November 3, 2014

Review: The Turning Season by Sharon Shinn

The Turning Season (Shifting Circle #3)

Author: Sharon Shinn
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Ace


In national bestselling author Sharon Shinn’s latest Shifting Circle novel, a woman must choose between hiding her nature—and risking her heart...

For Karadel, being a shape-shifter has always been a reality she couldn’t escape. Even though she’s built a safe life as a rural veterinarian, with a close-knit network of shifter and human friends who would do anything for her—and for each other—she can’t help but wish for a chance at being normal.

When she’s not dealing with her shifts or caring for her animal patients, she attempts to develop a drug that will help shifters control their changes—a drug that might even allow them to remain human forever.

But her comfortable life is threatened by two events: She meets an ordinary man who touches her heart, and her best friend is forced to shift publicly with deadly consequences.

Now Karadel must decide whom to trust: her old friends or her new love.

Praise for Sharon Shinn and the Shifting Circle novels:

“Shinn is a master.”
—Mary Jo Putney

“A triumphant tale of love and loss…The everyday relationships—the love shared by siblings, friends, and romantic partners—shine with even more wonder than the magic.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[Shinn] is one of the best fantasists.”
—Alternative Worlds

“An enthralling mystery with compelling, gritty characters.”
Library Journal

“A lyrical love story.”
—Night Owl Reviews

“An incredibly poignant and bittersweet story…As always, Shinn’s calm yet powerful voice tugs at readers’ heartstrings.”
RT Book Reviews

“Excellently depicted, interesting, and complex…A fantastic tale.”
—Fresh Fiction


The Turning Season is the exciting third installment in the Shifting Circle fantasy series. The story follows our main character, Karadel, a shape-shifter who has made a great home amongst fantastic friends - both human and shifters - but she still can't stop wishing that she was just normal. Karadel became a rural veterinarian, so between her animal patients and her shifting issues; Karadel uses her precious free time working on a drug that will help shifters control their changes - and might even allow them to stay human permanently. Karadel's quiet world suddenly flips upside down when her best friend is forced to shift in public - with dire consequences - and when she meets a normal, ordinary man who somehow manages to touch her heart. Now Karadel is divided - should she trust her old friends or the new man in her life?
Not having read any of the previous books in the series before, I was a little behind on the background stories revolving around some of the characters as well as some situations that are referenced throughout the novel. Not having read the prior books didn't make the story hard to follow though, so I believe it could easily be read as a stand-alone. I really liked Karadel as a main character. She's great - smart, determined to find a cure, devoted to her friends, wonderful at her job. But she also has her fears, doubts, and weaknesses; all of which make her more realistic and easy to identify with. I liked watching how Karadel interacted with the other characters around her - her friends, both shifters and humans, and other people who she didn't really know. Then the new handsome mysterious guy shows up and somehow manages to break through the walls that Karadel has put up around herself. I enjoyed watching their relationship develop and deepen throughout the story. The plot was full of action - aside from dealing with her vet practice, Karadel is hard at work trying to find a cure for the shifter changes - hopefully one that will allow them to remain human permanently. There's a huge turn in the story when her friend is forced to shift in public - and they have to find a way out of the situation before things turn deadly. The book was fast paced most of the time, but it did seem to drag little here and there. The characters, setting, and plot were all well written with great attention to detail that helps draw the reader inside the world the author created. I definitely recommend this book, and series, to fans of fantasy fiction - especially those who enjoy shape-shifter novels.

Sharon Shinn is a journalist who works for a trade magazine. Her first novel, The Shape-Changer’s Wife, was selected by Locus as Best First Fantasy Novel of 1995. She has won the William L. Crawford Award for Outstanding New Fantasy Writer, and was twice nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She has also received an RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award and won the 2010 RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has lived in the Midwest most of her life. Visit her website at

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