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Still Life with Shape-Shifter (A Shifting Circle Novel) Hardcover – November 6, 2012

31 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Shifting Circle Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This gentle drama about two loving sisters, one of whom is a shape-shifter, is less about the extraordinary and more about the everyday. Melanie has always protected her younger half-sister, Ann, who can turn into a white husky, so when investigative reporter Brody Westerbrook comes calling with questions about shape-shifters for his new book, she ignores her attraction to him and sends him away. Keeping Ann’s secret is too important to risk growing close to someone new. But Melanie can only put her life on hold for Ann for so long, and Brody proves too charming and tenacious to resist, especially when Ann, also newly in love, approves of the match. Always worried about her passionate, rambling sister, Melanie is troubled when Ann’s health starts to decline rapidly, signaling an unforeseen problem with the natural lifespan of shape-shifters. Melanie and Ann’s sisterly bond is the heart of this graceful story about love and loss, in which true magic lies in the sacrifices and compromises people make for love. --Krista Hutley


Praise for the novels of Sharon Shinn:  

“Filled with vivid details of everyday life, a strong and admirable heroine, and a plot with as many twists and turns as the mighty river that threads through the story.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“[A] rousing sword-and-sorcery romance.” —Publishers Weekly

“A chocolate truffle of a novel: richly indulgent, darkly sweet, and utterly satisfying.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Shinn is a strong literary writer [and is] especially good at writing realistic characters.” —SFRevu

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Product Details

  • Series: A Shifting Circle Novel
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425256812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425256817
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,554,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sharon Shinn is a journalist who works for a trade magazine. Her first novel, The Shapechanger's Wife, was selected by Locus as the best first fantasy novel of 1995. She has won the William C. Crawford Award for Outstanding New Fantasy Writer, and was twice nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has lived in the Midwest most of her life.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By J. Kaplan on November 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love Sharon Shinn's books. I absolutely love them. I've read all of her other books over and over- I own some of them in hardcover AND in kindle form. That is true love, right? So it is with very deep and sincere sorrow that I say, I cannot stand this series. I would never say that everything an author writes has to be the same, or that they can't branch out into different genres, but in this series, Ms. Shinn has abandoned everything that makes her other books such a joy to read. Her other books are filled with powerful, purposeful characters who are trying to save the world, or defend their king, or what have you. But in her shapeshifters books? Everyone is powerless. The shapeshifters can't control their abilities, which are slowly killing them. The humans who love them live lives filled with sadness and worry. There is no adventure, no mystery, no plot, just "Where is the shapeshifter that I love so much? I am so sad without them. Oh, there he/she is! Yay, my life has meaning! Now they are gone again. I am so sad." Repeat over and over until the end of the book. And now I am so sad too, because she is writing these dreary books instead of a new Thirteen Houses book, or Samaria book, or even Troubled Waters. Ms. Shinn, if you see this review, please don't be upset! I think you are an amazing writer and I am so grateful for all the happiness your books have brought me. I just wish you would go back to writing those happy, exciting, positive books.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By macawesome on November 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I admit to being a Sharon Shinn fan. I love how she can build a world in broad strokes, make you believe, and fall in love with the world and the people. What's interesting in her Shifting Circle novels is that she doesn't need the broad strokes. That part exists. It's all the small details that build her world, now. Yes, it's still fantasy romance, filled with love. But it's so much more. It's the details of life, of living it with love, and finding that love, all in the midst of real life.
This second Shifting Circle novel was better than the first. We have a better sense of her timing and, I think, her timing is better. The world is more fully peopled, and the sense of joy is deeper.
While this is probably classified as urban fantasy, the battles in it are not ones that require armies and broad battles to manage. Rather, they are the quiet battles of everyday life, learning to deal with love and loss and love again.
I couldn't put the book down. As always, Shinn's work is lyrical and wonderful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Jones VINE VOICE on December 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Still Life with Shape Shifter is the second book in the Shifting Circle Series. Even though it features shape-sifters it is really a story about love, love in all of its forms. I always call Sharon Shinn's stories gently stories. Don't look for non-stop action, a lot of sex, or over the top stories. She writes in a very down to earth style with a lot of character development that builds the story.

Several of the characters from A Shape of Desire are in Still Life. Dante and Maria are side characters here but William is one of the main characters. Still Life follows two women,, Janet and Melanie. Both love a shape-shifter but in very different ways. For the most part their lives are separate but both face loving and losing the person they love. This is the story of how they face that impending loss.

There are other characters that play a major part in the novel. Brody is almost too good to be true. He meets Melanie and has to work hard to win her trust. Melanie's best friend, Debbie is just the kind of best friend everyone wants to have. Janet also has friends that supply a support for her.

Each woman's story is separate and unique but in the end they meet in a sad but true way. There is room for future stories in this universe and I hope more are written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kay Kenyon on December 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This series startled me. I was expecting the usual urban fantasy with special powers, and instead I found a rich emotional tapestry of lives tangled up with two shape-shifters. Shinn is superb at romance, of course, and the romance is especially rich in the first book. In Still Life the romance is lighter but I found Brody to be charismatic, and outrageously persistent in his pursuit of his woman. The story held lovely mysteries of what would become of everyone, and the personal stakes kept me turning the pages. I must say the lyrical prose is another delight of this book. If you like the paranormal with deep emotional currents, read this one. (You don't have to read the first book to love this one, even though Still Life throws in a satisfying tie-in with the first novel.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Leonard B. Allen on December 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm still a huge Sharon Shinn fan, but I'm disappointed with her Shifting Circle series. I gave the first book a very poor review because it just didn't rise to Sharon's usual talent on many levels. I never got past the first few chapters and never finished it.
This book was cosiderably better to me than the first one in the series, but still not up to her earlier caliber of work. Her character creating skill was again evident, but these urban fantasies do not require her to exercise her world creation skill which I consider to be one of the best facets of her talent.
I'm still holding out hope that she will return to her earlier style.
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