The Shifter by Jean Johnson

Shifting Plains, Book 2

Synopsis: Before the Sons of Destiny came to be, shapechangers ruled the heart of a shattered empire and navigated the uncertain shifts of fate…
Years have passed since there was any sighting of Family Mongrel on the Shifting Plains. Yet traces remain, and they lead south into the Correda Mountains. As a favor to his brother and sister-in-law, Kenyen Sin Siin has taken it upon himself to track down these hints from the past and make sure the curs have not survived. The trail grows colder, more tangled, until he’s trapped in a valley where not everyone is as they seem. He will either adapt and survive or be uncovered and perish before his mission is complete.
Wary of strangers and distrustful of the unfamiliar, Solyn Ys Rei and her best friend have formed a secret resistance. One of a rare few with the ability to stand up to and evade enemies, she must still tread with great caution, particularly when even her best friend starts acting oddly. Allies could be enemies lurking in disguise, and a stranger’s face could hide a new foe as easily as a new friend.

Review: I didn’t know Jean Johnson before and I am always curious to discover new authors. I admit that I had a little trouble to get into the story as I initially didn’t understand at all what was happening, but as we progress in the story we understand the world the author has created.

Kenyen and a few of his own discover, one day, a body at the bottom of a cave. Learning that this man was killed so that another could take his place when taking his face, our hero decides to go and look for the murderer among a group of banished shifters who live illegally in the mountains among the humans. Captured pretty fast, He will eventually infiltrate the group and take the place of the person he hopes to save. However things get complicated when the man he becomes is about to marry with the daughter of a famous family in the mountains. He thought he could fool her but things get even more complicated when she realizes that he is not the man she thought and when she is about to succumb for him.

The Jean Johnson‘s world is very original like in a fantasy story, which was nice to discover. It was a pleasure to discover the characters, to see Kenyen changing, fighting against his wishes and culture. He wants to save the world, to remain master of himself, but it is always easier said than done. Solyn is really innocent and determined in her choice. She understands very quickly what is wrong but is not afraid to confront Kenyen to know the truth. This is a character I enjoyed, she is natural and true throughout the story, a feeling I rarely have when I read a book.

I wondered throughout the novel what the exiled were seeking for fom the family of the young woman and I must say that I was completely surprised. I expected something extraordinary and I admit even if it is more basic I did not expect that at all. However, it’s very simple and important to them.

I enjoyed this second book and I’m curious to see what will happen to our protagonists thereafter if we have the opportunity to see them again of course. I would also like to read the first book since the author often mention some details about it. 

12 thoughts on “The Shifter by Jean Johnson

  1. Lol, you really should have started with the first book, then you would understand this one better. And to be honest, I enjoyed the first one a lot more. This one had a YA feel to it, though they are all adults.
    Lol Melissa’s, you both entered my Jean Johnson contest. So you should know about her books already.

  2. Yeah, this book, THE SHIFTER, did end up writing itself with more of a YA feel than the previous one. Part of that, I think, is because the characters themselves are younger, and were making some of the mistakes you’d see in younger, less experienced heroes & heroines. Part of the challenge in writing characters is a) picking good, realistic personalities, and b) sticking to those personalities, their maturity level, their experience level, their knowledge level…all of which may be vastly different from the author’s own perspective. Part of the challenge in writing a variety of books is shaking up these same things, experience and maturity and knowledge levels, so that an author is writing new characters with new perspectives…rather than trotting out the exact same type of story over and over with only slight variations.

    A lot of this also comes out through the style of the writing. If you have the chance to read the different tales in BEDTIME STORIES, they aren’t just eight erotically revised fairy tales; they vary in their styles as well. « The Courtship of Wali Daad » is very different from « Beauty and the Beast » for example. Yes, authors to develop our own styles, but we don’t have to stick with them; sometimes a particular story needs to be told in a particular style, one which may be different than what has been written before. I’d say THE SHIFTER ended up being one of these with its more youthful feel.

    …I am very glad you enjoyed it, despite the awkward start! (I’ll work on things like that.)

    ~Jean

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