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The Dream-Maker's Magic    by Sharon Shinn order for
Dream-Maker's Magic
by Sharon Shinn
Order:  USA  Can
Puffin, 2008 (2006)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Part of what separates a great fantasy novel from a good fantasy novel is the author's ability to instantly transport readers to a new world and make them feel right at home. Sharon Shinn does just this in The Dream-Maker's Magic.

Kellen Carmichael has always been a disappointment to her mother, who is convinced she gave birth to a boy rather than a girl. Because of this, Kellen is forced to live her life as a boy, but most everyone in the small town of Thrush Hollow knows she is really a girl. Kellen is satisfied being a tomboy until she starts school and realizes she does not belong to any crowd. However, she does become fast friends with Gryffin, a crippled genius who lives with his abusive uncle. More concerned for her friend than for herself, she wishes every Wintermoon that Gryffin will get well, knowing that he could be healed if the Dream-Maker would only come to Thrush Hollow. Little does she know exactly how her dream will come true, surprising everyone in town and changing her life and Gryffin's forever.

As in many young adult novels, the central theme of The Dream-Maker's Magic is discovering who you are - both Kellen and Gryffin learn a lot about themselves and each other. It is also about fitting in and finding your place in the world, something that Kellen struggles with, though she eventually finds the happiness Gryffin knows she deserves. Shinn makes the characters and their world come alive as they wade through the ups and downs of life, capturing the hearts of readers. It was not until after I finished The Dream-Maker's Magic that I learned it was actually the third in a series. That says a lot for Sharon Shinn's writing that she was able to craft such a wonderful fantasy world yet make each novel stand on its own.

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