Saturday, April 10, 2010


By Holly Bennett
ISBN No. 978-1-55469-158-6

These days, it seems everyone is re-writing the “Twilight” phenomenon (vampire as metaphor for alienated teen) to fit either their own writing style or to take advantage of some freakish entity (werewolf, spirit, witch) that another writer re-writing the “Twilight” phenomenon hasn’t written about yet. But even with that furious flurry of opportunistic publishing “ShapeShifter” is a standout. For starters, the book announces immediately that it intends to be different than the usual Sorcerer fare by declaring its love of Irish mythology in the Preface (nicely augmented by an old map of Ireland on the opposite page). This gives the goings-on (mythology purist alert: Bennett also includes a “version of the ancient legend” upon which she bases her story) a kind of Book of Kells curiosity and credibility. (It also gives the book an academic pedigree that parents will appreciate.) The “ShapeShifter” of the title is a Sive, a young woman discovering her powers of transformation in The Otherworld. But when she becomes a deer she becomes prey to all of the figurative and metaphoric evil around her. As for what happens next, it involves the struggle for Sive’s soul between a strong, strapping hero of Irish legend and an evil entity known only as [shudder] the Dark Man. As far as books about tween mythology go (the book is recommended for readers aged 12 years and up) “ShapeShifter” has an awful lot going for it. The story is compelling, the characters involving, the plot twists make sense, and the suspense is really, really suspenseful.