Spiral Hunt (2009)
Apparently John Scalzi has created a devious plot to separate me from my money. He’s calling it “The Big Idea” and has authors talk about their recent works. The last book to catch my attention was Margaret Ronald’s Spiral Hunt. Since ordering that I’ve been all but avoiding his site before I find another book to order.
Evie is a finder, and as far as she knows, her brand of magic is unique. It’s hard to know for certain, however, because in Boston anyone who foolishly shows any magic potential is grabbed up by the Fiana, so anyone with magical talent hides their talent and knowledge, and tries to blend in with the rest of the population that knows nothing about magic.
Unfortunately, things go awry for her when her phone rings in the middle of the night and it’s someone from her past. That call leads her to the undercurrent and into the attention of the Fiana, and nothing good can come from that.
I thoroughly enjoyed Spiral Hunt. Evie is a strong character, in a realistic situation. She’s making ends meet–but like many people she’s living on the edge, and holding down a second job while she tries to make her agency work. She’s had a difficult life–some of which she did to herself, some of which the world did to her, so she doesn’t trust easily, but does have friends and people she can talk to, even if she can’t tell them everything.
I think that’s one thing that struck me. For someone hiding what they are, and trying to deal with their past, she’s about as sane as you can get. She doesn’t trust easily, but she does have those she can lean on, if she decides to do so. I also like her (at least temporary) solution to lacking health care.
But what I liked best was the Celtic mythology woven into the story. I’m a huge fan of folklore and folktales, and this story is just chock full of both. Plus there’s action and adventure, and although there is some boinking, it’s not front and center, which is always a bonus as far as I’m concerned.
So if you like urban fantasy and Celtic folklore and even more like the two combined, then I recommend checking out Spiral Hunt.
Wild Hunt (2010)
The sequel to Spiral Hunt finds Evie discovering that destroying the undercurrent’s power structure, while and good thing in and of itself, had unforseen repercussions. For one, some people now expect her to fill the void. For the other, if she doesn’t do it, someone else will.
I quite liked Spiral Hunt, but had a very hard time getting into Wild Hunt. I ended up carrying it around in my purse and reading it during lunch for a couple months, but finally buckled down and just finished it.
It’s not that this was a bad book–it wasn’t. I just didn’t find it nearly as engrossing as I did the first book, and I’m not sure I can put my finger on why.
Evie is still interesting and complex, but I suspect I found her discover of who she was more interesting than her discover of precisely what her powers can do to be. I was also thrown off by the romance between Evie and Nate. It wasn’t badly done, I just didn’t actually feel like they were really attracted to each other. I felt the concern Evie had for Katie, but never felt like Evie had the same concern for Nate.
Additionally, I’m not certain Evie is anywhere near powerful enough that some of those wanting to take control in Boston simply wouldn’t squash her like a bug.
So, it wasn’t a bad book, but it never drew me in the way the first book did.
Published by Eos