Joanne is getting used to her Shaman powers and taking the lead more and more – though she still has plenty to learn and some surprising ambushes, especially on when her “warrior path” will or will not permit violence. Usually not.
Her plate is full this book – a domestic violence case that puts her in a very conflicted position, a Native American dance troop being preyed on metaphysically, her boss becoming a wolf and a series of dead and missing homeless people all vie for her attention. And at least some of it is linked to the dark thing that has been stirring in the books for so long.
And on top of that, her relationship with Morrison finally breaks that barrier – after so much denial and awkwardness, who knows where it will lead?
I found the plot interesting in a different way than I usually find the plot of this series interesting – they’re always fun detective stories with lots of magic and interesting twists that always end with a surprise – always. Not that all of that didn’t apply here – we had an excellent detective story that was immense fun – and an ending that was completely unexpected. I can’t really comment more beyond lots of positive there, the plot was fun, interesting, character driven and with a twist end – classic Walker Papersreally. If you liked the plots of the previous books, you’ll like this one
No, the difference was the amount of things that were brought in from the past – like Cyrano and Rita and Thunderbird Falls – into this book. Previously, each book had felt at least semi-standalone, this book was still fairly stand alone but had a lot more connections to previous events in the series. In addition, the plot was much more directly related to the lurking big bad. I feel the series is shifting more towards the meta, I am intrigued
Early in the series I had a problem with the metaphysical descriptions completely overwhelming the plot and leaving me lost confused and with a pretty massive headache. That’s nearly entirely gone – but there are still moments of confusion, especially when the metaphysical is involved in one of the fight or action scenes. There are moments towards the end of the book, at the wickerman, where I became rather hopelessly lost in magic and memory and completely lost track of the actual fight that was happening.
I think more than the plot, the main strength of this book is Joanne’s character development. She is reaching a new plateau in her power, settling into her role and into her relationships – both with her friends and finally, oh finally, with Morrison. They are just so awfully awkward and clumsy and fumbling together that they just had to get together. It has been on the cards for so long now and it’s excellent to see them finally pass that barrier. Even if the book didn’t have Gary in it.
One of the elements I love about this series is how Joanna has evolved as a character. I’ve complained before how Joanne seems to spend a lot of her time desperately trying to fix the messes she has made. And yes, she makes mistakes in this book and they cost her, she also acknowledges the mistakes she’s made. But she also has an epic scene where she stares down Coyote – big Coyote not Cyrano - and makes it clear if he doesn’t like the job she’s doing he can take the power off her and have done with it because she’s doing the best she can with the limited experience and knowledge at her disposal.