Review: Shaman Rises
Shaman Rises by C.E. Murphy
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
It's been a brutal year filled with non-stop changes for Joanne Walker. This is the end for her. The Master who has destroyed her life is finally going to confront her directly. Or is he? Joanne experiences even more loss in this book. While she's fighting him directly, he is using her friends and loved ones against her.
Ms. Murphy weaves a tale of heart-break, betrayal and a happily for now. This book leaves a reader feeling unresolved in some aspects while explaining why the Master is the way he is. It's fascinating and when a reader thinks about it, it makes so much sense why he is so aggressive and why he keeps trying to gain a foothold in this world.
Ms. Murphy excels at creating her characters to be fallible. No matter how great their intentions are and how they want to be, there is always a chink in their armor which brings them to their knees. In this story, it is one gut punch after another. Honestly, I'm not sure how Joanne survives the betrayals and reveals. The entire situation seems hopeless. Even when a god comes to help her, it may not be enough to win against the Master.
This story is an exercise in frustration, perseverance and sacrifice. Joanne may perform magic and she may fight as a warrior, yet it isn't enough to save everyone. What I liked about this is the realism. If it was an easy sacrifice, it wouldn't mean as much. Still, the amount of losses Joanne experiences is probably above the threshold for most Americans who love their Disney endings. This story takes on a Grimm-esque flavour. There are definitely many lessons a reader can take away from this book. It's almost too heavy handed at times which may leave a reader feeling battered down and screaming "Uncle" for mercy. For the masochist readers who thrive and revel in emotional trauma as well as brutal physical endurance, this story will be right up their alley.
I must admit, for the majority of this book, the main emotion I felt is hopelessness. I cringed, anticipating the next bad thing to happen. Ms. Murphy never failed me as she continued with the collateral damage. At one point, it was almost easier to urge Joanne to just let it all go and have someone else take the mantle to save the world because it was all too much. Ms. Murphy's rallying of the troops balances this desolation in a way that only strong family and friends bonds can accomplish. It's a beautiful thing and one learns that losing a battle does not equal losing the war. And winning a battle or two doesn't equate to winning the war. In this fast paced fighting, keeping an eye on the end game is what counts. This urban fantasy is recommended to those who enjoy rooting for the underdog.
*provided by NetGalley
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