Review: Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy ★★★★

Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Book one in the Walker Papers series
Publication Date: June 1, 2005
ISBN: 0373802234
Page Count: 352
My Rating: ★★★★

Summary
Joanne Walker has three days to learn to use her shamanic powers and save the world from the unleashed Wild Hunt.

No worries. No pressure. Never mind the lack of sleep, the perplexing new talent for healing herself from fatal wounds, or the cryptic, talking coyote who appears in her dreams.

And if all that's not bad enough, in the three years Joanne's been a cop, she's never seen a dead body -- but she's just come across her second in three days.

It's been a bitch of a week. And it isn't over yet.

REVIEW

This was a bit of a mixed bag for me. There were elements that I really liked, that I thought were written exceptionally well, and then there were elements that were lacking and spoiled the journey.

I'll start with the positives since, as you can see from my rating, they slightly outweighed the negatives for me.

The biggest positive by far was the characters. Particularly secondary and ancillary characters. I fell almost immediately in love with one in particular: Gary the Cabbie. It's so unusual to find a character of his advanced years (he's 73) and I just thought he was wonderful. It just proves not everyone in an urban fantasy has to be young, beautiful and badass (although, he is pretty badass if you ask me) and Gary's character brought a real richness to the story and I really believed the friendship that was formed between him and the main protag, Joanne Walker. I found myself "aw"ing at him frequently. He's a peach;)

Joanne herself took me slightly longer to warm up to . I found her "voice" seemed to change considerably over the course of the book, and I enjoyed her much more in the second half.

Another character that I enjoyed, and whom I suspect may have a wee soft spot for Joanne, was her boss, Michael Morrison. He, again, isn't described in the usual tradition of potential love interests as a flawless alpha male type - I believe she describes him as a super hero that's just starting to go to seed. At 39, his greying hair and laughter lines give him flaws that just set to make him all the more interesting in a way, and I really enjoyed their scenes together. Theirs is a very combative, antagonistic relationship which is amusing to read. I don't know for sure if he's meant to be love interest potential, but that's the feeling I got. I'll have to wait for future books to be sure.

Another aspect I really enjoyed was the overall plot. This one features the Wild Hunt. How many miles to Babylon? Unfortunately, though I did enjoy it, I had experienced similar themes in my beloved October Daye series, where they were done much, much better.

Onto what I didn't like so much.

Basically, it was a combination of two things: one, being the story telling. The plot was hazy and seemed to meander at times. And two - and this was the main one: the amount of stuff Joanne took in her stride. She experiences many life-altering things and learns much about herself in this book, and, not that I wanted her to fall apart or anything - it's good that she's strong - but she didn't ask one single question! Not one! There's taking things in your stride, and then there's completely unrealistic character behaviour, and Joanne fell on the wrong side of that fence. It almost would have been better if she had started out the book already knowing what she was and what she could do, because to start from nothing to where she ended up, with barely a raised eyebrow, just seemed incredible to me. And I didn't buy it.

So, as I said, a mixed bag, but I loved the characters so I will be giving book two a whirl to see how things go on from here. Hopefully the storytelling will have improved and, now that Joanne knows all of her abilities, the other issue won't matter as much either.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Authors

