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Dun Lady's Jess (Changespell Saga , #1)
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Dun Lady's Jess (Changespell Saga #1)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  230 ratings  ·  37 reviews
When hikers Dayna and Eric find a young woman naked, terrified, and speechless, they're sure she's the victim of foul play. But the truth is much more shocking: she isn't human at all. She's Dun Lady's Jess, a horse transformed into this new shape by the spell that brought her and her rider, to whom she is utterly devoted, into this world.

Possessed now of human intelligen
Paperback, 343 pages
Published August 1st 1994 by Baen Books (first published 1994)
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Hard to believe I hadn't found this one earlier in my life. It is beautiful and has such depth. Would love to read more of the series.
My reading tastes for fantasy generally run toward urban, horror, and paranormal, but I thought I'd stretch a bit in this case because of the horse angle in this novel -- magic transforms a mare into a young woman.

As promised by reviews and reviewers, the author did a fine and "believable" job of how a horse might react when suddenly occupying a human body and the potential of a human brain.

Also a fine job in describing the nuanced relationship between horse and rider/trainer, especially in dres
Lorraine Bartlett
Apart from the Harry Potter books, I've read few fantasy novels. My one exception: the books of my friend Doranna Durgin. Of course, as she's been my friend for over 20 years, you can't expect me to be wholly objective in a review. So I'll just tell you what I like about her very first published book, Dun Lady's Jess, which has been reissued in a beautiful new edition by Canadian publisher Red Deer Press.

Beautiful dun mare Lady, and her rider, Cary, are running for their lives when Cary invokes
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review.

4.5 stars

The first time I heard (read, more like) about this book was some time in 2012 when Trudi Canavan retweeted Durgin's blog post about needing to look for a good publisher. Back then, I had been intrigued by the blurb of Dun Lady's Jess and wanted to get my hands on a copy of it. Of course, that wasn't possible, especially given the circumstances under which I found out about the book. So when I saw this book lis
Nanette Littlestone
Had I not discovered the wonders of the Goodreads Giveaways, I never would have come across this ebook. I was initially attracted by the promise of horse transforming into human. Pretty much anything that involves horses lures me. I was one of those girls who harbored the secret fantasy of a horse of her own. Secret, yet unfulfilled. Couple the horse transformation with spells and magic, and how could I resist?

In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t read numerous reviews of the book and Ms. Durgin’s own
When I read the introduction and discovered that this book was going to be about a horse that had been turned human, I began to have second thoughts about my choice to request it in the Early Reviewer program. I am not generally a fan of magically changed animals and it takes a very good story and a very well written animal to make me change my opinions on the matter. This book simply blew my mind with how well the shape shifting was done. All of the things I had heard about the horse being beau ...more
Mona Karel
Dun's Lady Jess is now out in digital format. I made the mistake of starting it one evening and found myself wide eyed and finishing it at three in the morning. Worth every dark circle, what a wonderful story. We've all read books about people changing into animals; animals changing into people, with varying levels of comfort. No writer I've read before has put so much thought into how one would feel after a life time on four feet, to become abruptly two footed, and with a voice.
The humans who b
Dun Lady's Jess is a nice book with quite an original concept. When Carey is pursued by enemies, he invokes a spell that transports him to our world. His horse, Dun Lady's Jess, comes along with him, but due to some strange quirk in the spell, she is transformed into a woman. Particularly in the first half, we get to see the world through Jess' eyes, trying to learn human behavior. Her little horsey mannerisms are well done, and in general, Jess is a very nice character. She is not perfect or al ...more
I liked it. Interesting characters, decent-paced plotting.

It's been a couple of days but some things are niggling at the back of my brain. Why does Jess get changed into a horse when the spell to move into another world takes hold? Why isn't Cary changed into a horse if she's changed into a human? If the spell is that inaccurate/wonky, then I would expect other side-effects. Yes, nit-picky, I know.

The biggest problem I have with this book is the stupid attitude towards killing people. A person w
Dun Lady’s Jess
Doranna Durgin

Review by Jessica Atha

"Dun Lady’s Jess" by Doranna Durgin is a fantasy about the unpredictability of love and magic, changing form, and traversing worlds.

In order to protect a dangerous, world-changing spell from an evil witch, our two heroes – a courier named Carey and his horse, Dun Lady’s Jess – are thrown into another world by the very spell they are trying to protect. The two are separated and Jess is left alone to find Carey in an unfamiliar place while deali
Lorna Barrett
Apart from the Harry Potter books, I've read few fantasy novels. My one exception: the books of my friend Doranna Durgin. Of course, as she's been my friend for over 20 years, you can't expect me to be wholly objective in a review. So I'll just tell you what I like about her very first published book, Dun Lady's Jess, which has been reissued in a beautiful new edition by Canadian publisher Red Deer Press.

