Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Shapeshifter's Secret

The Shapeshifter's Secret
by Heather Ostler

Julia was just trying to get by in high school.  Her dad won't let her go anywhere.  Her mother is nowhere to be found.  And her teacher really really seems to hate her.

But trying to get by in high school is nothing like trying to NOT turn into a white tiger when you're ticked, which is made more difficult when you didn't even know you could do that.  

Julia just found out.

She also just found out that she's descended from an old family and an old name in an old world linked to our own.

Now she must go back to that world, survive the journey, survive love, survive the school... Heck! She just has to survive.

Final thoughts:  
This is a wanna-be Harry Potter and it's horrendous.
A "chosen one" who is needed by the enemy to make the enemy stronger.  Check!
A best friend and roommate.  Check!
A third friend who knows the (quite literal) castle and it's secrets/rumors/history and who just happens to like the best friend. Check!
The secret passages/rooms leading to secret things and only the hero can get into them/find them (with the help of the third, knowledgeable, friend).  Check!
The hero willing to jump into the line of fire to prevent others from being injured on his/her behalf.  Check!
Magical castle with magical guards and magical protections.  Check!
The enemy trying destroy this magical world through the government so that he/she can rule with absolute power while others form a rebellion/group against the enemy. Check!
The secrets are left by someone with the initial 'S'.  Check!
Studying in the library for subjects like plants/herbology and the detailed history of this world.  Check!
Portals (portkeys/floo) to travel around everywhere.  Check!
Someone leaving messages that basically encourage genocide of the non-pure/non-cat (whatever!) and then making others think the hero did it.  Check!
And so, so, so much more.
On top of all that, the author writes in a kind of shorthand.  It's obvious that SHE knows what's going on, but she's not very good at sharing it with others.  And when she does share, she OVER-shares.  How the HECK did Julia fall in love with this boy when she barely knows him??  Either Ostler skipped over tons of conversations/letters that we missed OR Ostler just decided to tell us all that Julia was in love.
Rating: 0/5  (yes, it's that bad)

As an added note: publishers/editors/author... please take a moment and check your spelling!!  Is it Solider Union or Soldier Union?!?!  It kept switching back and forth.  For a chapter or two it was Solider and then Soldier for a bit and then Solider.  And this wasn't just once or twice; it was a CONSTANT problem throughout the book.

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