Tough Traveling: Shapeshifting

The Thursday feature “Tough Traveling” is the brainchild of Nathan of Review Barn, who has come up with the excellent idea of making a new list each week based on the most common tropes in fantasy, as seen in The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynn Jones. Nathan has invited anyone who is interested to come play along, so be sure to check out the first link for more information. Compulsive list-maker that I am, I’m very excited to take part!

This week’s tour topic is: Shapeshifting

SHAPESHIFTING is frequent among both WERES and MAGIC USERS. The usual form taken is that of a WOLF, but lions, eagles, serpents, owls, and cats are common too. In all cases the rule is that the shapeshifter cannon stay too long in animal form without actually becoming that animal and losing touch with her/his human thoughts.

Brace yourself, because I’m definitely going to try making up for my poor performance in last week’s list. Luckily, I have a “Shapeshifters” shelf on Goodreads. I’m actually going to have to narrow down the titles a little…

Wolves and other Weres:

Moon CalledMercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

I have to say, this week is much easier if you read urban fantasy. Werewolves are all over the place! And of course, one of my favorite UF series featuring werewolves is Mercy Thompson. Mercy hangs around a bunch of werewolves, and though she herself is a shapeshifter, she’s in fact a “Walker” who can turn into a coyote, a gift she inherited from her Native American father.

ShiverThe Wolves of Mercy Falls (AKA Shiver Trilogy) by Maggie Stiefvater

This is a Young Adult series about a boy who walks and talks as human during the summer, but when the cold weather of winter comes he turns into a wolf and runs wild in the woods. Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house for years, but she never dreamed that one of them could be a human boy, and that she would end up falling in love with him.

WolfsangelWolfsangel by M.D. Lachlan

This epic dark fantasy novel tells the myth of the werewolf as it has never been told before, weaving Nordic mythology into the tale. A prophecy prompts a viking king to raid a small village to kidnap a child to be his heir, but what he finds is not one but two infants — twins. Vali grows up as a prince while Feileg is raised in the wilds with wolves.

Blood OrangesSiobhan Quinn series by Kathleen Tierney/Caitlín R. Kiernan

In this dark, twisted urban fantasy that can be seen as a satire of the genre, Siobhan Quinn was bitten by a vampire and a werewolf in the same night, turning her into some sort of new weird hybrid that she has self-coined a “Werepire”.

The Lunatic CafeAnita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton

Oh man, when it comes to the different kinds of weres and lycanthropes, you just can’t beat the sheer variety in the Anita Blake series. Werewolves are a given of course, but there also wereleopards, wererats, werehyenas, werelions, weretigers, and even wereswans (oh my).

ddc3c-theironwolvesThe Iron Wolves by Andy Remic

In response to a prophecy, an old general decides to reunite the warriors of old for what he believes will be a final battle against Orlana the Changer, an evil dark lady who is building a mud-orc army to take over the world. The Iron Wolves are a group of gritty anti-heroes who hold a terrible secret that has tortured them for decades. Let’s just say they only wish to be human again, and leave it at that…

The Wolf GiftThe Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

Anne Rice does werewolves! A young reporter on assignment from the city gets attacked and bitten by a creature in the rural wilderness. Soon he finds himself transformed and experiencing the thrill of the wolf gift. Rice offers up a very interesting take on the mythos and origin story for werewolves.

SoullessSoulless by Gail Carriger

Lord Conall Maccon is an officer of the Bureau for Unnatural Registration and also the Alpha of a werewolf pack. Maccon and the protagonist Lady Alexia Tarabotti end up falling in love and ultimately get married at the end of this book.

Paranormal Creatures (Non-Weres):

Generation VGeneration V series by M.L. Brennan

Protagonist Fortitude Scott’s friend Suzume Hollis is a kitsune, a mythological creature from Japanese folklore that can shift between human and fox forms. Rather than being a human who can shapeshift into an animal, kitsune are the other way around – they are actually female foxes that can assume human form.

