Shapechangers (Chronicles of the Cheysuli #1)
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Shapechangers (Chronicles of the Cheysuli #1)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  2,095 ratings  ·  75 reviews
They were the Cheysuli, a race of magical warriors gifted with the ability to assume animal shape at will. For centuries they had been allies to the King of Homana, treasured champions of the realm. Until a king's daughter ran away with a Cheysuli liege man and caused a war of annihilation against the Chaysuli race. Twenty-five years later the Chesyuli were hunted exiles i...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 7th 1984 by DAW
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John
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pippi Bluestocking
I wanted to like this book but I have to admit it: it was pretty bad. The prose in particular. However, I liked the setting and its potential, so I kept reading it mindless of the bad writing. I really really really felt the main female character had all that a strong female lead needs to kick some real ass, but...it just...dissolved. The three males, who all wanted her and all three kept patronising her and repeatedly threatening her with rape (the verb "force" must appear over 20 times) were u...more
Thomas
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Robin
This is a re-read of the first book in a series I absolutely love. Unfortunately, I do not like this book. I'm not sure if this is Roberson's first book (and subject to the First Novel uneven-ness that can happen) or if I'm just reading it again with older eyes. After all, this book was first published in 1984. I've read many, MANY books since 1984 so I have more to compare it to. A lot of life has been lived between 1984 and now too, so a person's entire frame of reference can switch focus. It...more
Welwyn Katz
I started this book at least three times, and finally gave it up. I felt the writing was awkward, uncertain, and the characters rather unpleasant. Because of this I didn't finish any of the Cheysuli books, though I have them all. What a waste. Sadly, I enjoyed Roberson's Tiger and Del series so much. I have since learned that the Cheysuli books were her first, or at least the first of her books to gain her some prominence. I have a first book; we all do. But I just couldn't find any life in this...more
Merilee
The first fantasy series I ever read. I loved them!

Looking back, I see how crudely they were written, Jennifer Roberson has definitely refined her writing style since then; but, all in all, it's a great series!

It's been 15 years since I first read the series... I still remember it fondly.



PG-13 : Overall Rating
PG-13 : Violence
PG-13 : Language
PG-13 : Sexual Content **

** Other potential parental warnings:
- There is premarital sex involved (but not in young teens; in adults)
Michelle
This book might have been decent if the protagonist hadn't been such a raging, irritable bitch.
Wendy Ward
Shapechangers is the compelling story of Alix, who learns that she is not a simple crofter's daughter as many thought, but a Cheysuli that possesses the Old Blood. The blood running through Alix's veins allows her to shapechange into any animal she chooses, making her the only female of her race able to do so. This makes her extremely important to her race and the prophecy the Cheysuli follow religiously. The fates of several men are also intertwined with Alix: Carillon, the prince of Homana, a...more
Mark
Aug 04, 2012 Mark rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: mine
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Juli D.
Shapechangers was a good attempt, for a first novel. Having read others of Ms. Roberson's titles, I can say those works far exceed this first, but Shapechangers was a good read. It has all the normal trappings one comes to expect from a Fantasy novel: A well-developed world, wizards, an overhealming mythology and history, strange creatures, humans, love, struggle, war, magic. Personally, I found the story of the Cheysuli and their struggle to remain a race through Shaine's qu'mahlin--and the sto...more
Cathy
I first read this trilogy as a teenager. I had just discovered fantasy novels and was looking for books with female protagonists. I remember loving the world of this book. People who could take animal form, special animal companions called Lir, princes, horses and lost princesses...I was hooked.

I was a little worried to reread this. What if I hated it now? What if it wasn't as good as I remembered? I'm happy to report that, although it's not quite as good as I remembered, it's still a pretty go...more
Victoria
I honestly don’t know how young I was when I first picked up this series - but it was quite a long time ago! It used to sit in my coveted over the bed shelf - reserved only for those titles that I could read and then immediately read all over again. But at least ten (maybe even more!) years have passed since I last picked up this series, and so I decided to re-read it for the umpteenth time.

First, I was struck by just how rough this first novel really is. I honestly don’t think though, that I ev...more
Frank Spinney
I was asked to recommend a few really good fantasy series that dealt with someone coming into power (royally or magically). I read the Cheysuli chronicles somewhere around 1993 when it first came out. That was 17 years ago. In describing the series I began to remember how much I loved this series and decided that it was time to revisit Homana and the magical warriors "The Cheysuli". If you like epic fantasy involving the struggle of good versus evil, shape shifters, magical warriors and ancient...more
Mikayla
I read this book for the first time when I was 14 or 15. The copy I had was an omnibus that had the first two books. I read both and as soon as I finished I flipped right back to the start and started it all over again. Usually I can't read a book more then once in 3 or 4 years. It's been about that long since I've picked up this book and as soon as I get home from my study abroad I'll be reading it again!
Char
This was okay. Not good enough, though to make me run to the next book in the series. THe portrayal of women in here doesn't sit right with me. There's a character that I think is supposed to be strong, and fight against the status quo of "women should do as they're told", but she isn't believeable to me. Maybe it's just that I find her to be insipid annoying either way.
h
Dec 17, 2009 h rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009, fiction, sff
plowed through this in a day - all the standard ingredients of a fantasy novel seem to be here. roberson overuses certain adjectives (although i think she does less of this in more recent books), i mean, really, "numbly" appeared as a description of the heroine three times in the first three chapters (and these are not long chapters). but despite this editorial nit-picking on my part, the pacing is good, the characters are not cardboard cutouts, and the heroine refuses to just sit at home and be...more
Kathy
After Tolkien, Jennifer Roberson's Chronicles of the Cheysuli is my favorite SciFi/Fantasy series. I was 17 when the first book was released and was hooked immediately. Alix is a strong, likable heroine. Her struggle to find her way resonated with me. The racial conflict between the magical bloodlines of Homana was integral to the plot and allowed the intelligent reader the opportunity to examine their own prejudice. Ms. Roberson created a richly detailed world, with multi dimensional characters...more
Leslie Wiederspan
It was not what I was expecting and kept me hooked the whole time. Alix is a great character, and the bond between her and Duncan is... odd. Odd but endearing. Cant wait to read the next!
Sarah
The concept of separate peoples torn apart by conflict in a fantasy world is nothing new, nor is the inclusion of a prophesy that demands the mingling of all races into one for the sake of the world. Roberson has taken this formula and shined it up nicely, though. Shapechangers! is a quick read and not overly taxing in terms of complexity or language, but it is thoroughly enjoyable and promises better to come in successive additions to the series. Her characters are not extremely deep, but they...more
Miriam
Alix has been raised as an ordinary country girl, but after she coincidentally becomes friends with a prince she is kidnapped by exiled shapeshifters and drawn into their struggle against oppression.

