restricted access The Shamer's War (review)
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Jenkins, Emily Love You When You Whine; illus. by Sergio Ruzzier. Foster/Farrar, 200632p ISBN 0-374-34652-6$15.00 Ad 2-4 yrs

In this fourth book of The Shamer Chronicles quartet (The Shamer's Daughter, BCCB 5/04, The Shamer's Signet BCCB 5/05, and The Serpent Gift, 9/06), Dina, Davin, and Nico return. Dina struggles with her fate, believing it to be inextricably tied to her genetic inheritance: of her mother's Shaming ability and her father's gift for deception and shaping dreams. Davin, haunted by memories of earlier torture and plagued with insecurity about previous mistakes, takes on too much responsibility for the lives of everyone around him. Nico faces the biggest challenge of the three: the only person who can quash the current brutal regime, he must give up the core element of his personality, a commitment to non-violence, if he is to succeed. As in the earlier novels, the mystery and tension are effectively heightened by frequently changing viewpoints: just as the reader is settling into Davin's quest to save his best friend, the next chapter focuses on Dina, hundreds of miles away, who is mired in a swamp. The connections between the protagonists and their seemingly divergent paths are made clearer through the interwoven stories; the details of each narrator's particular choices are overlaid with the universality of the pain and sacrifices in Kaaberbol's intricate fantasy world. Although readers will mourn the end of this powerful series, all of the prominent plot issues from the earlier novels are carefully resolved, and each character receives a proper send-off. It is to Kaaberbol's credit that the villains, complex and mysterious, will be missed as much as the heroic, though flawed, protagonists.