Monday, June 25, 2012

The Shape of Desire by Sharon Shinn

I have pretty much loved everything I've ever read by Sharon Shinn, from her Twelve Houses fantasies to the Angel series, as well as a couple of stand alone novels, but I guess it was only a matter of time before she disappointed me. The Shape of Desire turns out to be a very thinly paranormal paranormal romance. And you know how much I despise romance novels.

Maria Devane has been involved with a man named Dante since she was in college. Dante is a shape-shifter, whose shifting is not really under his control, so he turns into a random animal of his approximate body weight at irregular intervals, which are gradually growing longer and more frequent, so that, fifteen years later, he is only human for three or four days at a time, and then gone for several weeks, as he roams the wilds in his animal shape.

Maria has never told anyone about Dante and her love affair, not even her family or coworkers. When one of her coworkers is being victimized by her abusive husband, Ritchie, and there is a confrontation between he and Dante, and then Ritchie turns up dead, later, mauled by some unidentified wild animal, Maria fears that her lover is to blame. A very mild tension builds in this book over whether he will be found out, and what will happen to the two of them.

Mostly, the whole story reads like an cross between Sex and the City and The Office, without the humor, and the final "reveal" of the killer is pretty anticlimactic. I certainly hope Shinn returns to her strengths, soon!

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