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The Shape of Desire (Shifting Circle #1)

3.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,003 Ratings  ·  233 Reviews
For 15 years Maria Devane has been desperately, passionately in love with Dante Romano. But despite loving him with all of her heart and soul, Maria knows that Dante can never give all of himself back—at least not all the time. Every month, Dante shifts shape, becoming a wild animal. During those times, he wanders far and wide, leaving Maria alone. He can't choose when he ...more
Audiobook, Audible Unabridged, 12 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Audible Frontiers (first published 2012)
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Apr 05, 2012 Ruth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 10, 2015 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
I had read several negative reviews of this book and was hoping that the early readers had overlooked something, but I'm afraid I have to agree with the nay-sayers. This is a disappointing sub-par effort for the author of the wonderful Samaria and Mystic & Rider series. The heroine pines away for her shape-shifting lover, but Shinn never makes a case for why Dante is worth sacrificing almost everything else in Maria's life. She works, she comes home and waits for Dante, he returns every few ...more
Sep 29, 2012 new_user rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sookie fans
Slow, yes, but Sharon Shinn's Shape of Desire does charm by combing emotion and more, by offering insights into life, human nature, and stuff.

Desire's title totally misleads, romance readers will agree. Shinn's never very explicit, but she writes relationships with substance, maturity, and tension aplenty. She always writes with an eye to flawed human nature and social realities, e.g. approaching an essentially adulterous relationship from a compassionate, humanist perspective rather than as hum
This book was sadly,disappointing. Did Sharon Shinn really write this??? The author of The Tweleve Houses created this boring and unimaginative story? I am a big fan of her writing but this book fell flat. I was constantly waiting for something to happen. After reading this book all I learned was that
1. Maria LOVES Dante
2. Dante and his family are shape shifters
the end.
Also, this might have been just me, but until it was mentioned Marie was in her 30's, I had thought she was a teen, maybe a col
A lackluster read. I admit I was disappointed as soon as I heard that the latest work from Shinn had a contemporary setting with paranormal elements, but I picked it up anyway. Reading it confirmed my first thought, that while her style is fine in beautifully quiet fantasy stories with crescendoing emotions, it doesn't lend itself to this particular genre.

I felt distant from Maria from the first few pages, where she demands a kiss from a newly returned lover and makes it clear how obsessively in
Kevin Xu
May 10, 2012 Kevin Xu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The reason I read the book is because I saw the girl on the cover and her family at a Barnes and Nobles buying the book.

This book overall was not that good, a normal story about a woman's love for a boy who is a shapeshifter, who she has been with since college for 15 years. The boyfirend is basically a werewolf that is killing women in the area.

I liked this a lot more because it is set in the Missouri, mostly in St. Louis County where I grew up, and went to the University of Missouri at Colum
Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Before this novel, I had read one of Sharon Shinn's angel books, and I liked it a lot. So I was going through my to read list, and I saw that I had this book marked ages ago. Eager, I got started on the book, with high expectations.

I was disappointed.

We find out that the characters Maria and Dante have been together for 15 years. Sweet, right? Wrong. Maria barely knows her lover/boyfriend. She has been with him since she was 20 years old, and she hardly knows him. She finds
Brie C.
Apr 12, 2012 Brie C. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted at Romance Around the Corner

If you’re a fan of Paranormal Romance you probably recognize Ms. Shinn’s name. She’s the author of the Samaria books, a popular series that’s quite well-known even among readers like me, who aren’t die-hard fans of the genre. Last year I finally managed to read her novella, Nocturne, that was part of the Angel of Darkness Anthology, and I loved it. So when I heard about this new series I decided it was time to read one of her full-length novels.

Jul 07, 2012 Skye rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Shinn used to be an auto-buy for me. After this I will be much more hesitant to spend money on her books. Every single character was boring, bland, and colorless. I couldn't even tell you what the main character looked like, let alone describe her personality. She works an extremely boring job, has very boring co-workers of which there are endless passages about and I really, really don't understand why. Why do we care that she went to a Halloween party dressed as a cow? A Halloween party at wh
Carmel (Rabid Reads)
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

I was reminded a great deal of Maggie Stiefvater's The Wolves of Mercy Falls' series while reading this book; albeit a more adult version. The nature of Shinn's shifters is different in that they can change into multiple animals but the story has the same ticking time bomb feeling to it in that the characters are able to remain human for less and less time as they age. The plot of this novel follows a murder investigation type model and the love story has a real Romeo &am
I am giving this book zero stars. Sharon Shinn has written several of my favorite books (Troubled Waters, Truthtellers Tale, and Mystic and Rider), but this was terrible. Was there even a plot? I felt like it was all just foul language and sex. Also, we are supposed to think it is okay for a woman to be with a man who can only be with her part of the time and share part of her life as long as the sex is good. I just thought it was so awful!
Apr 17, 2012 Sheila rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Contains a few general spoilers. Major plot spoilers are hidden.

