The Shamer’s Daughter: Recommended for the better sequel

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Lene Kaaberbol The Shamer's DaughterThe Shamer’s Daughter by Lene Kaaberbol

The Shamer’s Daughter is in itself a pleasant little story that moves along well and has at its core an extremely intriguing concept that here is unfortunately not fully explored, but the good news is that while The Shamer’s Daughter is an ok read, its sequel, The Shamer’s Signet, is a much stronger book, well-rewarding the reader who begins the series.

“Shamers” have the gift of, as one might guess, shaming. To look into a Shamer’s eyes is to look into a mirror of your soul, revealing all that you have to feel guilty about. It’s no surprise, therefore, that few people look into a Shamer’s eyes unless compelled by law (Shamer’s are used to confirm guilt or innocence in the social system). Dina’s mother is an experienced Shamer called upon by those around her for matters of dispute, feared but respected. Ten-year-old Dina has inherited her mother’s gift and for her it is a cause of isolation since none of her like-aged peers want anything to do with her (imagine the shameful things you did as a child).

When Dina’s mother is kidnapped by Lord Drakan (the name alone would have clued her into his evil intent you’d think, not to mention the not-so-tame dragons he keeps below his castle), Dina must rise to the challenge of saving her mother, solving a royal murder, preventing the execution of an innocent man, and escaping herself from Drakan’s clutches.

The story moves along relatively well. It’s a quick read for the most part, with a few places that lag and a few too-contrived scenes. If Dina acts well past her age, it’s a flaw easily overlooked. The biggest disappointment is how little is done with the potentially powerful idea of Shaming — Kaaberbol skirts around the edges but never really fully explores the idea’s potential drama, leaving the story feeling a bit flat. It isn’t dull, but it doesn’t have much spark to it — the kind of book you’ll finish but wouldn’t strongly recommend. I’m glad, however, to have waited to review it until the reading the second one, as Shamer’s Signet is much stronger in story and character.

So while I’d give only a tepid recommendation to Shamer’s Daughter as a stand-alone book, as an introduction into a series, I recommend it much more enthusiastically. Read The Shamer’s Daughter and enjoy it, but move on quickly to The Shamer’s Signet for a more rewarding read. Recommended, though more as a stepping stone into the better sequel.

Lene Kaaberbol The Shamer Quartet: 1. The Shamer's Daughter 2. The Shamer's Signet 3. The Serpent Gift 4. The Shamer's WarLene Kaaberbol The Shamer Quartet: 1. The Shamer's Daughter 2. The Shamer's Signet 3. The Serpent Gift 4. The Shamer's WarLene Kaaberbol The Shamer Quartet: 1. The Shamer's Daughter 2. The Shamer's Signet 3. The Serpent Gift 4. The Shamer's WarLene Kaaberbol The Shamer Quartet: 1. The Shamer's Daughter 2. The Shamer's Signet 3. The Serpent Gift 4. The Shamer's War

Published in 2000. Dina has unwillingly inherited her mother’s gift: the ability to elicit shamed confessions simply by looking into someone’s eyes. To Dina, however, these powers are not a gift but a curse. Surrounded by fear and hostility, she longs for simple friendship. But when her mother is called to Dunark Castle to uncover the truth about a bloody triple murder, Dina must come to terms with her power―or let her mother fall prey to the vicious and revolting dragons of Dunark.

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BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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