When the Shifter, an immortal being who has protected the royalty of Samorna for as long as anyone can remember, is called once again from her Mistwood to serve the soon-to-be-King Prince Rokan, it doesn't seem like anything can go wrong. After all, the Shifter can change her form at will, becoming a wolf or a snow cat as needed. She can move at inhuman speeds, sense danger, and deflect any magical attack. She has never failed, and she never will. Right?
Isabel, the Shifter, and feel that there's something wrong. She's not what she's supposed to be. She can't do all that she should. The Shifter loses her memory every time she goes back to the Mistwood, but Isabel keeps seeing flashes of herself, running, in pain, afraid, crying.
And the Shifter shouldn't be able to cry.
This book provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Rokan and Clarisse's father wasn't the best dad.
- Assassin Outclassin': Rokan was prepared.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Averted. When one of the princes finally makes it to the throne, he just sticks the crown on his head with no ceremony.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: Isabel is forced into this by the ancient magic that controls her. Also, Rokan's father, who was the Captain of the Guard before staging the coup.
- Conflicting Loyalty: Isabel.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The head sorcerer.
- Deadpan Snarker: Isabel.
- Death of the Old Gods: Possibly what happened to the Shifter, but she could be back.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Rokan has fond memories of his father, despite the circumstances. Clarisse? Not so much. They both feel sorry for their mom.
- Disguised Hostage Gambit: Rokan's girlfriend. Later, Clarisse
- Emotionless Girl: What the Shifter should be.
- Enemy to All Living Things: Animals tend to cower in fear from the Shifter.
- Evil Chancellor: Two. The head sorcerer, who has betrayed everyone he's ever worked for, and Clarisse, Rokan's sister who, while not strictly evil, is certainly not nice.
- From a Single Cell: When the Shifter is injured, she just shifts herself whole again. However, she can't shift pain away.
- Grey-and-Grey Morality: Was Prince Rokan's father justified in usurping the throne to save the kingdom from a weak king, even if he himself was a bit of a dictator? Should Rokan give up his throne to the rightful heir? Is Clarisse justified in going to the lengths she does to keep her brother on the throne?
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: It seems like Clarisse is this until it's revealed that she's a sorceress.
- Identity Amnesia: The Shifter always comes out of her woods with no idea of who she is. Also possibly Victory-Guided Amnesia or Trauma-Induced Amnesia.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Isabel is supposed to be the perfect bodyguard. It doesn't always work out that way.
- Immortal Immaturity: Averted. To the Shifter, everything is Serious Business.
- Instant Allegiance Artifact: Rokan hopes the bracelet will be this.
- Knight Templar Big Sister: Clarisse to the extreme. Poor Ven.
- Leave No Survivors: What Rokan's father intended for the previous royal family. He didn't do so well
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Averted. Not everyone was a big fan of Rokan's father, or the King before him.
- Rightful King Returns: Subverted in that the King, while technically the true heir to the throne, is not a good guy.
- The Tease: Clarisse likes to make suitors think she's interested until she crushes all their hopes and dreams.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Shifter's main power.
- Wild Magic: It's implied that this is what the Shifter was before allowing itself to be tamed. Tamed being a relative term.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: How a lot of people feel about the Shifter.