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

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,578 ratings  ·  118 reviews
The story of an ill-fated union between a Homanan princess and a Cheysuli warrior, that brought on a war of annihilation against the Cheysuli race . . . and the daughter of that union, who must accept her place in an ancient prophecy she cannot deny.
Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 7th 1984 by DAW
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I can't even finish it! The heroine annoyed the hell out of me. Why can't anyone write a heroine who's as smart as I am! Looking at my grades I'm not asking much so why is it so hard to write a smart heroine now adays!?

I'm soo tired of heroines who find that they have magical powers then started acting like it's a damn curse! The girl can freaking shift into an animal, why can't she be like a normal teenager and start jumping up and down yelling AMEN! but noooo! God forbid a heroine that's actua
Aug 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book might have been decent if the protagonist hadn't been such a raging, irritable bitch.
Dec 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 14, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Cameron
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, high-fantasy
I have been revisiting some of my old favorites and this series was one of them. While re-reading this first book, I remember that the series got much better starting with the second book. This isn't a bad book, but I think that this was the author's first book and it shows. She keeps reminding you of the same things over and over.

If anyone has read this book and found it a bit lackluster, I would suggest that you give the second book a try regardless. This book was written in the period when th
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
When I was a teenager, I found all four omnibus editions at a used bookstore and snapped ‘em up bc I liked the covers. I loved this series from beginning to end and remembered crying with Alix. God, how embarrassing. This is awful. Alix is a spoiled self-righteous brat who flips allegiances like pancakes. There are all sorts of colloquialisms like “What do you say?” (Whaddaya mean?) and “I have ever loved him.” (I’ve always loved him.) that sound like lines from a bad ren fair scene. Not to ment ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed the growing storyline. The main female character is overtly selfish but everything else is great. Too few pages to develop a good supporting cast but I hope the rest of the series open the descriptive capabilities.
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Alix is young, naive, and in love---with Carillon, heir to the throne. She's aware that he's destined to marry a princess to forge alliances between nations, and a commoner girl like herself can't hope for more than a position of mistress. Still, she can dream. Until the Cheysuli come, and drag her forcibly into their world. They insist she is one of them and refuse to let her go back to her home. Is she? And what of Carillon, whose uncle has sworn to eradicate every Cheysuli?

The book is, in lar
Welwyn Wilton 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
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
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)
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: taschenb-cher
Als ich das Buch zum ersten Mal las, fand ich es herausragend. Dann kam ich aber irgendwie doch davon ab, die Reihe weiter zu lesen. Nun rücke ich meinem SuB zu Leibe und habe das Buch erneut gelesen. Dieses Mal bin ich kritischer, mag die Idee aber trotzdem und habe das Buch verschlungen. 08/10 Punkte und hier könnt ihr meine Meinung nachlesen: .
Eugenia aka Cinnea
May 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
I actually first read this back in the 80's, but never finished the series thanks to no time and no money as a student. So, I'm going back and finally finishing the series.

The basic plot is this: Young farm girl gets kidnapped by a shapechanger (one of the Cheysuli) and then learns that she's one of them, and has all kinds of superduper special powers. The problem is, they Cheysuli are being hunted to extinction by the Homanans (the people in the land where they used to live) and the people who
Rolaka Pisarka
Książkę przeczytałam po raz pierwszy chyba z 10 lat temu. wtedy naprawdę byłam nią zachwycona przez fantasy, romans, motyw zmiennokształtnych. Teraz wszystko się zmieniło... Zauważałam wady, których wczesniej nie dostrzegałam. Jestem świadoma, żę książka ma swoje lata i ma prawo posiadać cechy, które dzisiaj zniekształcają odbiór, ale kurcze... Książka jest pełna bubli, okropnych i niemal żałosnych zbiegów okoliczności (jesli książę spotyka się z jakąś wieśniaczką to na 100% musi być ona 1. zagi ...more
Nov 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
Dnf. Whiny protag, bit too naive. Felt repetitive the little I read, also.
I read this years ago and it was great!
Jun 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
L Pulliam
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
I bought this book to have something to read during what I knew would be a lengthy wait for an appointment. The back cover looked intriguing and I had high hopes. They were, unfortunately, dashed within the first chapter.

Now, before anybody thinks all I can do is trash the book, let me explain.

The premise of the book is very interesting. The fallout of a near-genocide, a country fraught with racism, ongoing skirmishes between both sides - and then comes the heroine, Alix, who is so beautiful tha
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rereading the series with Tansy Rayner Roberts at

I really enjoyed my reread of this book. I'm going to be lazy now I just copy what I said when I made a post on the thread over at (which can be found here if you're interested).

I’ve been a bit slow on keeping up – and it is hugely unlikely I’ll get the next one read before you post on it – but I’m thoroughly enjoying my reread.

The 80s attitudes to the female protagonist did keep knocking me around the head this time, but I’
Wendy Ward
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish-it
I enjoyed greatly the Sword Dancer series from Jennifer Roberson, so I had high expectations about this one. Unfortunately, this book is terrible. I sincerely don't know what happened here. Not only does this pale in comparison with Sword Dancer, but it also fails as a stand-alone novel.
The Cheysuli are shape-shifters and renegades who live in forests and have a specific bond with animals. After they kidnap our heroine, Alix, and find out that she is half-Cheysuli herself, they try to force her
Frank Spinney
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book for the first time when I was a teenager and thought it was fabulous. I read it again as an adult and still enjoyed it, but found the writing a trifle immature and a little cheesy. It is clear the the author was still developing her skills. The main character is a bit obnoxious - something I did not notice as a teenager. Probably because I though such behavior acceptable at the time - ha!
The story and land are both interesting and encourage the imagination. It is a different t
May 23, 2014 rated it liked it
The thing about packing up a book collection is that you pick up books you that you read and loved 30 years ago, and wax nostalgic, and re-read them ... only to discover that you really can't go home again. Even hopeless romantics grow older. There are things I still like about this book: the writing is good, as is the concept of the two opposing magical races, and the animal-human bond of the shapechangers. That notion of telepathic communication between humans and animals has always fascinated ...more
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 17, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Victoria Edwards
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: epic
I picked this book up in a Rotary book sale. I was impressed by how real the lead character felt, especially considering it was a female lead in a fantasy novel written in the 1980's. Then I realized that the author was a woman. It explained a lot. I enjoyed the setting and the system of magic. There were a few societal norms that I didn't appreciate and I found it frustrating that that heroine had to choose between two societies that were not concerned with the wants, needs or agency of women t ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Chronicles of the Cheysuli (8 books)
  • The Song Of Homana (Chronicles of the Cheysuli #2)
  • Legacy of the Sword (Chronicles of the Cheysuli #3)
  • Track of the White Wolf (Chronicles of the Cheysuli, #4)
  • A Pride of Princes (Chronicles of the Cheysuli #5)
  • Daughter of the Lion (Chronicles of the Cheysuli, #6)
  • Flight of the Raven (Chronicles of the Cheysuli #7)
  • A Tapestry of Lions (Chronicles of the Cheysuli #8)