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Shapeshifter's Quest Hardcover – August 4, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-9–In Landon's first novel, readers are introduced to 18-year-old Syanthe, a shapeshifter confined with the rest of her race to the Carlbine Forest. The king and his priests control the movements of this magical race, and only Syanthe has escaped the tattoo mark on the cheek that identifies them. As her mother and the forest around her sicken from the king's corruption of the land, she is forced to venture out into the human world in search of an herb that will save her people. But can she trust those who are so unlike herself? As Syanthe's journey begins, Landon loses the intensity that drives the first part of the novel. The teen meets with a strange band of traveling tradesmen led by Jerel, a mysterious young man with magic of his own. Unfortunately these tradesmen are not drawn well enough to allow readers to picture them or to understand their true cause. Also, Syanthe's first glimpse of a new land rushes by with only a few small descriptions of the wonders and terrors found in the world outside the forest. Shapeshifter's Quest is an average attempt in an already overcrowded YA fantasy field and an additional purchase for most libraries.–Lisa Marie Williams, Fairfax County Public Library System, Reston, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. In the spirit of Tamora Pierce's work, Landon constructs a fantasy world under siege. The world's savior is 18-year-old Syanthe, a shape-shifter who can change from human to animal at will and who learns that she alone can save her race from the destruction of an insidious illness that saps strength from living things. On her journey, Syanthe joins a caravan of disguised warriors who share her goal. Despite an action-packed and highly detailed plot, Landon creates a quiet, spiritual tone, emphasizing Syanthe's physical and emotional connection to nature through many conduits: she can touch the spirit or mind of water, plants, animals, and even insects. Fantasy fans will enjoy this plucky heroine and her richly imagined world where magic abounds. Debbie Carton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 16 years
  • Grade Level: 6 - 11
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Children's Publishing; First Edition edition (August 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525473106
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525473107
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,850,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I read this cover to cover in a single sitting (and I'm not sorry I did). Ms. Landon's prose is lovely and her story heartwarming--without the saccharin sweetness commonly found in YA novels.

Syanthe (the main character) blossoms in this book, moving from child to young woman over it's course. Her growing is one of gentle unfolding that leaves the reader warmed at her achievements. Growing up these days is often portrayed as an overnight or cataclysmic change. It's nice to see an author depict the process with more care and reality than that. Despite some cataclysmic events, Syanthe stretches into her strength and confidence gradually, just as a real young woman learns to do.

Ms. Landon creates a believable world of magic that serves as a backdrop for the truly magical transformation of girl to woman. The enchantments and magics are fun, but utterly believable, and therefore serve to enhance the human aspects of the story.

I look forward to seeing many more great things from this author. She has a clear, easy style that makes reading a pleasure, and a sensitivity in her prose that simply shouldn't be missed. The story unfolds nicely, and comes to a satisfying resolution, but you will be hungry for more.

In other words, buy this book because I'm dying to read the sequel!!! (I think you'll feel the same way after reading it.) I recommend it highly to teenagers and young adults, as well as grown women who remember what it was like to be caught between worlds.

Enjoy!

My'li'ny-sy (she sings to make someone well)
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Format: Hardcover
Syanthe is about 18 years old. She is a shapeshifter and has lived with all other shapeshifters in the Carlbine forest all her life (up until she's about 18). Because of an incident that happened years ago, the King had confined all shapeshifters to the Carlbine forest. He marked all of the shapeshifters with a magical tatoo on their faces that would kill them almost instantly, if they crossed the boundaries of the forest. All of the shapeshifters were marked, except Syanthe. She was hid at birth from the King's men. When the Carlbine forest and the shapeshifters (who are closely bounded to the forest) slowly grew sick with an illness, Syanthe's mother included, she set out into the King's capital to obtain the cure for the illness. A few days or so later after Syanthe left the forest, she was caught by a caravan of traders. She decided to join these travelers, who are also on their way to the capital. She soon found out that the leader of the caravan Jerel, has powerful magical powers. She also realized that there was something really wrong with this "caravan of traders".

This book is captivating, fast-paced, exciting, and really interesting. It was written in such a way that a reader would stay up all night reading it. He/she wouldn't know how deep into the book he or she is, until the ending is reached. It was written in such a way that "if" (which i doubt would happen) a reader is at the point of becoming bored with the entire story, something exciting happens that would renew a reader's attention and interest. This book may not sound very original, from what the reviews of this book basically sketched. However, that is quite wrong. It is in itself, refreshing, and a reader probably won't understand how that could be, unless he or she reads this book.
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A Kid's Review on December 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Shapeshifter's Quest may sound like the ordinary book that involves a journey for an object. Luckily this book isn't ordinary, but instead extraordinary since it adds a little extra pizzazz. An 18 year-old girl, Syanthe, is the only remaining member of her family to pay off a mysterious debt that she has no knowledge of. She has remained unmarked by the priests who work for the King. As well, she is the only one who can leave the forest and save her mother from dying. Just the thought of leaving Carlbine Forest, which they have been bound to since the rebellion, makes Syanthe stiff to the bone. She enters the human world and meets Jerel and other caravaners and needs to trust them to get her mother's medicine and save the forest from the Kings death magic. Dena Landon wrote this book to show that you can trust people even though you aren't sure you should. If you have been taught differently about them your whole life and others warn you away from them that doesn't always mean that what they say is true. Also not just to hope other people solve their problems by their self if it is not directly affecting you. This book kept me on the edge of my chair (and sometimes so much that I fell over) since it was so suspenseful. When you end a chapter you are already so into the book that you are forced to read more and more. I think that Dena did a great job on this book and should tell others about what a book should really show to the reader.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like the previous reviewer, I read Landon's book in one sitting--it drew me in from the very first page. Some authors have a knack for good dialogue--this one does. She has a way with words that I would not expect for a first-time author. I could envision the story unfolding, as if I was watching a movie in my mind! Her development of the characters sets the stage for a sequel--let's hope her publisher has signed her up for one! I was satisfied when the book ended but I'm clamoring for more!!
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