Friday, November 26, 2010

Review: Quatrain by Sharon Shinn

QuatrainBook Details:
By Sharon Shinn
Genre: Fantasy
Published 2009, Penguin Group
Hardback, 369 pages
ISBN: 9780441017584


Four original novellas, all set in the fantastical worlds of national bestselling author Sharon Shinn.
National bestselling author Sharon Shinn's Twelve Houses books have fascinated readers and critics alike with their irresistible blend of fantasy, romance, and adventure. Now in Quatrain, she weaves compelling stories in four of the worlds that readers love in Flight, Blood, Gold and Flame.
This book is four short stories that each take place in a different world of Shinn's creation. I am only familiar with two of those worlds, so I read the corresponding stories first, starting with Flight. This story was interesting as it gave me a peek into the corruption that was occurring at Windy Point with the Archangel Raphael, and how the lesser people viewed the angels at this time. The ending was slightly disappointing, but I understand that Shinn could not cause any major drama regarding Raphael since this story is meant to be a prequel to Archangel (Samaria, Book 1).
The second story I read was Flame, which centered around Senneth, the mystic who wields fire, with appearances by several of the other characters that appear in the Twelve Houses series, starting with Mystic and Rider (The Twelve Houses, Book 1). I enjoyed this story because it gave me an idea of what Senneth did when she was a lone nomad, as well as how the people of Gillengaria reacted when a new mystic was discovering her abilities. I can't imagine being in such a situation and not reacting similarly. This story also shows how Senneth and Tayse first meet and her first thoughts at this meeting, which is intriguing enough that I hope she writes more in the Twelve Houses series.
The third story I read was Gold, based in the world from her book, Summers at Castle Auburn, which I have not read. This story centers around a princess living in the land of Alora for a time, which is strikingly similar to the concepts of the world of Fae, and how she fights to resist the allure. I enjoyed this story so much that I intend to read the book it is based on to get more of the tantalizing story between Orlain and Zara. This was my favorite short story of the book.
I read maybe two pages of the story Blood before I lost interest and shut the book. This story is based on her previous work Heart of Gold, which is a science fiction title. I have very little interest in this genre, and I did not feel compelled to read this particular story, which is not to say that the story was bad. It's just not my cup of tea.

The Cover: My guess is the woman on the cover is supposed to be Senneth from Shinn's most recent series, Twelve Houses, based on the flames at her feet. Unfortunately, this only encompasses one of the four stories in the book - and the last story at that.

First Line: "Finally the rain stopped."
While there is nothing particularly exciting about the opening line to any of the four stories, the promise of Shinn's abilities entice me forward anyways.

Favorite Quote: "I may have a few of my mother's potions left. I think one or two of them might be love spells - should I flavor our meal with those?"


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