I was reading Wyrd Calling on my kindle, which is a very weird experience, when the latest (very positive) review of Wyrd Calling came through from one of my advanced readers!
I was provided a free advanced release copy of Wyrd Calling by Shen Hart, an author I know, in exchange for an unbiased review.
Wyrd Calling is a powerful and complex tale about a female shifter named Thalia who is bound by the Wyrd Sisters to solve a series of murders in a distant city. She is ordered to assume co-leadership of a group of shifters, unwittingly paired with a partner from her dark (or should I say “even darker?”) past. The book explores Thalia’s ambivalence about her life situation and her personal growth in the context of the pack and their mission.
Most striking to me is the author’s ability to develop characters that are complex and interesting, slowly and indirectly revealing bits and pieces until a fully relatable (or hateable, in some cases) character emerges. There is something really unique about the way that the animalistic traits of the protagonist and her pack are conveyed. Elements of the peaceful but distractible raven, the intimidating jaguar, and the predatory red wolf are interwoven to form Thalia, a head-strong, sensual, and sometimes brutal woman who repeatedly struggles for freedom from the Sisters as she leads her unruly pack of cubs. And each character of the book is as thoughtfully developed as the main one.
The vivid imagery in Wyrd Calling, not only of landscape and cityscape, but of the subtleties of shape shifting itself – how the characters’ moods were reflected in the shifts of tails, ears, teeth, or jaws – was captivating. There is also amazing imagery surrounding shadow dancing and the other energies.
I must admit, urban fantasy is not a genre I’ve read before. I was afraid that I would be left in the cold by my lack of knowledge of the shifters, faes, elves, and other assorted beings found there. Fortunately, all I needed to understand was woven into the story without disruption to the flow or pace of the book.
As I understand it, this is the first volume of a series. I can’t wait for the next, not only because I’m left wondering what happens next, but because I want to fill in some of the hinted-at but not quite revealed back-story of Thalia (or is it Suriel?)!