Friday, May 18, 2012

The Shapeshifter's Secret by Heather Ostler

The Shapeshifter's Secret
(Isn't that a gorgeous cover?)

Julia is finally discovering what–not who–she is.

Like any sixteen-year-old, Julia's used to dealing with problems. From her overprotective father to her absent mother to a teacher who definitely has it in for her. But everything changes when Julia's reactions become oddly vicious and angry---more animal than human. This action-packed adventure has it all: humor, romance, and a plot that will keep you guessing to the very last page.

The Shapeshifter's Secret was very good. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did, but I ended up getting really into it. 

So, I'm not sure this is mentioned, but the whole shapeshifter thing is werecats. Julia is a werecat. She can turn into a white tiger. Now, this is a fairly unique concept. I don't think I've seen it used before, which gives SS a few points by itself. It's actually pretty interesting. Ostler even explained some of the mechanics of transformation. 

Julia is a okay character. She's not special among YA female leads but she is a worthy heroine. What's nice is that she reacted fairly realistically to her situation. While she was understandably skeptical about the whole werecat business at first, she accepted her new reality in a sensible way. Basically, she's actually smart and truly clever. She's not weak and can hold her own in a fight (I mean, she can turn into a massive tiger). 

The plot was pretty slow and steady at first. Not boring, just deliberate. Things were revealed at their own pace, no info-dumping. It isn't until the last bit that a lot actually happens. And, let me tell you, there was a twist at the end that I was not expecting. Seriously, I never saw it coming. 

The reason I took off a star for this otherwise lovely book is the romance. I didn't quite get it. First, the whole issue with Caleb. It initially felt like he would be the love interest, she felt "drawn" to him. Then we find out he has a girlfriend and Julia suddenly decides to be mean to him even though he's perfectly nice to her. But throughout the book, I still got the impression that they liked each other but nothing really happened there. The actual romance is with Terrance. It didn't make sense to me. Terrance and Julia never really talked except for a couple of conversations. They wrote each other a couple of letters while Terrance, who is a soldier, was off in battle. But even so, in the second letter he writes to her, he professes his love and Julia writes him back returning the sentiment. But they had barely interacted yet! It really frustrated me. This isn't even the normal brand of insta-love. At least in the others, the two lovebirds will spend a lot of time together in the few days it takes them to fall in love. But in this instance, they talked a couple of times and spent the most of their time not interacting, yet they still fell in love. That didn't sit well with me. 

Besides that, this book was great. If you can find it in yourself to overlook the whole romance issue, I would definitely recommend it. 


The delightful author was kind enough to do an interview for us so, without further ado, please welcome Ms. Heather Ostler!

Werecats are new to the mainstream literary circuit, and a welcome addition, I might add.
Why did you choose to write about them?

Thank you so much, Farrah. I chose to write about werecats for a couple of reasons, but
mostly because I’ve always had a love for big cats. They’re so majestic and beautiful,
but they’re known for being powerful and dangerous. Shapeshifter werecats are also very
versatile, and that makes them fun to write about.

So, each character turns into a different feline-does the cat that person turn into have a
specific meaning? Or is it just down to genetics?

I usually have a specific idea of what feline would fit each character’s personality and
background, but it does ultimately go down to genetics, like eye or hair color.

You've mixed a few different kinds of magical creatures together in your book-which one
is your favorite?

I do love shapeshifters, and I think I’ve always had a fascination about creatures that
can change from human form to animal form. I also really enjoy writing about water
creatures like sirens and water nymphs.

Do you plan on writing a sequel? If so, can you give us a hint on what is in store?

Yes, I do plan on a sequel for The Shapeshifter’s Secret. And speaking of water
creatures—there will be plenty of sirens in the sequel.

Just for fun, if you were a werecat, which feline would you want to transform into?

Ooh, I think I would have to be a lion. They are so massive and authoritative, and yet
they seem so loyal and sometimes even playful. But perhaps I’ve just seen Lion King one
too many times.
(Don' t blame you there, Heather. The Lion King is the essence of awesome :) 

Thanks, Heather. Best of wishes.
And thanks to Ceder Fort for a copy of the book!

Thanks for joining us! If you're looking to continue following the blog tour, you can find the schedule here.

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