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Shelby and the Shifting Rings

By A. Michele Veillon

ISBN 0-9762015-4-2

Review by: Nicolette Westfall


The story of Shelby Shodworth, a young, orphaned girl, is quickly told in this short novel. While at first, the more seasoned reader is turned off by the Harry Potter similarities (swords, time travel, and orphaned characters), there are other aspects of the story that make up for them. Shelby is not an angry twelve year old, but rather, a girl who has become adjusted to her situation and deals with it. She echoes the energy and positive approach of The Secret Garden’s Dicken Sowerby. Sent away to Ms. Peabonnet’s Academy for Girls (a boarding school) at the orders of her craggy uncle and guardian, The Colonel, Shelby faces the usual school conflicts, as exemplified through the snobby and bullish Harrietta Hindmore school girl. Later, Shelby discovers a time portal and finds her father.

Certain credible elements of the story are answered in almost robotic fashion. These include explaining how a young girl could possibly carry an authentic sword (it is magic!) and the concept of time travel (the long lecture examining is too easily forgotten). Like Harry Potter, the rags to riches story plays out here (the hero-heroine must come into financial security), and it is through time manipulation that it happens. Somehow, the characters remain aware of their initial actions that change after they go back to earlier time periods, as if there are two present times that they reside in. While some readers will find it odd that the academy’s teachers have subject or personality related names, there will be children out there who will find the choices humorous.

The novel is a decent first effort from Veillon. Despite the rough sections and minimal character development, the book is a quick and easy read, which keeps the reader’s attention. With the second installation, hopefully the author will flush out the characters and expands on ideas that were presented in the first. Introducing a new female heroine is a feat in itself in a male-dominated industry--now let’s see the magic and suspense of C.S. Lewis and J. K. Rowling come to life with Shelby and the gang.

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