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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review: Shifted Perspective by J. Bridger

I hope everyone went out and bought Shifted Perspective when it came out, rather than waiting for me to post a review. Belated as it is...

I was first attracted to this story because, unlike most fantasies in which people can change into animals, this one is told from the perspective of someone who is not the top dog -- literally. Caleb is a late bloomer who only discovers his shifting ability in his last year of high school. Such a special power doesn't thrill him because he doesn't turn into a cool werewolf or a panther or an eagle or something fierce, but a Cocker Spaniel. It turns out that his shifter relatives also look down on him. Caleb has to undergo initiations, say goodbye to his purely human friends and even his human dad, and come to terms with his life being nothing like he planned when a series of murders means he must risk everything -- even his life.

The story comes in three parts: the discovery, the initiation, and the murder mystery. I felt the structure was a little odd, but by the end I realized it was necessary in order to set up the other books to come in the series. The resolution of the mystery turns out to be an interesting story about pushing the boundaries of what's allowed for these powerful shifters in the human world.

If you love dogs, this is the series for you. The culture of the shifters, with its ranks and its initiation methods, is based on the reality of dog dynamics. Caleb doesn't fit in to the brutality of a system dreamed up by werewolves, and even the most sensitive female readers will sympathize with such a sweet, earnest boy.