Saturday, March 21, 2009

Urban Shaman by CE Murphy

Ms. Murphy managed to do something I didn't think could be accomplished. She wrote this incredible story that seamlessly intertwines Celtic and Native American folklore and mythology. Let me tell you this is a book you don't want to put down. It is so vivid it's like a movie, but I haven't seen a movie this cool. Hollywood doesn't like to take chances on women in high prolife action roles. And this is definitely a woman's story. Joanne Walker is running away from her dual heritage as a Cherokee Native American and a woman of Irish descent. She just wants to be one of the guys and work on cars in the police unit, although she is a cop. But our destiny calls us, and we cannot run away from it. It only runs right into us. She has to face her identity when the shamanic heritage that she inherited from her dad awakens within her. It happens at a good time, because she's having to deal with Celtic deities wreaking havoc in her city. I really enjoyed the folklore elements. It was so cool to see Joanne taking on Cerunnos, the Horned God of Celtic myths, and also Hearne the Hunter. She has to stop the Wild Hunt from occurring and taking human souls. This is a book that you might want to read along with a mythology encyclopedia, or at least zip over to Wikipedia, because you will find yourself reading about people and things that might not ring a bell, but they are definitely part of folklore. Or if you are inclined towards the myths, you will think it's pretty cool. Don't let me forget to tell you that her spirit guide is a Coyote Trickster, a nod toward the Native American folkore. He talks in her dreams. Pretty surreal.

Another thing I liked was there was no sex. Okay now I'm going to get laughed at. But it is refreshing to read a woman's book where the heroine isn't fixated on her sex-life or lack therof, or is in a relationship or between relationships. Woman are complex creatures and it seems as though in fiction and the media, we are defined too often by our sexuality. Joanne is not a sexless being, don't get me wrong. There is tension with Cerunnos, who is clearly digging on her, and there is an attraction between Joanne and her boss Captain Morrison, who sounds really hot to me. I pictured Hugo Weaving as Cerunnos, complete with horns around the sides of his head that resemble a crown, and Angus MacFadyen as Morrison. I really did like the fact that Joanne was comfortable in a man's world and got along really well with the men she knew, and how much they respected her abilties.

If you enjoy great urban fantasy and like to read about women saving the day and coming into their own, you would really like this book.

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