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Review: 46. Spirit Dances by C.E. Murphy...

April 8, 2011
Ok, so I'm not quite one of the first-in-line to read C.E. Murphy's latest Walker Papers installment. But I inhaled it as soon as I could, and whoa! Just whoa...

spirit dancesTitle: Spirit Dances (Walker Papers #6)
Author: C.E. Murphy
ISBN-13: 9780373803255
Publisher: Luna, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Purchased

drey's thoughts:
Oh my goodness!! The ending to Spirit Dances totally knocked me over. Don't get me wrong, it was a good knock-me-over,  but I'm still digesting it... On the one hand, I'm soooooooo happy for Joanne. On the other I'm like, "wait, what???" Way for C.E. Murphy to leave me hanging! When is Raven Calls coming out? Aargh!!!

Ok, ok, let's start at the beginning. After Demon Hunts, which I cannot believe I didn't review (I will have to rectify that oversight!!), Joanne's made some discoveries about her magic and her path, and Morrison seems to be a bit more open-minded where it relates to things magical. Not that he likes it, but still--'tis an improvement.

Spirit Dances starts Joanne off with an automatic suspension and, of all things, a date. With Morrison. So what if it was accidental? A date is a date. And this one is to a Native American ghost dance performance, which has Joanne intrigued. Unfortunately, quite a few things go awry, and now Joanne's not only trying to find out who's stealing souls but she also has to find Morrison. Can she do it all?

Character: I heart Joanne. She is so kick-ass when she has to be, but when she's not, she is so normal. Flustered at talking to the guy she likes, trying to hide that fact, failing miserably at it, blushing up a storm when her friends tease her about said guy... And she's funny. Have I mentioned that yet? Yeah, Joanne's funny, especially when trying to not insert foot into mouth (which usually happens when around that guy). Like "... hair's not like a leg. It grows back."

My favorite Joanne trait? Her innate goodness. The best heroines  have a compass that keeps them on their path, even when doing the right thing isn't easy (i.e. almost kills you), doesn't make you any friends (who needs friends anyway?), and sometimes doesn't feel like it's the right thing. And for Joanne, her magic is showing a definite opinion on what it prefers to be used for. Can you imagine if that was you, and your magic essentially passes judgement on your actions? Whoa. Of course, Joanne handles that the only way she knows how--she's confused, but keep moving forward. There'll be time to figure things out later, as long as she can save the world now.

The supporting cast of characters are plentiful, but our usuals don't really feature much in this Joanne-rich installment--not even Morrison. I will 'fess up to picturing Daniel Craig as Morrison. Yeah, I know, I know, he's not tall enough. But he does look yummy in a penguin suit. Anyway. I liked the Morrison that made an appearance in Spirit Dances. He's more open-minded, and seems to have loosened up quite a bit, and it shows in his interactions with Joanne. I'm hoping he's like a cognac that improves with time... *wink*

Pace & Plot: Unlike portions of Demon Hunt, where Joanne was almost paralyzed by lack of knowledge on what to do about the wendigo, there are no slow spots in Spirit Dances. Sure, there are things she doesn't know about this particular evil that she's hunting, but she doesn't have time to slow down. So it's full speed ahead, and keep-your-fingers-crossed-there-isn't-a-train-waiting-to-smash-you-to-bits.

I really enjoyed the multitude of Native American references, too. In the other books, other than Coyote and the occasional nod to her heritage, Joanne's Cherokee heritage isn't made much of (unless I just never noticed). But here, it's front and center, from the description of the ghost dance, to her spirit animals' assistance in her task.

drey's rating: 5/5 Outstanding! This is the best Walker Papers book yet.

Have you read the Spirit Dances yet? What did you think?


Chris B. @Arduanne said...

I agree Drey, the ending was fantastic! I really love this series and the characters. I did miss Gary in this novel though. I hate that he missed out on a lot of big stuff in Jo's life.

drey said...

Hey! New commenter! Welcome! :)

I missed Gary too, but I laughed when Morrison actually wondered about him out loud!

Toby R. United Kingdom said...

Yes, It was an excellent read although that ending had me muttering elaborate curses in long dead languages ;)

drey said...

I know!!!! Now I'm just antsy, I wanna KNOW what happens next! And who's going to be in that installment?? Aargh!!

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