Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Summers at Castle Auburn - Sharon Shinn

It took me a while to get into this book. I wasn't too sure I really wanted to read it and my prejudice against fantasy almost made me quit. But I persevered and I have to say that the more I read it the more I loved it and wanted to know more. Now that I've finished I can safely say it found a place among my favourites.

So what did I like so much about it? Well she creates a world with medieval reflections that is a sort of fairy-tale land, and then this is a coming of age story and I just love those.

Corrie, our heroine, is the daughter of a nobleman and a village girld who seduce him. As a result she spends most of the time in the village but every year she goes to live in the castle for 3 months. There she stays with her half - sister Elisandra, her uncle Jaxon and meets Prince Bryan, Elisandra's intended and the future ruler. As the years go by and she keeps returning to the castle her vision of the people and situations will change.

Among the secondary characters are the Aliora, some sort of elfs that Corrie's uncle chases and captures to sell as slaves. Her vision of the Aliora will also change in time and they become more real to her and she more concerned with their plight. I found myself wishing Shinn had developed the Aliora world a bit more.

Not only Corrie will be faced with difficult choices as she grows up but also Elisandra will have to choose between duty and happiness. As both sisters ultimately make their choices the story resembles even more of a fairy tale by reaching it's happy ending. But a good one! Shinn portrays vivid characters, with believable feeling and I really enjoyed the world building. I might just have to reconsider how much I might enjoy fantasy after this one.

Grade: A


  1. Told you it was good! ;-)
    I think you have to find the right kind of fantasy, not too over the top.

  2. I think the other Ana is right, you just need to choose carefully among fantasy titles to find the ones that fit you. Maybe something less epic and political and a bit more domestic, like this. Shinn is a good choice, and the The Sharing Knife duet, by Lois McMaster Bujold, might be another one.

  3. Hmm I'll have to check that one. Thanks for the recommendation!


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