Happy news!!! The Mermaid’s Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy] was the #1 paperback bestseller at both Mysterious Galaxy and Uncle Hugo’s–two wonderful and well-known SF/F bookstores–for the month of October!
I just finished reading The Enchantment Emporium [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy] the latest novel by Tanya Huff. I consider myself a pretty big fan of Huff’s work. She was doing awesome urban vampires when Stephenie Meyer was still learning to type. I love her Keeper series, her military SF … yeah, I’m a fan.
In many ways, The Enchantment Emporium feels like a typical Huff book. You’ve got the strong female protagonist, Allie Gale, a witch who inherits her grandmother’s shop when grandmother disappears. You’ve got fun, interesting secondary characters popping up. You’ve got the snappy dialogue, the humor, the Canadian setting, and all of the little touches that make a good story even more fun to read (I loved the yo-yos!) Allie is away from her family for the first time, trying to find out what happened to her grandmother while dealing with an immanent dragon invasion and worse.
Warning — minor spoilers follow!
I’m still thinking about this one, and would love to hear from anyone else who’s read the book. I think my biggest hesitation comes from the intertwining of sexuality and magic, and the way that’s written. The Gale family of witches is … let’s call them highly liberal. Like the royals of old, there’s a lot of inbreeding, mostly to keep the magic strong within the family. I’m okay with that part of the story. It makes sense, and it’s hinted several times that the Gales aren’t 100% human. Different species, different taboos, right?
But then you have scenes of group spellcasting, where the males go rather staglike from so much power, and have to be brought back down, sexually. I.e., “That was a big ritual. I’d better do Bob to keep him from exploding.”
Like I said, I’m still thinking about it. The characters are all written to be open and comfortable with the situation. So what happens between consenting adult mostly-human witches shouldn’t be a problem, right? But I guess the fact that magic essentially forced them into sex troubles me, and I wish Huff had gone a little deeper into that.
I’ve heard complaints that there isn’t enough explanation or exposition about the magic system, other dimensions, and so on, but I didn’t have that problem. I think most experienced fantasy readers will be okay, but newcomers to the genre might be better off starting with one of Huff’s other works.
So if you’ve read the book, what did you think? If you haven’t but read the whole post anyway, I still want to know what you think 🙂