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SHAPESHIFTER’S QUEST by Dena Landon Kirkus Star

SHAPESHIFTER’S QUEST

By Dena Landon

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-525-47310-6
Publisher: Dutton

Landon’s debut is a strong, poignant fantasy about a shapeshifter on a quest to save her dying forest. Syanthe’s people, who change shape from human-like base into animals, live as magical tenders of a forest. Because they once dared rebel against the King, they’re tattooed with facial marks that will poison them if they stray. When a mysterious fungus threatens the trees and her mother falls ill, only Syanthe—hidden as a baby and bearing no tattoo—can leave the forest for medicine and information. On her journey, she must avoid the King’s sadistic priests. Travelers in a wagon caravan adopt her for their trip to the capital, but are they just traders? The King’s unnatural lifespan is killing the land and unrest is more widespread than Syanthe knew. She steps stunningly into an assassination plot and falls in love with the head of the caravan along the way. Landon gives no indication of a sequel to this beautifully written piece, though one would be welcome. (Fantasy. YA)