Next up: “Urban Shaman”, “Thunderbird Falls”, “Coyote Dreams”, “Walking Dead”, “Demon Hunts”, “Spirit Dances”, “Raven Calls”, “Mountain Echoes”, “Shaman Rises”, and “No Dominion” by C.E. Murphy
A completed series. “No Dominion” is a side collection of short stories.
Joanne Walker is a half-Cherokee half-Irish police officer who, against all possibilities, witnesses a crime from the window of her commercial jet as it passed low over Seattle to land at the airport. Her sense of duty and right propels her onward to check it out herself, which ends up getting her into a lot of trouble, since the crime is not your run-of-the-mill mundane sort of misdemeanor.
It was lucky of her (though she might argue that point) that her real name is actually Siobhan Walkingstick and she was a shaman from her father’s heritage and a celtic witch from her mother’s. The abilities and identity that she had been running from for most of her life now suddenly are thrust into prominence and are the only thing she and the people she is trying to protect can rely on to defend them from the god Cernunnos and his Wild Hunt.
The events of the first book are only the introduction into Joanne’s shamanism and her journey into accepting and growing into her heritage and power.
While the plots of the book don’t always stick in my mind as memorable, I did enjoy the books as I read them. There’s usually quite a bit going on in them, with the plot of ‘something supernatural threatens the city/world’ going on along with Joanne’s warring identities of cop and supernatural healer/warrior and personal life things. Joanne is definitely an interesting character, as she is far from faultless and she struggles a lot with herself.
I like the other characters in the series, too. Gary just steals the show sometimes; he’s great. Morrison, Joanne’s cop boss, is an interesting character because he plays not only a potential love interest but also sometimes an antagonist, because he is a policeman and can’t actually just let Joanne do all her weird shaman-y things because he’s beholden to the city and how is he supposed to explain this shit, Joanne? I also found myself liking Cernunnos, the horned god that appears in the first book and sort of lingers around the periphery of the series. He’s not a good guy but also not really a bad guy, which is just so very true to how the celts viewed their gods (at least in my hobbyist’s understanding of their history).
Urban fantasy is replete with this kind of series (person straddles line between mundane and magical and protects people from supernatural threats with some level of crime fighting), and this is a fair offering to the table. It does some things that are new and interesting, and some things that are common and endemic of the genre. I’m actually really grateful that there wasn’t a lot of romance that went on in these. There’s some tensions and a little bit of sexuality, but it doesn’t overwhelm the actual action plot. I appreciate a good romance side story, but not when sex or romantic relationships become the driving force behind everything, at the expense of what the plot was supposed to be. I don’t want urban fantasy to become synonymous with ‘thinly veiled excuse for the main character to bump uglies with werewolves and/or vampires’, please, that’d be awful.
Violence, some mild sexuality.