I initially had this marked as YA, probably based on the cover and the description of the heroes and heroine as ‘young.’ As a result I drug my feet about reading it. I just didn’t know if I could take another angsty teenage drama. I’m beginning to think I might have to admit that I’ve finally outgrown them.
To my delight it isn’t YA at all. In fact, it includes some fairly explicit sexual innuendo. Luckily the story doesn’t fall victim to the painfully common sexy, simpering slave-girl trope. What Mrs. Zambito does is far more varied and insidious, and therefore realistic. I’m not complaining. I like it. I don’t mean that I got any sort of sadist joy out of it, but it is unrealistic to think that truly evil people would just happen to be evil in every realm except for the interpersonal. It also allows for an interesting foray into different types of power. I’m probably making more of it than I need to. It is a very small part of the book after all. But it was so unexpected that I can’t help but mention it.
The book’s strengths are definitely in the world building and love the main characters both carry for each other and garner from those around them. Despite the heavy task before them the book has a definite ‘feel-good’ quality to it. It feels down right sappy at times, in a good way. I did have a little trouble with the lack of contractions. Now, I’ll grant you there isn’t really any reason that people from another world would talk just like us, but it gave everything a formal feel that didn’t seem natural to me. Despite that, Island Shifters is an enjoyable example of the indomitable power of the human (or elven or dwarfian) spirit to persevere and of good triumphing over evil. I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to read it.
(reviewed 8 months after purchase)