Tuesday, January 8, 2013

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Shaman, Healer, Heretic by M. Terry Green

Shaman, Healer, Heretic (Olivia Lawson Techno-Shaman #1)
M. Terry Green

Page Count: 328

Release Date: 19 January 2011
Publisher: self-published
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Even for a techno-shaman, a kachina in the bedroom isn't exactly part of the drill. When Olivia Lawson wakes to find one towering over her, she panics. A Hopi god visiting the real world isn't just wrong—it's impossible.

Or is it?

Soon Olivia learns that the kachina is the least of her worries. As she struggles to save her clients, clashes with other shamans, and fends off the attacks of real-world vigilantes, Olivia finds herself in the destructive path of a malevolent ancient force intent on leaving the spiritual realm to conquer this one.

Left with few options, Olivia is forced to defy centuries of shaman prohibitions. As she and her allies risk everything in their bid for survival, Olivia ultimately learns that the rules are there for a reason and that breaking them has a terrible cost.

Review


I've never encountered shamanism, let alone techno-shamanism, in literature before, but I could really get used to it. It's a fascinating, dare I say "new age" concept, with a mystical, but not quite fantastical feel; its foray into the urban fantasy genre is thrilling, engaging, and makes for a damn good story.

Something is terribly wrong in the shaman world, a different plane from human existence in which alternative healers work, and Olivia Lawson may have a lead. The kachina in the real world could be a sign, rather than a threat, but she's going to have to use her powers, and her resources, to fully trust that instinct. 


Green's story is masterfully structured, perfectly woven together, and perfectly paced. She adds just enough shaman culture into the mystery of the lethal kink in their multiverse. Combined with wacky technology, an unexpected (climbing) death toll, and the common vexations of our modern world, this sci-fi/thriller cross is sure to please all readers of the contemporary urban fantasy genre.


As a shaman, Olivia is relatively new and unexperienced at the practice, but her spirit helper is lightning, automatically making her a legendary and rare healer with power even she herself is yet to fully discover. The fact that the kachina has come to her, and that her own trips to the middleworld and underworld are going astray is no coincidence; the kachina wants her... or at least her attention.


Olivia seems to have a complicated, painful past involving her initiation into shamanism, but none of this is explained, which was a bit frustrating. Green hints at these little waverings, but never fully goes into them; this intrigued me greatly. While Olivia isn't explored deeply as a character, there is enough of her genuine personality throughout the book for me to like her and her attitude towards her personal life and work. She has admirable ethics, and way more courage and motivation than I could ever muster; a true heroine I'll stay loyal to.


At first, the story was disorienting because it appears to begin in medias res. I had a little difficulty going into it because there was so much about shamanism introduced at once (kachina? huh?), but I warmed up to the concept quickly; I guarantee you will too.


When shaman responsibilities wreck her personal life, Olivia knows she needs to take a stand. Breaking centuries of time-worn rules of the shaman world, she is determined to resolve this catastrophe once and for all, but little does she know of its disastrous consequences. 

Pros


Absorbing // Well-written // Clear, concise structure that's easy to follow // A little romance (just the right amount) // Heart-stopping plot twists and betrayals // Fascinating topic of shamanism // I couldn't put this book down!

Cons


A bit disorienting at first // Not enough of Olivia's backstory

Verdict


No one is left at mercy in M. Terry Green's unpredictable, un-put-down-able, and addicting debut. I'm dying to try the next book in the Olivia Lawson Techno-Shaman series, which is rare for me... usually I don't like series much! (I was fortunate enough to snag a copy of the sequel, Shaman, Friend, Enemy, as well, so look out for a review of the second installment of that soon). Cunningly presented, lush in detail, but not too dense, Shaman, Healer, Heretic is a must-read for those searching for a breath of fresh air in the urban fantasy genre. Let's move away from demons and angels, shall we? Shamans are the next big thing Americanflag

8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended (x)

[NOTEDiscover what happens in the next chapter of Livvy's exploits by reading my review of the sequel, Shaman, Friend, Enemy here.

See what I thought of the third book, Shaman, Sister, Sorceress, by clicking here!