The Shape-Changers Wife
'Until Aubrey arrived in the village to study with Glyrenden, he had no idea that the great wizard had taken a wife. At the time, drinking an ale in the warm, lightless tavern which was situated at the very center of town (in fact, the heart of the small community), he did not think it mattered one way or the other. Nonetheless, he was surprised. From what old Cyril had told him, Glyrenden did not seem like the kind of man disposed toward the softer passions. But then, it was obvious Cyril did not like the court magician, and perhaps his unflattering words could be traced to professional jealousy.'
First paragraph of The Shape-Changers Wife by Sharon Shinn
This is a fairy-tale story about Aubrey, a young magician sent to study with the cruel wizard, Glyrenden. Warned by his former mentor to always be on gaurd around Glyrenden, Aubrey enjoys his first months at the dusty strange castle, especially his time spent with the shape-changers wife, Lilith. But there is something very strange about the inhabitants of the castle, including Lilith. Can Aubrey unlock their secrets? A fun little magical read that I think should be in the young readers category. This one isn't as predictable as so many other fairy tales, so was quite enjoyable.
"But magic, I have discovered, is like any skill. It is not inherently good in itself. And some of it - yes, some of it is inherently evil. There are wicked spells, savage spells, enchantments that are so black that even to know them withers the heart a little, taints the soul. And yet to be a great magician, to be a sorcerer of any ability or renown, those spells must be learned as well. For if a magician does not know them, they can be used against him - and what is magic, after all, but a man's power to change the world while it is incapable of changing him?"