Summers at Castle Auburn
by Sharon Shinn
Publication Date: April 1st, 2001
Amazon/Barnes and Noble
As a child, Coriel Halsing spent many glorious summers at Castle Auburn with her half-sister-and fell in love with a handsome prince who could never be hers. But now that she is a young woman, she begins to see the dark side of this magical place...
A few months ago: I was walking through Powells and I discovered Summers At Castle Auburn sitting on the shelf. It was a used, cheap paperback and I'd heard great things about Sharon Shinn so I picked it up and brought it home.
Now I can say that was a very good decision. Good job past Emily!!! Unbeknownst to you, the book you just found is a new classic that you will treasure forever. The End.
Ha ha. My review style is going out the window. Anyway, if you couldn't tell already, I absolutely loved Summers at Castle Auburn. I would recommend it to ANY fellow book lovers but especially fans of Tamora Pierce, Shannon Hale, and other authors of those superb fantasies. It was such a cozy, yet intense read with so many shippy feels guys. SO MANY!
Oh! And I read this on the plane home from vacation and it made my 24 hour travel day almost bearable. MY HEART WAS HAPPY even though my brain and legs were dead. Okay I still need to start the actual coherent review part. Get it together Emily.
So... we start our story with fourteen year old Corie (Coriel) going on a hunting trip for the mythical aliora. It was such a fun adventure. Here we meet a lot of our main characters: Corie, Uncle Jaxon, Roderick, Kent, and the prince. However, we are also introduced to the horrible and immoral hunting of aliora, sentient creatures who humans imprison. Corie slowly starts realizes this hunting is different than hunting for food. I loved watching Corie grow up and mature. She was vibrant, funny, and came alive in my mind.
Also, from the beginning, Corie has an amazing relationship with her half sister Elisandra. Elisandra loves her little sister more than anything, and it shows. Also, Elisandra was such a strong character on her own. She's betrothed to an awful prince yet she remains both kind and strong. And I loved the twist with her in the end. Props to Shinn for making her such a real, admirable, and layered side character. Bravo.
The aliora were such a compelling element to the story. These fairy-like creatures were enslaved at the castle yet they remain kind and gentle. There were so many twists involving them but I was so glad when Corie realized she and her family were doing an unforgivable thing. The aliora were developed characters and I was so relieved with the ending they got.
The romance is slow burn. Like REALLY slow burn, like it's almost NOT there but it WAS. And I LOVED it so much. I was rooting for these two characters to get together from the beginning even though I thought there was no hope for my ship. Then it happened! I'm still deliriously happy with this development.
In conclusion, I suggest that all of you pick up Summers at Castle Auburn. You are in for a magical experience; some parts are light and fun while other parts are quite dark. Every element was perfect. I cannot wait to read more of Sharon Shinn. (I have her latest series already waiting on my bookshelves!)