Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: Spirit Dances by C.E. Murphy

Good First-person narratives are hard to find.
Grade: A
The Story: Detective and Shaman Joanne Walker is accepting her dual nature as a healer and warrior. She has a long-running "Not a Thing" thing with her boss, the handsome Captain Morrison. Her mentor, Coyote, is her spiritual and shaman guide into multiple planes of existence and she is learning and sometimes going beyond his teachings. 
Jo is at a dance performance on a date with her boss when the lead dancer is murdered using psychic energy. She is immediately swept up in this new case, and begins attempting to trace the murderer and stop this evil power.
"God, I was talking and I couldn't shut up. I seized the program from Morrison, willing to start gnawing on it to give my mouth something else to do."
Plus: Jo's self-aware dialogue is refreshing to read! Her entire journey over the past few books is just amazing, and I can't get over how much fun she is when she accepts the magic in her. Jo learns to really get into the magic, and to spirit dance herself, to get up when she is beaten down. The shamanic drumming is brilliant to read - language is fantastically used to give a reader the feel of the drums throbbing:

"At first it was just the drummers, sound pulsing in almost invisible waves, for all that my eyes were closed. Then someone else joined in, using heavy steps to make a counter rhythm, one-two-three";

In other news, I'm happy to see Billy's wife being more involved in the story, and becoming much more three dimensional than before.
Overall: I'm excited about Spirit Dances and the magical steps Jo takes in her life and in her path as a Warrior Shaman. The ending was fantastic, and a perfect teaser for the next book in the Walker series!

Thanks to NetGalley for the Spirit Dances advance reader copy for review.
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  1. Am I correct that this is a book in a series? Can you read them apart, or do you need to start at book 1?

  2. Yes, it is a book in the Warrior shaman series (the 6th). While you don't have to start at the very first, perhaps you can start a little earlier in the series, to get a better sense of the HUGE struggle Jo goes through.
    She is such a normal, non-believer of a person, and when she discovers her shamanic side, she is completely unable to deal with it.


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