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Quatrain [Mass Market Paperback]

Sharon Shinn
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: £4.81
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books; Reissue edition (Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441018475
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441018475
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 10.6 x 16.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 513,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Quatrain Bestselling author Shinn's Twelve Houses books have fascinated readers with their irresistible blend of fantasy, romance, and adventure. Here, she weaves compelling stories from the worlds created in her works "Flight, Blood, Gold," and "Flame." Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return to the worlds of Shinn 15 Jan 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fantasy and science fiction writer Sharon Shinn here provides a collection of four novellas.

All run a little over eighty pages, and are divided into shorter chapters so they're not one long narrative.

All take place in settings that have appeared in earlier works from the writer. But whilst they do on occasion reference those earlier works, they are all completely self contained and those who haven't read the earlier books will have no trouble getting into them.

The first story is called flight. This takes place on Samaria, a world of remote towns and farms and the occasional angel stronghold. The latter are winged humanoids who rule the planet. And to get into a relationship with one is the dream of many a young lady.

Salome lives on a remote farm, along with her niece whom she is bringing up. Salome isn't as pleased as everyone else when angels come to visit the farm because she has a history with them. And as a result she'd rather her niece didn't get involved with them.

But nobody can ever get what they want....

A tale of how grown ups are desperate to prevent the young from making the same mistakes that they did, even if the young won't listen to their advice. Also about past regrets and possible second chances.

The second story is called blood. This takes place on a world where two different types of humans live in and around a large city. Some have gold skin. Some have blue. The former lord it over the latter. Kerk is a young man who has come to the city to work, but also to find his mother, who left him many years ago. His search takes him into the blue areas of the city, and into close contact with one blue lady in particular.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful romantic fantasies 10 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
*4.5 stars*

I love good novellas - they're such a fun length, just enough to really enjoy a long, discrete story without all the complications of a novel. Quatrain is a collection of four novellas, each set in a different world that Shinn's novels have been set in. I had read the novels set in all those worlds before, but some of them I'd read SO long ago that I couldn't remember them in any detail. It didn't matter - these four stories stand alone perfectly, and the first three star heroines and heroes who don't (as far as I can recall!) appear in any of those linked novels.

I absolutely loved the first three novellas, especially "Blood". They're all the perfect blend of romantic fantasy that I most enjoy about Shinn's work, with wonderful world-building, great characters, smart issues (including some real darkness) and really well-earned, deeply-felt romance.

The fourth novella was my least favorite - it was a prequel to her MYSTIC AND RIDER series, starring the heroine of MYSTIC AND RIDER, and not only was it missing the romance element which I'd enjoyed in the other novellas (since Senneth's romance doesn't start until her own book begins!), but it felt slightly less complete and less perfectly structured than the other three novellas, mostly because of its prequel nature. Still, the characters were all very good, the issues in it were well-done, and I enjoyed reading it.

Despite my slight disappointment in the last novella, this is an absolutely wonderful collection. I'm so glad I bought it, and I'll definitely be re-reading the first three novellas again and again and again.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written collection of novellas 8 Oct 2009
By Ruth - Published on Amazon.com
Quatrain is a collection of four novellas, each one set in a different one of Sharon Shinn's worlds. Ranging from fantasy to science fiction, the stories take place in radically different societies, but each novella is a different look at a person trying to find their own place in a world that is not to their liking. Each main character ends up examining their own priorities and their desire to find love and happiness in less than ideal situations. The varied responses to those dilemmas are as different as the characters and the worlds they are set in.

In Quatrain, Sharon Shinn deals sensitively with topics of religion, abuse, intolerance and ethnicity while never letting the issues overwhelm the stories. Shinn is a master wordsmith, evoking lush full-blown characters and fantastical landscapes with a spare prose that is breathtaking in its simplicity. The only story that falters is Gold, a fairly standard fairy tale which falls flat. While beautifully written, the story lacks originality and the characters are two-dimensional. It failed to elicit any emotional connection, instead feeling like a retread of every damsel in distress Disney fairy tale I've ever read. It was insipid, rather than inspired.

However, the other stories all sing with life. I was particularly intrigued by the varied worlds in the other novellas. Flight is set in the world of Sharon Shinn's Samaria novels, populated and ruled by very non-angelic angels that can intercede with deity to protect the people they rule over. However, when very powerful beings with unnaturally high charisma and amazing singing voices need human girls to reproduce, the help with deity comes at a cost. Blood is set in the same world as her novel Heart of Gold, a world that is starting to be racked by cultural conflicts between two very different societies, one matriarchal and one patriarchal. Shinn avoids the overdone themes of gender stereotypes and the evils of patriarchy, and instead delicately explores the differences of the people within a culture, as well as the differences between cultures. The final story in the volume is Flame, a tale of a mystical firestarter who is ostracized by her people even as they call on her for aid. Set in the same world as Shinn's Twelve Houses novels, it is a well-imagined tale of loneliness and belonging.

I highly recommend Quatrain to all young adult and adult readers who like sensitive, beautiful writing with a touch of romance. I know that I will be seeking out more of Sharon Shinn's novels, especially Heart of Gold and those set in her Samaria world after being introduced to them here in such a beautiful manner.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four unforgettable chances to revisit old favorites 10 Oct 2009
By Elaine C McTyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Sharon Shinn has written four delightful stories set in her own wonderful worlds. They give us a chance to go back to the settings of our favorite books.

