Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review: Shapeshifter - Holly Bennett

Synopsis: In the world of Tir na nOg, shapeshifters and other such "natural" magic is not unusual. But Sive is gifted not only with the ability to shapeshift - her chosen form being a deer -, but a beautiful singing voice from her mother, which has the ability to incite whatever feelings she wants in listeners - be they sad, angry, passionate, or joyful.

But Sive, in her innocence, attracts the attentions of the Dark Man - a power-hungry sorcerer named Far Doirche who will stop at nothing to takeo ver Tir na nOg. And Sive's power is the key to achieving his desires.

In order to escape him, Sive must hide in her deer form, for he can only track her when she shapeshifts into a woman. But living as a deer most of the time may cost Sive her memory of what it is to be human, to be who she is. Her only refuge may lie in traveling across the invisible barrier that separates Tir na nOg from Eire - the mortal land of which the magical court of the Sidhe live side-by-side in mirror image, invisible to one another. There, she must seek the protection of Finn mac Cumhail, but even he may not be able to help her. For Far Doirche is a very patient sorcerer . . . and Sive can only hide for so long. . .

Review: Holly Bennett is a fantasy writer who does her research into iron-age/medieval periods in which she bases her stories. Her magical worlds have the same feel as the old Britannic legends (and not just because she has a fascination with Ireland and the British Isles and bases some of her stories there), and her characters are all very in depth and extremely likeable. She is the only Author who has ever made me attach to a character who was an Elf - and believe me, that is a feat to accomplish.

Shapeshifter is just as good as her Bonemender Trilogy, if not better. She plays upon the legends of Finn mac Cumhail (or Finn MacCool, as most of know him) and Oisin in a very interesting and new way, making the stories feel fresh. Her writing style brings things to life in a way most fantasy writers can't because their personal style is tainted with "modern phraseology". She also does something very interesting with first-person narration. The majority of the book is written in third person, but at times she has certain characters "remember" - which is when they take time to recall events that occurred, giving their own personal opinion on what happened. At first, this seemed very odd and somewhat random, but after a time, I grew used to it and enjoyed those parts the most. Some of Holly Bennett's transitions are a little rough, but she manages to cover a span of years very smoothly.

The only complaint I really have is that the demise of Far Doirche isn't as satisfying as I was expecting it to be. And yet, once I had time to reflect on the story, I decided that I actually rather liked it. His ending isn't cliched, there is no big showdown between hero (or heroine) and the big baddie. Honestly, it fit, and I don't feel as disappointed about it as I initially did.

The content is, for the most part, nonexistant. It is mentioned that Sive beds with Finn mac Cumhail, but that's all that is said. No details of any sort; just a frank statement and that is that.

Shapeshifter by Holly Bennett was a resounding success, in my opinion, and I look forward to adding it to my collection.

Overall Rating: 


  1. Oh! I didn't know she had another book out. I will definitely add this one to my list.

  2. I just found out a few weeks ago myself. I love her stories!


Thank you for visiting 667B Baker Street! Please feel free to leave a comment; I love hearing from my Readers and I always try to respond, especially if you have a question!