[Book Review] In which the wild hunt meets cop mechanic

urbanshamanBook Review: Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy

Oh man, canaries. Hang on to your perches, this is gonna be one of those books. The premise: Half-Irish, half-Cherokee Joanne Walker has just discovered she’s a shaman and that the Wild Hunt has gone rogue and is about to destroy the world. New and old world myths mix. Chaos is unleashed. I was ready and eager to fall in love.

And yet. And yet.

What a mixed bag.

Here’s the good, the bad, and the stuff in between:

The good: An exciting beginning! It’s not every book that starts off on a plane, followed with a race across town in a cab, only to face off against a knife wielding unknown.

The bad:  We need to retire the let’s-sit-in-a-diner-and-TALK trope for good. This is the third urban fantasy book in a row to do so, and every single time I am brain-crushingly bored.

The good: She is destined to be a shaman, tasked with healing the world. A warrior healer who has to redeem her enemies, rather than just slay them where they stand. That’s refreshing!

The bad: The cab driver is such a weird and obvious plot device. I spent the entire book hoping it would turn out that the Gary is something twisty  – some sort of sneaky spy or guardian who’s there to help the main character. Spoiler: Nope. He’s just, you know, a story trope in service of a girl he’s known for like two hours.

The good: No one is safe! Think everyone is going to survive to the end? Maybe. Maybe not.

The bad: The main character is a special snowflake. Destined to be super duper special, on the run from her destiny, telling everyone left and right about how she’s a magic shaman, to widespread acceptance and support. Yes, she just straight out tells folks she’s now suddenly a shaman. Perhaps refreshing after a genre-full of heroes and heroines trying to keep their magic side hidden and juggle their day job incognito, but also utterly perplexing.

That and everyone loves her and when it seems like she’s about to lose her police mechanic job for running off to Ireland for months without leave, everyone almost riots, because poor snowflake.

The good: Twisty metaphysical astral plane time travel is twisty. I won’t give anything away, but the story plays a bit with cause and effect, where actions resonate both forward and backward. That’s neat.

The bad: Her sleep deprivation is used as an excuse for her completely irregular manic pixie dream girl flashes of behavior. She’s hyper and sarcastic and giggly and morose and mood swings galore throughout the book, giving you the full range of different personality types, depending on the scene and who she’s interacting with. Crank up the drama. Choose-your-own-heroine.

All in all, I like what the story was trying to do a whole lot more than how it did it.

Reading recommendation? Eh, maybe.

Canary Verdict:

In the meantime, have you read these?

trickster shadowedsouls 362956 wrongsideofhell Gorgeous cover.

Chirp! What do you think?

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