I can't believe I'm giving a Sharon Shinn novel two stars. She's one of my "always read" authors. But I didn't really like this book. First off, it's an urban fantasy--or rather, a paranormal romance. This genre is often a "miss" for me. Second, I didn't really like the main character. She was completely--and admittedly--codependent. Even though she's been with her lover for 15 years, she still can't stand to be without him--she mop
Louise Marley
Apr 21, 2012 Louise Marley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fabulous novel, dark and erotic and unerring in its character portrayals. Shinn has chosen the shape-shifter device to tell a story of passionate love under difficult circumstances, and something I love about the way she's handled it reminds me of THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE--no rationalization or apology, just accepting it for what it is. And it works!

I've read almost all of Sharon Shinn's lengthy bibliography, and I think this is her strongest work yet. It's always satisfying to see an
Let me preface this terrible review with this: I love Sharon Shinn. Hands down she is one of my all-time favorite authors. For years she has wowed me with her Samaria Angel books, and every time I read the 12 Houses Series, I fall in love all over again. I’ve read everything she’s ever written, except her Shiftling Novels. As a rule, I kinda hate Urban Fantasy, so I put it off for a long time.

The Shape of Desire was terrible. I couldn't even bring myself to finish it. I gave it to the 100th pag
Dark Faerie Tales
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A deeply emotional story about the power of love and secrets.

Opening Sentence: It’s around two in the morning when I hear a rustle and bump in the kitchen, and I sit up in bed.

The Review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up The Shape of Desire. I have never read a Sharon Shinn book before but I have heard good things about her writing. I couldn’t help but feel the first few chapters had the feel of early Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworl
Ranting Dragon
Dec 28, 2012 Ranting Dragon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: janea

Sharon Shinn is best known for two series: Samaria and Twelve Houses. She also has a number of other books, mostly stand-alone, for both adults and teens, as well as novelettes and short stories in several anthologies. The Shape of Desire is the first book in what has been announced as at least a trilogy, entitled The Shifting Circle.

Maria Devane has had a secret for fifteen years: her boyfriend, Dante, is a shapeshifter who spends at least part of every m
Apr 18, 2012 Ita rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy, audio
I started listening to this book but the plotting was glacial, so I switched to reading/skimming (thank you LA County library!). Turns out there isn't much plot.

My biggest problems with the book were the main characters and their relationship. The narrator loves a man who is distant and uncommunicative (won't share details of his shape-shifting life). He struck me as a selfish ass and she came across as needy and obsessive. Their relationship was dysfunctional and did not hew to my concept of a
Martha Wells
Apr 28, 2012 Martha Wells rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this one. It's technically categorized as urban fantasy, because it's set in modern day, and the main character is a woman who is in love with a shapeshifter. But it's not an action-packed story about killing demons, etc, though it is a mystery. The shapeshifter can't control what animal he turns into or when he transforms. It's on a cycle that has been getting increasingly short, so his periods of being human are getting shorter. Maria (the main character) has close relationshi ...more
Nov 23, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an odd kind of book. It's very slow paced. TOO slow paced, probably. And although I never exactly disliked it, I didn't really LIKE it until nearly the very end.

A lot of the book made me somewhat uncomfortable. Maria lives her live in a limited kind of way because of her boyfriend, Dante, and lies to everyone because of him. And there's much of his life that he doesn't let her into. I wouldn't describe it as an abusive relationship, but it's an unequal one. And for all Maria talks about
Apr 25, 2012 E. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal
“The Shape of Desire” by Sharon Shinn is a lyrical love story about a shapeshifter named Dante Romano and the woman, Maria Devane, who is inextricably tied to him. Maria continues to work at her job as an accountant but she lives for the ever diminishing times out of the month that her lover can live with her as a human. She has accepted all of his tales about changing into various animals over the years for increasingly longer periods of time and has never questioned him or his strictures and h ...more
Jul 08, 2012 Li rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have such conflicted feelings about this story.

