Books : reviews

Sharon Shinn.
Wrapt in Crystal.
Ace. 1999

Sharon Shinn.
Heart of Gold.
Ace. 2000

A scientist by nature… he used his rational powers of observation to examine more closely the privileges he was born to enjoy—and the people he was raised to despise.

A rebel at heart… she followed her fiercest passions in the struggle to overthrow a legacy of hate—one that had poisoned her family for generations.

On a planet divided… between rich and poor, strong and weak, intellect and feeling, only one thing could bring these two opposites together. A strictly forbidden desire.

For justice. For equality.

For each other…

Sharon Shinn.
Summers at Castle Auburn.
Ace. 2001

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 15 July 2013

Corie lives most of the year with her grandmother, a Wise Woman teaching her the ways of the herbs. But every summer her beloved Uncle Jaxon takes her to Castle Auburn, the home of her dead father’s family, including her half-sister Elisandra, and Lady Greta, her father’s wife. As a child, Corie loves Castle Auburn, including the presence of her sister’s betrothed, the dashing Prince Bryan, his cousin Kent, and the comforting aliora servants. But as she grow older, she notices things aren’t as perfect as she had always thought. Her sister is trapped in a betrothal to the unfaithful and unstable Bryan, the aliora are unhappy slaves, and she herself is being groomed for a political marriage she doesn’t want.

This is barely a fantasy in content: the aliora may be elf-like, and some of Corie’s potions may be magical, and that’s about it. However, it is most definitely a fantasy in tone, and makes for an interesting tale as all the convoluted plot threads are unravelled. One plot development is glaringly obvious from the start – the only suspense is wondering when it will occur – but there are enough other threads to keep you guessing up to the end. (Possibly the most fantastical part of all is that, despite Lady Greta’s insistence on Corie protecting her reputation, she has absolutely no problems when she consorts with various members of the guard on many occasions.)