Just finished up with “Urban Shaman” by C.E. Murphy, and I have to say it was a pretty enjoyable read. Primarily a mystery set in modern day Seattle, and fantasy-flavored with more than a bit of myth and legend from both the Celtic and Native American traditions, the reader is introduced to Joanne Walker, or as named at birth by her Irish mother, and Native American father, Siobhan Walkingstick. Walker works for the local police agency as an auto mechanic but upon her return from an extended leave of absence due to a family emergency, finds herself promoted to officer in order to meet minority quotas. From the moment she arrives home in Seattle, she becomes embroiled in a mystery involving the god Cernunnos & his mystic Hunt, and after a near-death experience, learns that she is endowed with the powers of a fledgling shaman.
Murphy does take more than a few liberties with what she deems as shamanic powers, and is a tad liberal with her portrayals of Native American & Celtic myths as well, but hey-this is fiction, right? It’s always bugged me when people get all in uproar over some film or book because its portrayal isn’t “accurate.” C’mon guys, it’s a work of fiction-if the author wanted to portray something entirely accurate, you’d be reading non-fiction or watching a documentary. Loosen up. Anyway. I digress. While Murphy does use creative license very liberally, those who are familiar with these particular myths will clearly see what she has embellished upon, and find that it compliments her tale perfectly. The imagery she gives us as a window into this world is, I think, the best part of the work, however. The images are very detailed, and filled with description, but not tediously so, really allowing the reader to sink into the story and get lost.
I do have to mention that there are a few minor things we learn about the main character that aren’t ever fully explained, or brought to a conclusion of some sort-I believe this is because the author plans to continue on with this storyline as a series. In retrospect, this probably wouldn’t even be an issue for the regular reader. I am, admittedly, a bit nit-picky. *s* I’ll keep you updated as to whether there’s a sequel or not-I’d like to read more of Murphy.
To conclude, I’d have to say that “Urban Shaman” is a good pick for a lighthearted read, especially if you’re into the fantasy and mystery genres. Check it out at your local library!
My next book on the “to do” list is “Good Omens,” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. If you remember, I had mentioned that I had gotten this book a few weeks ago, but ended up not reading it as I wasn’t “in the mood.” Well, due to a comment left by eirsinitiate, I renewed it, and am giving it a second chance! I’ll give you my thoughts on it when I’m done.