fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsSharon Shinn The Safe-Keeper's Secret fantasy book reviewsThe Truth-Teller’s Tale  by Sharon Shinn

Adele is a Safe-Keeper, physiologically incapable of sharing a secret. Her twin sister Eleda is a Truth-Teller, incapable of telling a lie. From the young age of 12, these sisters assume positions of responsibility in their town, but what happens when they get dragged into royal intrigue and the indiscretions of the most powerful family in town?

The Truth-Teller’s Tale, the second book in the SAFE-KEEPERS series by Sharon Shinn, is an improvement over the first book in the series. As an adult reader of a young adult novel, you always have to keep in mind that the intended audience is younger and assumed to be less sophisticated and well-read than you. That said, a good young adult novel should be capable of being enjoyed by an adult as well, and shouldn’t talk down to its audience. While publishers recommend this for grades 8-10, I would probably bump that down to 6-9. My only concern with recommending this book for the younger grades is that one of the characters escapes being raped through the efforts of another character. While the rape that does happen occurs “off-stage,” sexual violence is still referenced.

At its heart, this is a teen romance set in a fantasy medieval world, and probably even middle school readers will figure out the ending combination of the three different romance stories that stand at the core of The Truth-Teller’s Tale. However, it is still a wonderful adventure figuring out how they are going to get there over what seem to be pretty significant odds.

Sharon Shinn is a beautiful writer. Even though I saw the ending coming, I still finished the book with a smile on my face, which isn’t always the case with a good book. This is a satisfying tale, and lacks the prurient material of so many young adult romances currently on the market, while still satiating the desire for true love and happily ever after.

Safe-Keepers — (2004-2006) Young adult. Publisher: Damiana is Safe-Keeper in the small village of Tambleham. Neighbors and strangers alike come, one by one, in secret, to tell her things they dare not share with anyone else, knowing Damiana will keep them to herself. One late night, a mysterious visitor from the city arrives with an unusual secret for the Safe-Keeper — a newborn baby. Damiana, who is expecting her own child, agrees to take the foundling. She names him Reed and raises him side-by-side with her daughter, Fiona. As the years pass and the two children grow into teenagers, they must come to terms with who they are — and who they may be…

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  • Ruth Arnell

    RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.