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Shapechanger's Song by Jennifer Roberson
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Shapechanger's Song

by Jennifer Roberson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Chronicles of the Cheysuli (Omnibus 1-2)

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423535,373 (3.66)16

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Showing 5 of 5
One of my favourite series from when I first started focusing on reading fantasy. I especially love the covers on the Corgi (UK) editions. I bought some of the new omnibus editions to fill the gaps, since I didn't have all the books in the series. Today I finally took Shapechanger's Song (ISBN 978-0-88677-976-4) off the TBR pile to give myself a treat, only to find that my copy starts on page 33, halfway through the second chapter. So I have no beginning but pages 33-64 are duplicated :0(

ETA: Fortunately, I have a copy of the first book by itself, so my review is of that one.

1. Shape Changers

( First of 8 : Chronicles of the Cheysuli series. Fantasy, high fantasy)

This is the first book in the dynastic saga of the Cheysuli race and their drive to fulfil a prophecy that will see them restored to their full blood rights including throne of Homana.

Alix, a crofter's daughter, and Carillon, prince of Homana and heir to the Mujhar, are captured by a Cheysuli warrior and his wolf. Carillon's uncle, Shaine the Mujhar, declared a qu'mahlin (purge) of the Cheysuli race twenty five years ago and they are now considered demons in Homana. The Cheysuli men are warriors and share a bond with an animal familiar (lir) which allows them to take the shape of an animal of the same type as their lir. As war between Homana and neighbouring Solinde and Atvia looms, Carillon is allowed to return home but Alix remains with the Cheysuli where she finds a new life and learns how her tahlmorra (or fate) is intertwined with theirs and their prophecy.

I read this when it first came out and absolutely loved it. When I re-read it recently, I found it not quite as magical. However, rereading it again now, without the expectations inherent in rereading an all-time favourite, I see why I was enchanted with it the first time around. Of course, that frisson of danger, not knowing what is coming next, is gone, but I still thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and looked forward to getting back to it whenever I took a break.

Having said that, though, despite the feisty heroine, I wasn't thoroughly comfortable with women's role in this society and I did think Alix, at about eighteen years of age, is a bit of an idiot at times. Quite a few times, actually, but she does get things done. I thought the sibling mock-rivalry was nicely done.

Family tree (there's a bit of a spoiler, but that's revealed in the first 1/8th of the book anyway, so not a big one

                                ___l___
                                |          |
                          Shaine   Fergus
                                |          |
      Raissa   Hale   Lindir   Carillon
|____| |____| |____|
    |          |        |
Duncan   Finn   Alix
hawk     wolf
(Cai)    (Storr)

4.5 stars ****

2. The Song of Homana

(Second of 8; Chronicles of the Cheysuli. Fantasy, high fantasy.)

Warning : spoilers for the first book ahead!

This is the second book of the Chronicles of the Cheysuli and is told in the first person by Carillon, exiled Mujhar (king) of Homana. We pick up the story five years after the end of the previous book, as Carillon is returning from exile to reclaim his kingdom from Bellam of Solinde and Tynstar, the sorceror of the Ihlini. With him comes Finn, his Cheysuli liegeman.

Their plan is to recruit an army, starting with the Cheysuli, the last clan of which currently resides in the neighbouring country of Ellas. The Cheysuli, the men of whom are warriors who each share a bond with an animal familiar which allows them to change shape to a similar animal, are invested in seeing Carillon on the throne of Homana as that will be a part of seeing the prophecy of their race fulfilled. So we follow Carillon as he makes allies, fights battles and discovers enemies on his path to the throne. He is also accompanied by a bard, Lachlan, observing on behalf of king Rodri of Ellas and 'The Song of Homana' is used to inspire the resistance.

To be honest, I found this book a little slower than the first. [Shapechangers] sets up the world for the next seven books, but could almost be read as a stand-alone - if you didn't want to see how (or whether) the prophecy is fulfilled - whereas this book fills in more of the story. It does pick up in the second half, when we see more of the characters rather than the battles. Still good and, I think, innovative for its time.

                                ___l___
                                |          |
                          Shaine   Fergus - Gwynneth
                                |          |_________ |
      Raissa   Hale   Lindir           |          |
|____| |____| |____|        Tourmaline   Carillon
    |          |          |
Duncan   Finn     Alix
hawk  |   wolf       | 'old blood'
(Cai)  |   (Storr)   |
         |_________|
Kinspirit

A short story about Rowan and Carillon's meeting as prisoners in the Atvian war camp, told in the third person from Rowan's point of view.

