Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review: The Shapeshifter's Secret

I received an ARC of "The Shapeshifter's Secret" by Heather Ostler via NetGalley -- to be published by Cedar Fort Inc on 06/12/12.


Author: Heather Ostler 

Julia is finally discovering what–not who–she is.

Like any sixteen-year-old, Julia's used to dealing with problems. From her overprotective father to her absent mother to a teacher who definitely has it in for her. But everything changes when Julia's reactions become oddly vicious and angry---more animal than human. This action-packed adventure has it all: humor, romance, and a plot that will keep you guessing to the very last page.


Harry Potter fans might like this (or not).

I'm thinking that the author is a big fan of the Harry Potter series. The setting and characters are like an unpolished ripoff draft of "The Sorcerer's Stone/Chamber of Secrets".

The setting is in a school castle and they can only reach it thru a portal. The theme is about a certain ancient artifact. There is also magic, enchanted items and transforming people. There is a secret room and some rooms are guarded by statues. The heroine has a trusty, know-it-all sidekick and a best friend. The said know-it-all and the best friend are always bickering. Sounds familiar?


I liked how the writing didn't drag on. On the first half of the novel, although I fell asleep, was direct to the point. It was like the author couldn't wait to write the part about Ossai. The last half was filled with rich descriptions.

EDIT 03/16/12: I forgot to mention this earlier, but I commend the author for providing great descriptions on the transformation process. Those descriptions provided clear images on how the shapeshifting actually happened. I liked how the author actually took the time to give detailed explanations pertaining to the physical, emotional, and mental state of the shapeshifter.


The beginning of this book was a bit unbearable for me. The heroine spent so much time thinking and talking about a certain boy, and he wasn't even the main love interest. Sometimes, I felt like slapping her face and telling her to "get a grip".

I literally fell asleep during the first half of this book. Yes, it's BORING and very predictable. I kept winning guessing bets against myself and that is not good.

Mystery and action were almost non-existent.

There was a car chase and a sword fighting scene that happened so fast -- seriously, blink and you'll miss it. Oh and the mystery? Well, there was a poor attempt at one, but even the dumbest house elf would've guess it in 3 seconds flat.

Since almost all characters in the book are werecats, it would've been nice to see some action every now and then. But what the author gave us are boring class lectures, an old library, and some background fighting.

I didn't buy the romance in the book. There was a vague love triangle, an AWOL (well, most of the time anyway) male lead and an underdeveloped love story. To be honest, the story could do without the overall cheesiness.

The characters were introduced in such a, for the lack of better words, boring manner. There was so much potential for character development but the author didn't use it. For example, minor characters like Celeste and Melanie, they could have been meaner to Julia as the story progressed. Or Camilla, there was so much potential in this character --  sadly, the only out of the ordinary she did is to get involve in a cat fight that ALMOST happened. Sorry to say this, but I didn't sympathize with any of the characters.

The #1 thing that bothered me the entire time I was reading this book was....


The author can't seem to make up her mind. I know this is an ARC, but for goodness sake, can you not make this detail confusing? Or is there some magical hair dye that I'm not aware of?

On page 98, we see this:


Thirty feet below stood two people, a small brunette, and a tall dark hair boy.

And then on page 100:

... the scene of Caleb and the smitten blonde girl replayed over and over in her head.

I thought, okay, maybe she really is blonde. Then on page 187, we see this:

Camilla tucked a strand of limp, brown hair behind her ears looking irritated.

I'm sorry but for a detail-oriented gal like me -- what the heck is the real color of Camilla's hair?

There! I said it. Moving on...

I'd like to mention some grammar mistakes, but they are so small that it didn't bother me.

For example, on page 105:

"Why are there so plants in this room?" -- It should be "Why are there so many plants in this room?"

Well, that's it!

I'll be reading the sequel, though I will be EXPECTING better scenes and dialogues.



  1. I just got this book as an ARC because it sounded like it could be really good. Sorry to see some things bothered you about it. Unlikely, but hopefully they've fixed it up a bit since you've read it? I'll keep my fingers crossed since I have to read this, haha! Anyway, thanks for the review.

    1. Hi Linny! I really do hope they fix those details before publishing the book. It would be a mess if they don't. I sent my review to the publisher, so hopefully... It's still a fun read, I guess!