Enough with the vampires already. Have our imaginations become so stunted that the only fantasy novels anybody wants to read nowadays are ones about eternally young people with fangs who can only lust after timid virgins? We call for a boycott of the bloodsuckers! Who's with us? Show your loyalty by amputating yourself from your dog-eared copy of Twilight and picking up the works of Brentwood's Sharon Shinn. For the past fifteen years, Shinn has crafted a substantial body of work, publishing a book a year, sometimes two. Her prose is exquisite, her characters charming, her fantasy worlds meticulously imagined. Best of all her books are the three that make up the Safe-Keeper's Series: The Safe-Keeper's Secret, The Truth-Teller's Tale and The Dream-Maker's Magic. With their medieval setting and characters with magical powers (though of the most ordinary kind: keeping confidences and revealing unpleasant truths), readers may be forgiven for at first mistaking Shinn's stories for fairy tales. But look beyond the magic and you'll find something even more extraordinary: A writer who gracefully describes all the joy and heartbreak of what it's like to be a strong, intelligent girl growing up — with nary a fang in sight. Shinn's next book, Gateway, is set in an alternate St. Louis and comes out later this month.
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