I enjoyed the adventure/magic aspects of the story but had some serious problems with the attitudes toward women and sexuality presented in Roberson's world-building. I couldn't feel too indignant on behalf of the shapechangers expulsion from the kingdom since they themselves were kidnapping women a...more
Richard Houchin
The Chronicles of the Cheysuli series is the first fantasy epic I read. In fact, it's one of the few series I read repeatedly, likely due to my young age and limited literary horizons.

Nevertheless, these books shaped my first views on philosophy, religion, sexuality, racism, and sexism. The responsible way Roberson handles these issues is inspiring and commendable.

On returning to read these books in later years, some of the characters and plot devices appear hackneyed and cliched, and some of t...more
Paula
I am rereading this after many years. Ms Roberson said this was one of the weaker books in the series. I can see in re-reading it that she was a young writer. That does not take away from the delightful romance, great characters, and STRONG women!! I happen to adore strong women characters. Plus honestly, don't you want to change your shape and have a lir!! Duh - who wouldn't. So pick it up for the first time or again. You won't be sorry. Fun and entertaining. Even my partner, and for those of y...more
Stacey
I think I've read this before, but if I did it was so long ago I didn't remember. A very satisfying story for a light read. I really enjoyed it. The character interaction infrequently felt a bit off, but not enough to ruin the good story. The plot runs swiftly and confidently throughout, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series!

Shapeshifters, magic, inter-species war, a strong female protagonist (when she's not being silly and acting impulsively, but that's some part of her charm), human...more
Carolyn
Maybe this gets 3.5 stars. I love stories about shapechangers or that deal with communicating with animals, and I liked the Cheysuli's struggle for equality, although the attitudes towards women in this book really bothered me. Over and over it is mentioned how the main character will be "forced" to bear them children, etc. While I know that things like that were a reality in certain cultures in the past, I don't really want the main characters of a book I'm reading to be like that. The protagon...more
Christine
Nov 29, 2008 Christine rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: teens and older
Recommended to Christine by: saw it in a bookstore
Shelves: have-read
This is about a race of people who can change shape to one animal form each. They support the throne, in fact, back in history they brought the king to power and supported him. They still do, but now they are feared and hunted because of their otherness. They are slaughtered indiscriminantly and must hide their nature or die. I have always been facinated by those who can change their shape and found this series very interesting. The setting is something like mideival Europe, but in a fantasy wor...more
Wilderquill
This series has a fond place in my fiction reading history. I'm re-reading the series and after getting through this first volume I remember why it was special. A fantasy novel with depth that many on the shelves today can't touch.
Knitwit Tarvin
This is the first book of one of my favorite series. I started reading it as a teen, and I've gone back to the books about every 10 years or so since. I'm now in my 40's, so it's time to return to these books. I still love them. They probably aren't as wonderful as I originally thought, but they still take me to a wonderful world of dynastic fantasy with a magical race that can take animal form. Plus they represent a comfort read to me. Love them!
Jessica
I do have a nerdy side that just loves fantasy books. This book was actually recommended to me by someone in high school and I thought I wouldn't like it. Now I own the whole series and read them all about once a year. If you ever heard of Animorphs this would be the equivalent for adults. The main character sucks you in right away. The first book is short so if you end up not liking it you didn't waste a lot of time. :)
Lisa
i read this novel in high school and looked for it again but it went missing from the local library. Just a few months ago i found it again and considering how bad my memory is i am surprised i remembered! That will tell those who know me the impact this story had. I am avidly playing catchup, nothing more exciting than finding a forgotten string!
Amie
I really am enjoying this series!! I found books 3 and 4 at a library 50 cent shelf and searched for a year for books 1 and 2. finally buying them new online. I wanted to get into another series with a rich colorfull world--something kin to the world i loved sooo much in Lord of the Rings!! I am not disappointed!!
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What's The Name o...: Book about two brothers who change shape (Solved) [s] 5 52 Apr 13, 2014 03:15PM  
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Jennifer Mitchell Roberson O'Green is an author of fantasy and historical literature. Roberson has lived in Arizona since 1957. She grew up in Phoenix, but in 1999 relocated to Flagstaff. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Northern Arizona University. Roberson had spent her final semester in England at the University of London. This enabled her to do indepth research at castles...more
More about Jennifer Roberson...
Sword-Dancer (Tiger and Del, #1) Sword-Singer (Tiger and Del, #2) Sword-Breaker (Tiger and Del, #4) Sword-Maker (Tiger and Del, #3) Daughter of the Lion (Chronicles of the Cheysuli, #6)

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