Monday, March 03, 2008

Summers at Castle Auburn, by Sharon Shinn

As an illegitimate daughter of a noble, Coriel (Corie) grows up spending just her summers at the Castle Auburn and the rest of the year living as a peasant. This book covers only her summers over the course of her coming of age. She starts out very young and naive. She is infatuated with an arrogant and narcissistic young prince and totally oblivious to the slavery of the Aloria that is happening right under her nose. Corie shares friendships with her half sister Elisandra and the prince's cousin Kent during her summers. Eventually Corie loses her naivety and gains great moral purpose. By the last summer, she makes a decision that will forever exclude her from her posh summer existence. Corie goes back to her peasant life and finds she no longer fits in there either. At this point the happy, but not unexpected ending happens and she lives happily ever after.

One of the things I really liked about this book was that it was told not only using Corie's viewpoint, but in a way that showed her naivety and maturity as the book progressed. For example, in the beginning of the novel, Corie talks about the Aloria as if they are exotic animals, but by the end she recognizes them as an evolved form of humans with thoughts and feelings.

I will admit that while sometimes Corie's ignorance drove me a little crazy, it was nice that she did finally grow up into a moral and respectable young lady. I will admit though that I was unhappy with how the story resolved for Elisandra. (Can't say more about that without spoilers...)

All in all, I'd recommend this novel along with every other Sharon Shinn novel I've read as being worth the read.

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