Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Enchantment Emporium

At last I've finished my first book for Carl's R.I.P. V challenge! The reason I've taken so long is that I've been reading two books at once and that always slows me up. Anyway, The Enchantment Emporium was given to me by Pat at Here There and Everywhere and I was delighted to receive such a lovely surprise in the mail as it was a book I'd long been covetting.

Alysha Gale is a 'Gale girl'. Her family is headed by thirteen 'aunties'... witches aged from around fifty to over eighty. Her grandmother, Catherine Gale, is one of these so called 'aunties'. As a family they produce mainly girls, powerful girls... and the occasional boy who also tend to have powers, but can go 'rogue' at some stage. Catherine Gale owns a shop in Calgary, but she's gone missing, presumed dead, and lets it be known that Alysha, 'Allie', is to take over the shop. Seeing that Allie has just lost her job she sees it as an opportunity to spread her wings - the aunties are rather over-protective - and put a little distance between her and the family.

When Allie arrives in Calgary she finds the junk shop deserted, full of extremely odd objects and protected, 'charmed', to within an inch of its life by her witch grandmother. Why? What's going on? It isn't long before before Allie hires a leprechaun who was known to her grandmother but not liked. She is also approached by a reporter, Graham, who wants to do an article on the shop but who seems more than a little too interested in the doings of Catherine Gale. Graham is clearly not all that he seems, or rather 'more' than he seems. Allie is very attracted to him so it's no hardship to see more of him and try to find out if he knows what happened to her grandmother. It's clear to one and all that 'things are happening in Calgary' and that Allie is sorely needed to sort it out and, maybe, even save the world.

Well, I have to say, I really liked this one. It did take me a little while to get into. The first fifty pages are full of new characters and things are alluded to and it's quite hard to get a concrete handle on what's going on. After that, the plot takes off at a rollicking speed and it's a pageturner.

This is actually my first book by Tanya Huff. I know she's popular and I've had her other supernatural books recced to me often enough, I've just not got to them. My husband has, and he really likes them. Her style is pacey, easy going, with quite a bit of funny, snappy dialogue. Running through the whole book is a lot of sexual ambivilence, what Jack Harkness might call 'omnnisexuality'. In fact, it's clear Huff is a Torchwood fan as both Jack and Torchwood get a mention... something which delighted me. I liked that ambivilent aspect of the book a lot... this is not a children's book but neither is it explicit in an adult manner, simply open to different ideas.

I also liked Allie - she reminded me a bit of Mercy Thompson from Patricia Briggs's series. She's a modern, independent woman who looks after herself and takes no nonsense from anyone. Other favourite characters - cousin Charlie (a woman) who can get magically from place to place by flying through 'the wood', Joe the leprechaun, and Graham although I would have to say that, in general, the male characters do not have the same depth as the women in this book.

Overall, a good first read for this Halloween challenge. FantasticFiction lists this one as a stand-alone. I hope it's not! I'd love to read more of Allie's adventures in Calgary and I would say the book is very open to this... lots more to discover about all the characters - especially the aunties I'd say. And I would like to know how Allie's relationship with Graham continues and matures. Recommend this to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy with a touch of horror.


Anonymous said...

Cath, I really like the sound of this one. I'm off to see if it comes in Kindle format. I did a little poking around and found one site that said that there will be a sequel in 2011 that will tell Charlie's story. Thanks for the review. I have not read any of Tanya Huff's books yet.

DesLily said...

hooray for you! but I see you are reading 2 books at once yet again! I think Huff had a thing for "witches" (mainly "good witches) anyway.. glad you enjoyed the book!! at the moment I am having a like/ dislike affair with Broms book.

Kailana said...

This sounds good. I have never read Tanya Huff before, but she is an author I have always planned to read. I will have to keep this one in mind! Thanks for the review!

LIzF said...

This sounds good - I really enjoy the Patricia Briggs books so if it reminds you of them then all the better.
Is it Tanya Huff who wrote the series of books about the ex-policewoman and the vampire that got made into a TV series?

Cath said...

Kay: I hope you found it in kindle format! I'm thrilled that you poked around and found out that there is to be a sequel next year. Charlie is easily one the most interesting characters in the book so her story should be very readable indeed. Thanks for that.

Pat: No longer reading two books at once... in fact reading so quickly at the moment I'm two books behind on reviews and soon to be three. Might need a catch up post.

I did enjoy the book very much and thank you for passing it on.

Kailana: I think with your love of Kelley Armstrong, Tanya Huff would be right up your street.

Liz: I enjoys Patricia Briggs's books a lot too. I wouldn't say this was quite as good as hers but Huff is not far behind.

I don't know of a TV series with an ex-policewoman and a vampire. True Blood is the only vampire series I can think of and the girl in that is a waitress I think. We saw two episodes of that series, thought it was horrible and didn't watch any more. I think I prefer reading about vampires to watching them on TV.

Darla D said...

I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this! It is one of my favorites, and I hope that it might get a sequel or even a book that follows one of the other characters. I loved this world she created! She did write a series about an ex-cop and a vampire, which I'm in the middle of rereading. I haven't seen the TV show, but the books are a lot of fun.

Cath said...

Darla: Kay said that she did some investigating and thinks there will be a book next year about Charlie. Can't wait!!!

Do you mean the 'Blood' series by Tanya Huff? I had no idea it had been made into a TV series, or that it was about an ex-cop and a vampire. My husband's read a few and liked them a lot. Time to try them perhaps...

Darla D said...

That's fantastic news, Cath! I will be very excited to read anything she writes set in this world - it is so rich and detailed, it seems like there are so many possibilities. The Blood series is one of the very first of the paranormal series that are so common today, and it's a lot of fun. I'll be interested to hear what you think of it!

Cath said...

Darla: I think one of the reasons I haven't tried the Blood series yet is that my library doesn't have the first book. I'll order it via the inter-library service. I'm also visiting another library tomorrow so I may be lucky and find it there.

Darla D said...

Cath - Yes, it's good to read the first one first! I hope you can find it tomorrow. I'll be interested to hear what you think of the series.