The bestselling author of the Blood Books delivers a masterful new urban fantasy.
Alysha Gale is a member of a family capable of changing the world with the charms they cast. Then she receives word that she’s inherited her grandmother’s junk shop in Calgary, only to discover upon arriving that she’ll be serving the fey community. And when Alysha learns just how much trouble is brewing in Calgary, even calling in the family to help may not be enough to save the day.
[Originally posted on Amazon 8/16/09]
This is one of the most interesting books I’ve read so far this year, though as others mentioned, Huff pushes the envelope with some of the subject matter.
The book is a difficult starter. There is next to no background given for the world building done here, so the reader has a steep learning curve at the beginning trying to make sense of it all, while also following the plot as it develops. However, all that straining to make the pieces fit quickly pays off as the story starts to hit its stride.
A great deal of what I read is urban fantasy and while many authors put their own stamp on staples such as witches and vampires, I can’t recall anything quite as unique as Huff’s Aunties in The Enchantment Emporium. They’re funny, nosy, meddling, powerful, and if you really pay attention, quite scary considering that they answer only to themselves. There is no attempt from the author in the writing to justify what they do and why they do it, it’s all just presented as-is, which I think is part of why I was so fascinated. The magic system is also relatively unique in that it’s all accomplished via charms (magical symbols which are drawn).
I’m not going to bother discussing the plot since it’s covered to enough degree in the book description and other reviews. The story itself is okay, but isn’t actually what enthralled me with this particular book and that’s why I gave it four instead of five stars. What truly grabbed me is the outstanding world building, a wide variety of very interesting characters, especially the main character, who is growing up and into her power, and some of the best writing I think that Huff has done. So if you’re looking for something different and are willing to take a chance on a book that may be a bit more difficult in some ways than the norm, give this one a try.
Here’s a couple of my Kindle highlights from the book to give a taste. (I love Huff’s humor in her writing.):
Okay, there didn’t have to be a body. Given what it would take to kill Gran, a body after the fact had to be considered optional.
“You know what the aunties are like. Gran’s gone, someone broke the security on a gate to let the dragons through, and they’re going to blame the sorcerer for both those things as well as the hike in Calgary’s transit fares, middle-aged women wearing jeans that barely cover their asses, and SciFi canceling The Dresden Files.”
[Blog Note: Many of the readers in the Amazon reviews took great exception to the fact that sex between cousins is not only common in the Gale family, but encouraged. It was labeled as incest left and right. Considering it’s legal for cousins to marry in some states I thought this was an extreme overreaction. The main romance in the story is with a male character, but Allie also has an established relationship with Charlie, a female cousin.]