The Golden CityThe Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney

This series features sirens and also Selkies, mythological creatures that live as seals in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land.  They must guard their pelts carefully while in human form, for without it they cannot shift back and return to the sea. This is what happens to a character’s mother, whose pelt was stolen.

b3736-writteninredWritten in Red by Anne Bishop

“The Others” are a group of unearthly entities which have vampires and shapeshifters among them. It is said the shifters adopted their chosen animal forms so long ago that they had come to also adopt some of the natural behaviors of those animals. These include wolves, crows, and hawks, to name just a few.

80500-midnightthiefMidnight Thief by Liva Blackburne

The city of Forge is being harassed and constantly raided by the Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats. It is thought that the beasts are tamed mounts or companions of the raiders, but it turns out they are the Demon Riders themselves, a race of beings who can shapeshift between human and wildcat forms.

Magic Users and Shapeshifting by Magical Means:

HexedThe Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

Atticus O’Sullivan is a two-thousand-year-old druid, capable of many different kinds of magic including several shapeshifting charms that allow him to shift into four animal different forms: a hound, a stag, an otter and an owl. Each creature has its own charm for this and Atticus’ amulets and charms are small enough that he can continue wearing the object while shapeshifted.

df74d-skulkSkulk by Rosie Best

In this YA novel, protagonist Meg comes into the possession of a beautiful blue stone which allows her to shapeshift into a fox. In time, she learns of other groups of shapeshifters in London: The Skulk (fox shifters like her), the Horde (Rats), the Rabble (Butterflies), the Cluster (Spiders), and the Conspiracy (Ravens).

The Midnight QueenThe Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

Currently reading this, and now I understand the reason for the owl on the cover. Gray Marshall is a student of magic, and one the spells he is most proud of — and that others are most impressed with — is his ability to shapeshift into (quite appropriately) a great grey owl.

26 Comments on “Tough Traveling: Shapeshifting”

  1. So, uh… Have any trouble this week?

    I thought of Gen V after I had scheduled the post and got too lazy to go back and add it because I knew damn well it would NOT be forgotten on other lists. Also, I need to read the sequel to Iron Wolves soon.


    • I haven’t picked up the sequel to Iron Wolves either, but I may wait until the entire series is done to see if it’s worth continuing. There’s a lot on my reading plate these days.


  2. Hahahaha!! That is quite a list. I’ll add Kate Daniels (as a subtle *ahem* reminder), Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld, Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock, and Seanan McGuire’s October Day. What do you know–that’s my whole Top 5 UF series list . . . I kind of like shapeshifters 😉


  3. The topic this week almost makes me want to join in if only I had more time! I really need to read The Wolf Gift because I am such a huge Anne Rice fan. And I even bought it when it came out…Awesome list, I’m chomping at the bit to get to Midnight Queen:-)


    • I still haven’t read the sequel to Wolf Gift…but now I’m just salivating for her new book Prince Lestat 🙂 And I’d be very interested to see what you think of Midnight Queen, I’m having some mixed thoughts on it now, lol 😛


  4. I love your list!! And I’ve read 8 off here with another 3 waiting to be picked up!. Definitely easier for Urban Fantasy type reads although I’m kicking myself that I left Beorn from the Hobbit off mine!
    Lynn 😀


  5. Bahhh! I am also planning to add The Wolves of Mercy Falls on my Tough Travelling post later. I hope you will not accuse me of cheating. LOL.

    Some of the books that you’ve mentioned here are really new to me but you already know that Gen V is currently on my TBR pile. Excited to read it. And there’s the Midnight Queen again. How was it so far? I swear, I’ve been scouring NG and EW for an e-ARC but it seems that Penguin will not release an e-copy. I fell in love with the cover and the synopsis the first time I saw it on your lootz post.

    And the Mercy Thompson series is also on my TBR pile as well. Been hearing a lot of good things about it.

    Thanks for sharing an awesome list, Mogsy. Wooohoo! I’ll get back to this list if I have a craving for shapeshifting reads. <333


    • Nah, lots of us double up all the time on lists, it’s really interesting to see what books people have read and look up the reviews! And I hope you can get to Gen V soon, it’s awesome! So is Mercy Thompson, though that series grew on me after a few books.

      Midnight Queen is coming along nicely…it’s a bit slow to start off, and it’s a subtle, quiet sort of book that takes its time. I’m having mixed feelings about it, but still enjoying it overall 🙂


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