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It is difficult for me to be objective about Elizabeth Hunter's books. I am not a huge fan of her primary genre - sci-fi fantasy. But the genre is the last thing I am thinking about when I am buried in the midst of one of her books. I can become so engrossed and wrapped up in them, it is difficult for me to point to the one thing that sets her books apart. Her characters are always well developed and sympathetic (even the bad guys), her plot is logically laid out, but not overly predictable, her prose flows smoothly and her books are always well-edited.
Shifting Dreams was no exception. I read this in ebook format several months ago, before it became available on Audible. I was so impressed with her Elemental World series I wanted to read everything she had ever written. I liked it so much the first time I was eager to listen to it as soon as the audiobook was available. The plot revolves around a quirky little southwestern town with a "magical" spring - drinking from it gives some people and their offspring the ability to shape-shift. Rather than focusing on the mechanics of how that actually works, she focuses on the inter-relationships in a town that is full of eccentric and unique characters, with the least of their eccentricities being the ability to shift into another creature. And by allowing her characters to shift into several different species, many of which don't co-exist well in the wild, she adds another layer of complexity to the inter-relationship difficulties. She doesn't capitalize on this aspect too much in the first book, but seems to be laying a foundation.
The characters at the center of the story are sympathetic, each coming to the relationship slightly damaged with considerable baggage. The kids weren't too cute or too annoying, but seemed pretty realistic - at least as realistic as the plot would allow.
The narrator did a good job. My only criticism is that she wasn't Dina Pearlman. Just like the voice of Molly Harper will always be Amanda Ronconi to my ears, Elizabeth Hunter now speaks to me in Dina Pearlman's voice.
There are a couple of ebook novellas that provide some background to the series that I recommend reading. If they become audiobooks, I will reread them. The sequel to Shifting Dreams is now out in ebook format. I am going to try to wait until it is in audio format to listen to it.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
No, started out with a strong story but then heavy doses of teenage angst in 30+ yr olds sunk it.
Would you be willing to try another book from Elizabeth Hunter? Why or why not?
Probably not. I assume the style willnot change.
What does Liisa Ivary bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Pleasant voice well suited to the story. However, change in volume when people whisper not suitable for the environments where I listen to audiobooks.
Do you think Shifting Dreams needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
Not necessarily although the author leaves an opening for it at the end.
Any additional comments?
Too bad as this started out interesting and engageing.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful