Monday, February 7, 2011

Spirit Dances by CE Murphy

When I reviewed Demon Hunts (Walker Papers, Book 5) by C E Murphy, I said that it was the best in the Walker Papers series to date.  Well, as befits a series, Spirit Dances (Luna Books) trumps its predecessor as the best book in the Walker Papers.  And, the ending leads one to believe that there are better books to come.

The book opens with promise.  Joanne actually ends up, albeit accidentally, on a date with Morrison.  They are attending a performance of a Native American spirit dance, which I expected to lead to a lot of exploration of Joanne's shamanic side.  I was surprised when her interaction with the dance troupe was somewhat minimal, although it was very interesting to see how her power was affected by the dancers, especially their intentions.  There are new paranormal elements being introduced.  I'm not going to divulge what happens, but suffice it to say that Joanne has her perceptions and preconceptions about Magic Seattle expanded.  Most of the story is centered around Joanne--there is some presence of Billy and Melinda, even Morrison's presence is limited in a sense.  Joanne is beginning to rely on her instincts more and communes with her spirit animals, Raven & Rattler to test/control the limits of her power.

In fact, at one point, I was concerned that there was too much going on for the story to make sense in the end.  Not that I am necessarily one for neat, tidy endings--especially not in a series--but sometimes there can be too many things happening that the pieces fail to fit together cohesively enough to make sense.  Not so in this case.  Not only does everything come together to make sense, but it all points to an exciting new adventure for Joanne and a promising beginning for the next book, Raven Calls.

I have to admit that I was concerned that the Walker Papers would get stale.  Knowing that I was about to read the sixth book in the series led me to wonder where it would go.  I have stopped reading series that start repeating the same story lines or go too weird, even for paranormal fantasy.  However, C E Murphy uses this book to take the series in a new direction.  It leaves me with the impression that Joanne will continue to grow, both as a person and as a shaman, in the books to come.  I look forward to reading many more installments of the Walker Papers.

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