Firstly, I had no idea how Sharon Shinn would write an urban fantasy - I've loved pretty much all her books to date, but a UF book? Ms Shinn's version of UF ended up being a a story that started off slowly, with a quiet build-up of suspense that left me at the point where I had to know what happens next. Oh, and beautifully written as always. In a way, her writing style reminded me of Robin McKinley's Sunshine - very much set in the "real" world w
Mar 27, 2012 Kt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..

You can't choose who you love, and this holds true for Maria. She's been madly in love with Dante for the past fifteen years to the point where her whole world revolves around him. Trouble is that he is a shape changer and each month he changes into a different wild animal. He has no control when the shifts overtake him, and as time goes on he is spending less and less time in human form. Even so, Maria couldn't imagine her life any other wa
Olga Godim
This is a love story: quiet, poignant, and heart-wrenching in its intensity. No tropes of fantasy wormed their way into this book, and the only nod to the genre is the nature of the protagonist, Dante. He is a shape-shifter, but unlike werewolves of a galore of other, more conventional shape-shifting novels, Dante can’t choose when he shifts, for how long, or into which animal. It’s not his story anyway. It’s a story of his girlfriend Maria, the woman who loves Dante.
It’s been fifteen years sin
Jun 08, 2016 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, 2012, 2016
05/2012 I've read quite a lot of Sharon Shinn, and this book is different. It is purposefully ambiguous for most of the book. The reader doesn't know until nearly the end whether Maria's boyfriend Dante is actually a shapeshifter, or if it is all a clever, extended lie. The book isn't fantasy in the way that everything else I've read of Sharon Shinn is fantasy. For most of the book we aren't sure if it is fantasy, because we don't know if Dante is a shapeshifter or not. But that is really a peri ...more
Review originally posted at:

Publisher: Ace Books
Publish Date: April 3d
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher

For fifteen years Maria Devane has been desperately, passionately in love with Dante Romano. But despite loving him with all of her heart and soul, Maria knows that Dante can never give all of himself back-at least not all the time.
Every month, Dante shifts shape, becoming a wild animal. During those times, he wanders far and wide, leaving Mari
Nov 06, 2014 Jackie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I read a Sharon Shinn book, and was looking forward to trying this more recent, contemporary-set PNR. Shinn's writing is still stellar, but the ideology behind this story, as many other Goodread reviewers have pointed out, is deeply disturbing. Maria has been in love with Dante for fifteen years. Dante is a shape-shifter, and refuses to be with Maria when he changes into an animal. The periods when he's an animal have become gradually longer, the periods when he's a human ...more
Apr 06, 2012 Hafiza rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sharon Shinn is one of my favorite authors, so all ER book as auto buy's for me.

However I hated this book.
Of course it was well written, but the story was lame.
Maria is already in love with Dante, we do not see their relationship build up, so it was hard to care for either of them.
She is so pathetically in love, that I had a hard time liking her as a character.

I hope her next book is better.
I gave this three stars, but I sort of wish I could give it 2.5. I love Sharon Shinn, and this was simply nothing like any of her other books, in terms of plot style, writing, characters, and definitely quality. Shinn is a fantastic author, and this book simply does not represent her well at all. So don't let this book be your measure of Shinn's work, if you've never read anything else of hers.
K. Lincoln
Jul 16, 2012 K. Lincoln rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm...this book kind of tore me in two different directions. But the proof was in the pudding- I stayed up late to finish it and couldn't put it down in the grip of having to find out how Maria would deal with her shape-shifting lover and the suspicious murders in the nearby park where he often lurked in animal form.

In some ways, the kind of sick fascination with Maria and her hopelessly passionate, single-minded obsession with Dante reminded me of Bella Swan-- if Bella was a post-collegiate gr
The Shape of Desire by Sharon Shinn
Fantasy –April 3rd, 2012
3 stars

Sharon Shinn writes a completely original and suspenseful fantasy in The Shape of Desire.

The heroine, Maria Devane is a young woman in love with an unpredictable man whose curse is to become a wolf. As Dante’s wolf takes over, so does his humanity and it can happen anytime, anywhere. Most of the book revolves around the drama of Maria’s internal struggle. She rather hopelessly loves Dante. Curiously enough, Dante is more of a seco
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I’ve been writing stories and poems since I was eight years old. My first poem was about Halloween: "What is tonight? What is tonight?/Try to guess and you’ll guess right." Perhaps this inauspicious beginning explains why it took me till I was in my thirties to sell a novel. It occurred to me early on that it might take some time and a lot of tries before I was able to publish any of my creative w ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Shifting Circle (3 books)
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  • The Turning Season (Shifting Circle, #3)

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