Friday, June 08, 2007

Book Two: The Dream-Maker's Magic by Sharon Shinn

261 pages. Reading and writing time: 2 1/2 hours

The Dream-Maker's Magic by Sharon Shinn. Viking, 2006 (0-670-06070-4) $16.99

I came to this book with mixed feelings: I love Shinn's
adult novels (science-fiction/fantasy plus romance--just dip them in
chocolate and life could be no better) but the first book in this YA
series was simultaneously a bit dull and a bit creepy, and I don't think
I even made it through the second; I remember literally nothing about
it. Things are looking up in the third title though, which has an
intriguing premise and several appealing characters.

Kellen, a girl whose obsessed mother insists that she had been born a boy and somehow changed, has grown up with a sometime useful, but usually confusing androgyny, never feeling she fits in with other girls or boys and always feeling like a disappointment. "I did not really think of myself as a boy or a girl. I considered myself just Kellen. Just me. Just nobody." Kellen finally finds a friend in Gryffin, also handicapped from birth though in a more conventional manner of twisted feet and legs. The intelligent and thoughtful Gryffin has no trouble accepting Kellen and quickly becomes important to her: "I suppose other people saw him as being broken and a little sad. I saw him as astonishing." When Kellen grows older and begins to crave a feminine identity, Gryffin is accepting as always. But life has some major surprises in store for Gryffin--and for Kellen, it may mean losing her dearest friend and any future they might have together.

Shinn has created a mildly interesting fantasy world, a generic medieval sort of setting in which certain people have specific powers: Truth-Tellers always speak the truth, Safe-Keepers can be trusted to keep any secret someone needs to unburden, and Dream-Makers, the most powerful and revered, somehow make dreams come true. The small details of the society are the most compelling, such as the Wintermoon wreaths Kellen and Gryffin make every year, symbols of their deepest wishes. But it baffles me why Shinn, many of whose adult books are ideally suited to young adult readers, gets so tentative and lightweight when she's writing specifically for a YA audience. The Dream-Maker's Magic is a good read, decidedly the best of the series, but I can't see recommending it when I could recommend Angelica instead.

Labels: , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous bligged...

I saw a copy of this at the shop the other day and realised I hadn't heard much about it round the traps. I wasn't pulled in by the blurb or the pages I dipped into, so your review confirms that it might be more of a library book for me.

6/10/2007 5:57 PM  
Blogger web bligged...

Oh, I dunno, a lot of people seem to think more highly of the series than I did.

6/10/2007 7:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home