Shifters Stand (Changing Times Book 3)

by Shaun L Griffiths

Synopsis

High in the mountains, Carter, Vin and Naz are on a mission to retrieve the Crystal that endows its possessor with incredible power. Caught in a trap, the Crystal falls into the hands of the apes and is on its way to the Evil One. Kerri sets off on a mission to first rescue her friends Carter, Naz and Vin, and then to prevent the Crystal falling into the wrong hands. The shape-shifters must form an uneasy alliance to try to save their world.

Theme of the Book

At one point in the story, Ben says to Salli, “You’re not gonna survive this nor defeat Him with hate in your heart.” The themes of comradeship, teamwork, loyalty, and self-sacrifice are constant throughout the story. Each character is ready to sacrifice him or herself to the good of the community.

What I Liked About the Story

Shifters Stand begins with action and adventure and never stops. There is enough action in the book to satisfy any young adult – or even adult – reader. But this is not simply battle for the sake of blood and gore. It is battle for a world and for the citizens in it. There is plenty of fighting, but it is fighting for a cause: for good, for friends and comrades, for an entire way of life.

The reader will meet some wonderful characters. There are Snowbears Vin and Naz, the Special Forces or SAS of the world. Despite their martial abilities, both are also sensitive, loyal and caring. There is the Mountain Lion Sonny, a renegade and a traitor, but still the reader will feel some sympathy for him at the end. The Hounds, Kerri, Carter, Queen Lulu, her mother Salli, and Casey display courage and loyalty throughout.

But the character of Kerri is the strongest in the book. Kerri, despite her almost supernatural abilities, is still a typical young woman with her own fears, desires and needs. By her actions in her mission to rescue her friends, Kerri serves as a model for all young people showing that it is possible to overcome weakness when the cause is important enough. The reader will watch Kerri grow and change through the story and will end by caring for her and wondering what her future will bring.

The idea of shape shifting characters is not new, but Mr. Griffiths manages to make the shifts believable by never neglecting the special abilities of the animals the humans become. Kerri and Carter, who shape shift into hounds, possess an incredible sense of smell. Sonny, the mountain lion, has superb vision and hearing. By keeping these natural advantages, Mr. Griffiths turns a magical process into a nearly natural one.

What I Didn’t Like About the Story

Coming into the Changing Times series in the third book is not the best way to approach the saga. Although the author gives the reader enough information to follow the plot and the characters, some information is missing. This is information that probably formed the basis of the first or second volumes.

For example, what was the event that caused the Evil One to become so evil? We learn in this book that he had been rejected by Queen Lulu’s mother Salli. But is that enough of a motivation? There must be more but Shifters Stand does not tell us.

We also miss details about the workings of the world. What is the difference between Doorways and Gateways and how did they come to exist? What is the role of the three books? Once they were brought together, what happened? I assume that these and other questions would be answered by reading the series from the beginning, but it would have been nice for readers who missed the first two books to have some background knowledge.

Final Say

Shifters Stand should appeal to most young adult readers. It has everything a fantasy fan wants in a novel: a theme of good versus evil, wonderfully believable characters, action, adventure, and a satisfying ending. It will also appeal to adult fantasy fans as it is sophisticated enough not to be childish. Overall, Mr. Griffiths has created an amazing world and told an excellent story.

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