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by Heather Ostler

Age Range: 12 - 18

Pub Date: June 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4621-1033-9
Publisher: Cedar Fort

This new take on shapeshifters, people who can morph into animals, suffocates under an avalanche of unskillful prose in a heartfelt story that screams for better editing.

Julia doesn’t know she’s a supernatural being until her dad, Lancer, tells her that she’s royalty in a paranormal land. Worse, rebels led by Julia’s own mother want to kill her. Whisked to the family castle for safety, Julia enters school there to learn how to turn into a werecat at will. There she makes both friends and enemies and falls in love. Events lead to a final showdown between the factions with Julia caught in the middle of the fight. Clearly, Ostler loves her story, but, sadly, her writing lacks any hint of polish. Declarative sentences dominate the prose and nearly all dialogue, giving every character the same voice. Little description or character development and few transitions leave her writing stilted, with some extremely awkward phrasing (“She… searched for the culprit of the noise”). Grammatical errors abound, many serious, especially involving pronouns, adverbs and prepositions (“Me and you aren’t so different”; “he did terrible”). The firmly amateurish writing seriously interferes with the flow of the story throughout, especially at the climax.

Imagination stifled by inexperience. (Fantasy. 12 & up)