Beautiful dun mare Lady, and her rider, Cary, are running for their lives when Cary invokes
Cathy Geha
Dun Lady’s Jess
By Doranna Durgin

I put my name in on the early review request site on goodreads for the opportunity to win, read and review a free copy of Dun Lady’s Jess by Doranna Durgin and was lucky enough to win. I have read books about shape-shifters but this is not a book like that…not at all…it is unlike any book I have read before. In this book the main character is a horse that is magically transformed into a woman when she suddenly finds herself in another world. Her struggles to live
What I liked about this book was the author's depiction of the horse behavior in the human. She clearly knows horses very well. Story bogged down for me in the middle, but had a fine ending. I kept expecting it to be shorter than it was. However, if you know anything about horses and enjoy fantasies, then I thought it was worth a read. I hadn't seen anyone depict a human thinking as an animal before, and thought it was very well done.
This book was good but the woman who narrated it for Audible wasn't completely literate. She would have people "mesmorize" instead of "memorize" a spell. Then she read "spellcheck" instead of "spellspeak." There are several times I caught this type of error and I was listening not reading along so there may have been many I didn't catch. You would think if the narrator didn't notice what she said didn't make sense that someone would have edited her mistakes. I am finding multiple problems with m ...more
Stuart Macmartin
I don't normally like world jumping books (though I remember eating up the Phase books). And this books has lots of that 3 star backdrop. What makes this book special is Jess. Turning the transformation story upside down and making it feel real was a feat. The author knows horses way better than I do. Enough that I could believe it.
Hannah Steenbock
This is one of my favorites, one of those stories that I come back to just to enjoy it again.

I utterly love how Jess remains a horse essentially, even as her body says something else. This is so well done that it makes me "feel" Jess, her difficulties, her discoveries and her victories.

Go read this if you love horses.
Kelley Ceccato
Stories of the "female Other," when said Other is painted in a sympathetic light, hold a particular fascination for me, and this one's a breezy, engaging read. I'm not sure how I feel about a man from an alternate, fantastic universe learning very quickly to use words like "Okay" and continuing to use them once he has returned home, but the story of the central character Jess's "confrontation" with humanity is intriguing enough to make me forgive some of the more questionable quirks. I also love ...more
Excellent premise and good story. A magicked horse from a sophisticated fantasy world winds up in modern America, transformed into a human. Love the characters, especially Jess and Carey, but also Jamie, and it's good to see dressage treated as a serious sport. 4.5 stars
alice reuss
Dun Lady Jess

This was a cute story about a horse that was turned into a human woman and plummeted to earth where she had to learn all the ways of humans and women. Very good reading andsweet
True to hype, Durgin has brilliantly succeeded at establishing Jess as genuinely horse-like in her thinking and behavior, even (maybe especially) in human form.

The weaknesses of the book lie in the implicit assumption of horse knowledge - there were definitely moments where I thought that someone unfamiliar with horses might not have been able to follow the action - and in the dialogue as the "real world" characters come to terms with the magical people who have burst into our world.

...Or maybe
Rita C
This was pretty good. I really liked how the character of Dun's Lady Jess, herself, was handled. I am interested to read more in this world.
This is not an original thought on my part - I read another review which said the same thing. Nevertheless it's very true: in this book Doranna Durgin manages to integrate the two parts of Jess, the horse part and the woman part, so that when she is a woman, there is a background of horse to her personality and thoughts, and when she is a horse, there is a corner of her mind that still contains some of the woman she had been. This is a very clever thing to do; I wish that I could have done somet ...more
I'm reading the audio book - very good so far!
This is an EXCELLENT book! Very enjoyable - very well read (audio version) I'm sorry its over - looking forward to reading it again!
very good!
Laura (Kyahgirl)
If I was a young adult reader I think I would have given this a firm four stars. As an old codger I'm inclined to give it three stars but settled on four because I DID like it enough to hunt up the sequel and its a pretty good story. I like the way Doranna Durgin does animal thinking/speaking. This book tackles the challenging concept of an animal turned into a person and back again. I think Durgin did an excellent job in that area.
I liked her worldbuilding and the way she handled magic and tra
I so enjoyed this book.
This book was slow for me. I did not feel the characters were well developed.
I loved this book. What can I say? If you love horses, you will love it too. It has a little of everything, horses of course, but also fantasy, and parallel worlds.
I love the way Jess acts like her counterpart horse when she is human and the way it is shown to the reader makes it feel even more real. That's exactly what you'd think a horse would react if suddenly she would become a human like Lady did.
One thing for sure, Ms Durgin knows her horses!
Pretty good... Enjoyable read.
This series was really intriguing - I read years ago and want to re-read. A perfect mix for me. And a twist - as instead of a woman turning into a horse - the horse turns into a woman! Enough of "another world" feel to take me into the fantasy of it, even though part of it is in "this world" there is another world that is even more intriguing
I'd like to give it 3.5 stars but that's not an option. Good writing, with a few turns of phrase that actually made me laugh out loud. Intriguing concept and plot that i had not been exposed to before. But it had some real pacing problems; my eyes kept leaping to the next page, and the characters could have used a little more development.
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Doranna responded to all early injunctions to "put down that book/notebook and go outside to play" by climbing trees to read & write. Such quirkiness of spirit has led to an eclectic publishing journey, spanning genres over 30 novels to include mystery, SF/F, action-romance, paranormal,
More about Doranna Durgin...

Other Books in the Series

Changespell Saga (4 books)
  • Barrenlands (Changespell Saga , #0)
  • Changespell (Changespell Saga , #2)
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