Elisabeth Waters manages to fit it all into this comparatively slim novel. Remarkable in its lack of stereotypes, Changing Fate is a truly enjoyable fantasy.
Shape-changer Acila is forced to leave her home when it is captured by a Lord Ranulf. She and her dreamy, impractical brother, Briam, eventually come to the city of Diadem. In a kingdom of women-rulers, Briam is chosen as Year-king-- one scheduled to be sacrificed at the end of the summer.
Acila's certainly not going to stand for it! But how to rescue him? With the help of Druscilla, the reluctant heir to the crown of Diadem, her companion, Wolf (incidentally a wolf) and her own unique powers, Acila knows she must save Briam.
The characters are done very well. There are no villains in Changing Fate. The Queen sacrifices Year-kings merely to keep her people happy; Lord Ranulf...well, he's not at all a cold-hearted invader. I particularly liked the handling of Druscilla, a competent and intelligent woman whom everyone underestimates at first, including Acila. If you're at all into fantasy, Changing Fate is that rare and obscure book that is a must.