Adrienne Basso (1) Aimee Carson (1) Alison Bliss (1) Alyssa Everett (1) Amanda Ronconi (1) Amanda Scott (2) Amanda Stevens (4) Amie Kaufman (1) Amy Butler Greenfield (1) Amy Jarecki (3) Angela Highland (1) Angela Quarles (1) Ann Agguire (2) Anna Cruise (1) Anthea Sharp (1) Ashlyn Macnamara (1) Auralee Wallace (1) Barbara Longley (2) Bec McMaster (2) Beth Revis (1) Bianca D’Arc (1) Brenda Hiatt (1) C. J. Barry (1) C.E. Murphy (10) Cara Lynn Shultz (1) Carolyn Crane (1) Carrie Vaughn (3) Cassandra Rose Clarke (2) Cate Rowan (1) Cathy Yardley (1) Cayla Kluver (1) Cecilia Robert (1) Cecily White (1) Cecy Robson (1) Charlaine Harris (1) Chloe Jacobs (1) Chloe Neill (4) Chris Cannon (1) Christine Feehan (1) Christine O'Neil (1) Christine Warren (1) Cindi Madsen (1) Colette Ballard (1) Colleen Hoover (3) Connie Mason (2) Cora Carmack (1) Cynthia Hand (2) D.L. McDermott (1) Danielle L. Jensen (1) Danielle Monsch (1) Darynda Jones (3) Deborah Harkness (1) Deirdre Dore (1) Delilah S. Dawson (2) Devon Monk (5) Diana Pharaoh Francis (4) Dianne Duvall (2) Elizabeth May (2) Elizabeth Norris (1) Eloisa James (2) Emily Murdoch (1) Emma Jane Holloway (1) Emma Pass (1) Erica Kiefer (1) Eve Silver (1) Gail Carriger (1) Gail Z. Martin (1) Gena Showalter (4) H. P. Mallory (8) Hannah Howell (1) Heather McCollum (4) Helen Boswell (1) Ilona Andrews (10) Isabel Cooper (1) J. C. Daniels (1) J. Lynn (1) J.D. Robb (13) J.R. Ward (1) JA Huss (2) Jaime McGuire (1) Jax Garren (2) Jay Kristoff (1) Jaye Wells (4) Jeaniene Frost (3) Jenn Bennett (3) Jennifer Ashley (1) Jennifer Bray-weber (1) Jennifer Estep (5) Jennifer L. Armentrout (1) Jessa Slade (2) Jesse Petersen (1) Jessi Kirby (1) Jessica Andersen (1) Jessica Sims (3) Jessica Sorenson (1) Jessica Spotswood (1) Jill Monroe (1) Jim Butcher (1) Jo Barrett (1) Jocelyn Drake (1) Jocelynn Drake (1) Jody Wallace (3) Jolie Wilkins (4) Julianne Maclean (1) Julie Kagawa (4) Juliet Blackwell (2) Juliet Marillier (1) Juliette Miller (2) Kait Ballenger (1) Kalayna Price (5) Karalynn Lee (1) Karen Chance (7) Karen Greco (1) Karen Lord (1) Karen Marie Moning (1) Karen Rose (1) Karina Halle (10) Kate SeRine (4) Katherine Owen (1) Katie MacAlister (1) Katie McGarry (3) Katja Millay (1) Kelley Armstrong (2) Kelly Creagh (1) Kelly Hunter (1) Kelly Meding (2) Keri Arthur (2) Kerrelyn Sparks (5) Kerri Lake (1) Kevin Hearne (6) Kim Harrison (6) Kimberly Derting (1) Kresley Cole (4) Krista Holle (1) kristen Ashley (2) Kristen Britain (1) Kristen Callihan (3) Kristin Cashore (2) Kristin Miller (1) Krystal Wade (3) L. Shannon (1) L.M. Augustine (1) Laini Taylor (1) Larissa Ione (2) Laura Wiess (1) Laura Wright (1) Laurell K. Hamilton (2) Lauren Layne (1) Lauren Oliver (1) Laurin Wittig (1) Leigh Bardugo (1) Leigh Evans (4) Lesley Young (2) Linda Poitevin (4) Lindsay J. Pryor (3) Lindsey Piper (2) Lisa M. Basso (1) Lisa Shearin (5) Liz Long (1) Lizzy Ford (1) Lynn Kerstan (1) Lynn Kurland (1) Maggie Shayne (3) Maggie Stiefvater (1) Maisey Yates (1) Margaret Mallory (3) Mari Mancusi (1) Maria V. Snyder (4) Marie Force (2) Marie Rutkoski (1) Marilyn Brant (1) Mary Behre (1) Maya Banks (4) Meagan Spooner (1) Melissa Landers (1) Meljean Brook (2) Mia Marlowe (1) Mia Marshall (5) Michele Sagara (3) Michelle Diener (2) Michelle Rowen (1) Michelle Sagara (1) Michelle Willingham (1) Moira Young (1) Molly Harper (4) Monica McCarty (5) Morgan Matson (1) Nalini Singh (2) Natasha Hoar (2) Nenia Campbell (2) Nicola Cornick (1) Nicole Peeler (1) Nina Berry (1) Nyrae Dawn (2) Olivia Hardin (1) Ophelia London (1) Pamela Palmer (6) Patricia Briggs (7) Paula Altenburg (1) Paula Quinn (1) Rachel Van Dyken (1) Rachel Vincent (1) Ranae Rose (1) Rebecca Ethington (1) Rebekah R. Ganiere (1) Richelle Mead (1) Robin D. Owens (1) Robin LaFevers (2) Ruth A. Casie (1) Ruth Silver (1) Ryann Kerekes (1) S.M. Reine (1) Samantha Young (2) Sarah Harian (1) Sarah J. Maas (3) Seanan McGuire (5) Seleste deLaney (1) Seressia Glass (2) Shannon Richard (1) Shiloh Walker (3) Skye Callahan (1) Sophie Littlefield (1) Stacey Kennedy (1) Stacia Kane (6) Stephanie Rowe (3) Susan Ee (1) Susan Krinard (1) Susannah Sandlin (1) Sutherland series (1) Suzanne Brockmann (1) Suzanne Collins (2) Suzanne Enoch (1) Suzanne Johnson (2) Sylvia Day (1) Tahereh Mafi (3) Tammara Webber (1) Terri Brisbin (1) Thea Harrison (2) Theresa Weir (1) Tonya Kuper (2) Tracey Martin (1) Veronica Roth (1) Victoria Scott (1)