A new world of shape-shifters and a time-honored battle between good and evil come alive in Caddy's debut fantasy for teens.
Lowell Sencha leads the simple life of a farmer, looking after his little brother and helping him as he learns to Shift. Shifting transforms the peaceful Gwydhan Valley waer, Lowell's people, from human to wolf. When Lowell rescues Lycaea—a mysterious young woman who has been tortured and turned into a waer—the valley's serenity is shattered as the tyrant Daeman Leldh's soldiers pursue Lycaea and murder everyone in their path, including Lowell's family. To add to the shock, Lowell learns the truth behind a childhood legend: the Watchers (a Healer, Assassin, Dealer triad) are actually real, ancient power brokers responsible for maintaining balance between good and evil. With his world turned upside down, Lowell has no choice but to follow Lycaea in her quest for vengeance, but as Lycaea struggles with accepting her waer identity and reveals more about her painful past, Lowell must decide if he can trust Lycaea's schemes with the Watchers…or Lycaea herself. Despite thorough worldbuilding with echoes of Australian Aboriginal shape-shifting lore, the narrative’s nonetheless predominantly white cast and occasional sacrifice of developed character motivations in favor of visceral action scenes feel like missed opportunities.
A familiar paranormal fantasy energized by head wounds and plot twists. (Fantasy. 12-17)