Review: Thunderbird Falls by C. E. Murphy ★★★

Thunderbird Falls by C. E. Murphy
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Book two in the Walker Papers series
Publication Date: May 1, 2006
ISBN: 0373802358
Page Count: 416
My Rating: ★★★

Summary

It's the end of the world . . . Again.

For all the bodies she's encountering, you'd think beat cop Joanne Walker works in Homicide. But no, Joanne's a reluctant shaman who last saved mankind three months ago -- surely she deserves more of a break! Yet, incredibly, " Armageddon, take two " is mere days away.

There's not a minute to waste.

Yet when her spirit guide inexplicably disappears, Joanne needs help from other sources. Especially after she accidentally unleashes Lower World demons on Seattle. Damn. With the mother of all showdowns gathering force, it's the worst possible moment for Joanne to realize she should have learned more about controlling her powers.

REVIEW


I have to confess to finding this a slightly disappointing entry to the series after the strong start of book one: Urban shaman. Essentially, the main problem for me was that for the first three quarters of this book, there just wasn't enough going on. I didn't feel engaged in the mystery element of the story, which is unusual for me because I'm normally keen to pick up on any clues left for the reader, and often, (sometimes annoyingly so) work out who the "bad guy" is way ahead of the big reveal. But in this case, when there was a big ta-da! moment, I was completely taken by surprise, but I think this was more to do with there not actually being any breadcrumbs left for me to follow prior to this, than me just not observing them. I hadn't been looking in that direction for anything untoward. So on the one hand it was nice to be surprised for a change, but on the other hand, my inner smug know-it-all missed out on being able to say "Ha! I knew it!"

Joanne also spent a large portion of the book bemoaning her new shamanic abilities or wishing them away all together, which I found very contradictory to the way she'd accepted them without question in book one. What she really needs is to learn how to properly use her abilities instead of just bumbling around, but unfortunately, her spirit guide and mentor, Coyote, was noticeably absent for most of the book. Something Joanne barely seemed to register.

I did, on the plus side, really enjoy seeing more of the great characters I had met in book one. For me, the best thing about this series is the strong characterization. Murphy's secondary characters are exceptionally well-written, and I'm developing a big ol' soft spot for a couple of them in particular. And Joanne, herself, is growing on me now, too. Aside from the girlie whining about her magic in this book (which I hope was simply added to show character growth later on and that I won't have to suffer too much more of in subsequent books), she is mostly a cool and collect, dry-humoured kind of gal, and I love her tom-boy nature and her deep love for her car, Petite. She's also taken up fencing (she might as well since she stole an immortal warrior's sword, right?) so I'm hoping this means she'll become even more of a badass without her magic, as she is with it.

The last quarter of the book was very exciting, although it can get very confusing at times when Joanne is out of her body or on another plane of existence. I'll confess to only just barely following what was going on during these end scenes, but they were fascinating nonetheless. I'm hoping as the series progresses I'll be able to wrap my tiny brain around the different realities Joanne can exist in and it will all make way more sense to me.

Here's hoping!

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