Sharon Shinn: The Shape of Desire
This is a really fun novel. I think it’s a standalone book, though it’s possible that it fits in with Shinn’s other shape shifter novels. I have at least one of those on my TBR pile, but since I haven’t read it yet, I’m not sure if this one is in the same universe as that one. (Update: yes, they are in the same world. Good thing I read them in the order I did!)
At any rate, the basic premise is that there are shape shifters in our world and we don’t know about them. They change shapes at different rates, some completely at the whim of nature, and others with more control over their changes. Similarly, they don’t always change into the same shape, and most have little to no control over what shape they change into.
For this book, we mostly follow the heroine (and POV character), Maria, as she tries to cope with having a real life and a life with her shape shifter boyfriend, Dante. Dante is animal more often than human, so Maria’s life is strange to say the least. I will admit to getting annoyed with her several times when she was moping over Dante. It was realistic, don’t get me wrong, but it was the kind of attitude that I would smack a friend for. Maria gets mopey when Dante’s an animal, and only gets happy when he’s human or about to become human again. However, this is only for the first part of the book. Then Maria starts to get more involved in her co-workers’ lives (only partly her own doing, and partly in spite of herself) and this makes her a much more interesting character than she was before.
Going much further with the plot would get deep into spoiler territory, so I won’t. However, Shinn is a master of misdirection, and this book has a very fast pace towards the end. In fact, the whole book was a page turner for me. (Maria wasn’t annoying for very long, or I wouldn’t have finished the book.) I ended up finishing it in less than a day, because I needed to know how it ended up. Definitely worth picking up!