Date read: 1.6.06
Read from: Public library
Always hungry for new knowledge, the magician Aubrey leaves his master to become the apprentice of the famed and reclusive shape-changer Glyrenden. Surrounded by a forest in Glyrenden’s decaying mansion, with only two eccentric servants for company, Aubrey becomes increasingly mesmerized by Glyrenden’s aloof and otherworldly wife, Lilith.
I read The Shape-Changer’s Wife at about the time that I began to be bored with standard fantasy, as evidenced by the fact that when I got it out of the library, I lost interest as soon as I looked at the cover. I read it anyway, just because it was relatively short and I liked the title, but overall it got a big shrug from me. I think it’s a combination of the aforementioned boredom, the book being Sharon Shinn’s first, and the fact that her prose is generally very… unassuming, as I’ve gathered from the others of her books that I’ve read (namely, the Samaria series, which I must admit to having enjoyed a good deal nonetheless). Granted, I prefer reliable writing over poorly attempted style, but Shinn’s writing is so straightforward and so devoid of stylistic interest that it leaves no impression on me afterwards. Add in the fact that I guessed Lilith’s “secret” 20 or so pages in, and a few annoying clichés and illogicalities, and there wasn’t much to be read. Still some nice details and scenes, but not enough to make this a memorable novel.
On a separate note, the [Profession/Status/etc.]‘s [Wife/Sister/Daughter] titling convention/cliché has been amusingly documented by Isaac Marion here.