From Castle Autumn we get to visit Alora, and finally learn why it is so wonderful to those who are lucky enough to find it.

We also visit Gillengaria where we have a visit with Senneth. The Twelve Houses are a delight and I enjoyed another chance to visit.

We have a story of the Gulden, the Indigo and the Albino. A gulden boy searches for his mother. One of the women who escaped the marriage that held her to an abuser.

The archangels have not changed and we have a short story of Raphel's excesses being exposed. The story is short and sweet, of love lost and found.

Four stories and four wonderful adventures in our favorite worlds. Very good, I read it at one sitting, and was sorry when it ended.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag of goodies 29 Oct 2009
By Ima Bukwerm - Published on Amazon.com
First, I should mention that I'm not exactly an unbiased reviewer. I have read every book by Sharon Shinn and loved most all of them. With that said, I was delighted to hear that four new stories, each set in one of her amazing worlds, were to be released. It was an absolute pleasure to be immersed in her writing again, but not all four stories were on par with her novels.
1. FLIGHT is set in her Samarian universe. A tale of betrayal and long-lost romance. Believable characters and a twist ending will leave every reader satisfied.
2. BLOOD (from the Heart of Gold world) was my favorite short story, even though I didn't much like the corresponding novel itself. Kerk, a young man from a patriarchal society, arrives at a foreign city in search of a mother who abandoned him as a child.
3. GOLD (Summers at Castle Auburn) surprisingly disappointed. This story was bland and unoriginal. The characters had all the originality of cardboard cut-outs. Princess Zara is the stereotypical lovely, headstrong princess with an impossible low-class love. Yawn.
4. FLAME (from the Gillengaria series) was merely pleasant. An entertaining read about the mishaps of the fire-mystic Senneth.

Overall, this collection is well worth your money if you're a dedicated Sharon Shinn fan. If not, I'd recommend her novels instead of these short stories. These stories can stand alone, but without the rich context provided by her novels, they could be hard to understand, let alone appreciate.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Novellas Let Readers Revisit Sharon Shinn's Worlds 27 Nov 2011
By Anne M. Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Four Novellas Let Readers Revisit Sharon Shinn's Worlds

Sharon Shinn has a genius for creating in her books interesting
cultures and not just interesting characters, but entire communities
of interconnected people. In each of these four novellas she revisits one
of the worlds she has created. I wouldn't suggest starting with these,
as a new reader would miss lots of context. But for fans of her
creations, these are terrific. I only give it four stars because it's
not something anybody can pick up and get five stars worth out of; for
Shinn fans it's definitely worth five stars!

"Flight", which is presented first, is from Shinn's "Angel" series, and
takes us back to the time of the first book, when Raphael is Archangel.
This seemed a bit dark, to me, which may be why so many readers have
found it the least satisfactory of the novellas. It did make me long
to reread the whole series, however.

"Blood" returns us to the world of "Heart of Gold", where there are
Indigos and Gulden, with brightly different skin colors and radically
different cultures, and uneasy relations between them. Set twenty
years after Kitrini and Nolan meet in "Heart", Shinn uses the story of
Jalci, Kitrini's niece, and Kerk, a Gulden fatherless male, to open up
further developments in this world, as people seek for options beyond
those determined by their cultures.

"Gold" also takes us down a generation in the world of "Summers at
Castle Auburn", where an army is coming to attack and the heirs must
be hidden far away. The princess is sent to Alora, where the formerly
imprisoned Aliora live in what is basically fairyland. What
interested me most was how the princess, at first resolute in
maintaining her identity and purpose, is gradually worn away to become
like the hedonistic fairies, succumbing to pleasure and indolence.
The love story was predictable but not annoying, at least to me, and
Alora was wondrous.

"Flame" was last, set in the "Twelve Houses" series, mostly about Senneth,
the mystic of fire, with a little Kirra and Donal. It seemed to have been
set only a few years after the end of the action in the series. People
still fear and hate mystics even as the kingdom depends upon them. The
King's Riders make only a brief appearance at the end. But Senneth gets
to do lots of fire stuff and make a brief trip back to Lirreth.

I enjoyed all of these books, especially "Blood" and "Flame", and I
only wish that Shinn would write much more. How about a novella from
the world of "General Winston's Daughter"? But this is definitely not
the place to start reading her books.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I reject Ms. Shin's reality on "gold" and substitute it with my own. 1 Aug 2011
By Melissa - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I got this book because i read that it was going to contain a story set in the same world as Summers at Castle Auburn. I can safely say that this book was an excellent read minus "Gold" which was said story. The story is the story of Princess Zara the daughter of Coriel and Kent from SACA. I was extremely disappointed with the character and plot. Zara came off as annoying, bratty, and air headed with no redeeming features.

In a way, Gold is going to be more well liked if the person hadn't read the original story. SACA is one of my favorite books of all time and i just can't like it. So many things didn't match up with the original story. (Males become kings and not females) and such. Plus i refused to believe Kent and Coriel would raise such a air headed, self absorbed, whiny brat. Zara was more of Bryan's child than theirs. I had to do in the words of mythbusters "reject Sharon's reality and substitute it with mine" in order to keep myself liking the original still. In my mind Zara marries Orlain and goes away, another non-mentioned son becomes king, marries a strong and smart princess, and things go on happily ever after. Plus i give Matthew a long lost returned love. ^

I would highly recommend people to read this book for the other three stories though. They were all beautifully written and drew you in.
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