3.5**** ( )
  humouress | May 3, 2017 |
Shapechangers: The first time I read these books, it was Christmas time, 1991 and I was 11. At the time, Alix was my favorite character, I was entranced by the romance between Alix and Duncan, and more than a little disappointed to find out that the second book wasn't directly about the two of them. There were a lot of things about the writing and characters I think I missed because I was so young... rereading it now (at 30) I still like it, but I don't find I have nearly the same attachment to those two (in fact, they almost get on my nerves at times). The writing is still more to my taste than 90% of what's out there in fantasy fiction, but now that I've read a good portion of the rest of her work, I can also see how much *better* her writing has gotten over the years. Sometimes it feels a little bit like she's trying too hard to sound "fantasy-ish" - and Alix and her reactions to things and predicatments are kind of repetitive. Overall though, it's still one of my favorite books/series and will always be near and dear to my heart.

Song of Homana: ( )
  cybermathwitch | Feb 6, 2014 |
The first book in this series is my all time favorite book. I have read it many many times. Jennifer Roberson has masterfuly created a world where you can be hunted down and killed because of the things you can do. These books are a sweeping tale of several generations of a family and their struggle for survival and their sturggle to fulfill a prophesy that could save them all from destruction. This in my opinion is one of the best fantasy series ever written. ( )
  lexi1022 | Apr 24, 2010 |
This omnibus of the Chronicles of the Cheysuli contains Shapechangers and The Song of Homana. The eight book series (or four omnibus volumes) spans generations of a people whose prophecy it is to unite two magical races and four warring realms.

Shapechangers introduces the reader to the Cheysuli, a magical race of people who each bond with a special animal and are gifted with the ability to take on that animal's shape. As a race, they are banned by the king, feared and killed by the populace, and fighting for survival.

In Song of Homana, the Cheysuli fight a war to put a man on the throne who is grandson to the King, but friend to their race.

Each book in the epic tells a unique story in its own right, while the whole builds to prophetic conclusion. The settings and characters are distinct personalities in their own right and fun to read. Roberson weaves together action, adventure, royal bloodlines, and love stories to tell a history of a people in a compelling manner. I highly recommend the entire series. ( )
  imayb1 | Jul 24, 2007 |
I read this book because Like shape-shifters and went on to read the entire series (original printing) The only Fantasy series I actually read all of. ( )
  thewere8472 | Mar 29, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jennifer Robersonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gilbert, YvonneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Shapechangers- For all those who believe in fantasy, and the special few who believed in me.
The Song of Homana - To Marion Zimmer Bradley, for daydreams and realities
&
Besty Wollheim, for making mine better.
First words
She sat by the creek, half-hidden by lush grasses. (Shapechangers)
I peered through the storm, trying to see Finn. (The Song of Homana)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0886779766, Mass Market Paperback)

Shapechangers

They were the Cheysuli, a race of magical warriors gifted with the ability to assume animal shape at will. For centuries they had been allies to the King of Homana, treasured champions of the realm. Until a king’s daughter ran away with a Cheysuli liege man and caused a war of annihilation against the Cheysuli race. Twenty-five years later the Cheysuli were hunted exiles in their own land, feared for their sorcery, their shapechanging.

This is the story of Alix, the daughter of that ill-fated union between Homanan princess and Cheysuli warrior, and her struggle to master the call of magic in her blood, and accept her place in an ancient prophecy she cannot deny.

The Song of Homana

For five long years the land of Homana had been strangling in the grasp of a usurper king—its people ravaged by strife, poverty and despair; its magical race, the Cheysuli, forced to flee or face extermination at the hands of their evil counterparts, the sorcerous Ilhini.

The time had come for Prince Carillon, Homana’s rightful ruler, to return from exile with his Cheysuli liege man, free his land from the evil domination of the tyrant Bellam and his villainous magicians, restore the Cheysuli to their rightful position of grace, and claim his birthright. To do this, he would not only have to raise an army, but overcome the fear and prejudice of an ignorant population and answer the call of a prophecy he never chose to serve!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:04 -0400)

"The Chronicles of Cheysuli" is the sprawling saga of the exiles, and return, of a warrior race of shapechangers, whose magical odyssey begin in these two novels together in one volume: "Shapechangers" and "The Song of Homana".

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