Friday, July 11, 2008

Review: _Summers at Castle Auburn_ by Sharon Shinn

Growing up is a hard part for young people. Trying to understand the world of adults is difficult enough without having to deal with politics. Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn tells the story of a young girl navigating her way through such a fantasy world. The book is an entertaining read due to the setting, characters and plot.

First, the setting helps to keep the book entertaining by creating a realistic sense of place. Set in a Medieval like kingdom of different provinces, the central power of the realm is at Castle Auburn. A regent keeps the kingdom running until the young prince comes of age. Within the kingdom there is a large forest inhabited by the Aliora, a magical people that resemble fairies. The setting is brought to reality my Ms. Shinn’s wonderful descriptions.

Next the characters in the book makes it entertaining for readers. Coriel is the main character who tells the story. She is fourteen and an illegitimate member of the nobility, living with her grandmother and training to be a healer. Spending her summers with her half sister at Castle Auburn, Corie comes of age around court intrigue and romance. Kent is the son of the regent. He tries to keep the prince from causing scandals for the kingdom. His kind nature and maturity throughout the story helps Corie grow into a strong, independent woman. Ms. Shinn brings the characters to life with snappy dialogue and action.

In the end, the book remains entertaining due to the plot, which keeps the story moving. The story begins with Coriel going on a hunt with her uncle Jaxon to catch Aliora. Corie learns of the Aliora queen and her uncle’s obsession with catching the queen. Every summer. Corie returns to the castle a little older, with more skills as a healer and learns more about life. Watching Corie grow with each new visit keeps the plot going to a satisfying end. Ms. Shinn weaves a good story with interesting twists to the plot.

Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn is a fun read. The setting, characters and plot combine into an entertaining Fantasy book. Ms. Shinn is a talented author who provides fun and thought provoking stories for readers. Her talent grows with each new book.

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