thought about it, I liked it a little bit more.
Erin Moon’s narration was very good overall but the strong point for me was how realistic the dialogue between Melanie and Anne sounded. My ability and desire to connect to these characters was significantly enhanced by being able to hear the laugh in their voices as they teased each other and the complex emotions that siblings often share were very evident in the delivery. Each character was easy to identify when they spoke and they seemed very realistic in the back-and-forth of dialogue.
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This series, so far, is pretty good at taking a new perspective on Shapeshifters. Their lifestyle difficulties and loneliness, something I never considered above the romanticism of the freedom to "the loose the beast within"...Not carefree stories, Very realistic small town concerns with a need to protect the magic. The areas used in the books are gorgeous, I especially love the Rollo/ Big Piney area. I can just "see" them in my mind's eye as I listen. I recommend these books, but don't expect sexy werewolves...its a hard scrabble existence from this perspective.
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