Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Truth-Teller's Tale by Sharon Shinn

book cover

The Truth-Teller's Tale
by Sharon Shinn

ISBN-13: 9780670060009
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Viking Children's Books
Released: July 21, 2005

Source: Bought through

Book Description from Cover:
Innkeeper's daughters Adele and Eleda are "mirror twins"—identical twins whose looks reflect each other's—and their special talents are like mirrors, too. Adele is a Safe-Keeper, entrusted with hearing and never revealing others' secrets; Eleda is a Truth-Teller, who cannot tell a lie when asked a direct question. The residents of Merendon often turn to the twins— especially their best friend Roelynn Karro, whose strict, wealthy father is determined to marry her off to a prince she's never met. When the twins are 17, a handsome dancing-master and his apprentice come to stay at the inn, and thus begins a chain of romances and mistaken identity that will have readers utterly beguiled.

My Review:
The Truth-Teller's Tale is a young adult or middle-grade fantasy novel which will appeal most to girls. It's the second novel in a series, but you don't need to read the first book to understand this one. This one may spoil events in the first novel, though.

It's a charming novel, though I found it predictable. But it probably won't be predictable to a middle-grader. I was expecting a more complex story based on the "a Safe-Keeper told a secret, a Truth-Teller told a lie" beginning promise, but the moral choice was there at the end.

The story was a quick read, though it built slowly toward an action-filled ending. It was mostly about relationships--learning about the pitfalls of romantic relationships as well as loving people who are very different from you (like her twin sister and best friend). The characters were engaging, and the encounters they had due to their special skills were interesting.

I liked that the story touched on the drawbacks of getting physical (even "just" intense kissing). One couple cared about each other for years and were always true to each other, but there was one female (and two male) characters who were constantly falling in and out of love. Though our main character was rightly skeptical, it was implied that finding true love will immediately and completely break people of their habit of falling in love, growing bored with the person, and then looking elsewhere.

There was a minor amount of explicit bad language. There were no sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
What would you say if I told you there was a time a Safe-Keeper told a secret, a Truth-Teller told a lie, and a Dream-Maker did everything in her power to make sure a wish went astray? Believe what I tell you, for I am a Truth-Teller, and every word I say is true.

No sisters could ever have been less alike than my twin and I. To the casual observer, we looked exactly the same, for we both had wheat blonde hair and exceptionally pale skin, and the bones of our faces had an identical structure. But Adele was right-handed; she parted her hair on the right; he right eye was blue and her left eye was green. I was left-handed; I parted my hair on the left; my left eye was blue and my right eye was green. We each saw in the other the very same face, the very same figure, we saw in the mirror every morning.

Read more from chapter one.

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