“The spirits of the city are missing and it’s not natural and it’s not evolution and it’s not right…”A Shaman-in-Training tasked to save the City. An Apprentice Druid with psychosomatic allergies. An Obsessive Compulsive Vampire. The High-priestess of The Friendlies. A Banshee with a penchant for modern art. A Giant, Flesh-Ripping Doggie. A Goblin who is the Second Greatest Shaman Ever.
Stray Souls by Kate Griffin is a fun, fun twist on the Urban Fantasy novel. Griffin mixes together quirky characters, support group principles and customs, a compelling assignment, and a healthy dose of fantasy to create a novel that made me laugh a lot.
Sharon Lu’s mantra is “I am beautiful. I am wonderful. I have a secret. The secret is…” Part of the secret is that she occasionally walks through walls. She takes the initiative and, with the help of Facebook, starts a support group called Magicals Anonymous. Think church basement and good snacks. Her leadership skills bring her to the attention of the mysterious Midnight Mayor. He recognizes that she is a burgeoning shaman and gives her the task of saving the City. It turns out that someone is stealing the souls of places in the city. A large, supernatural dog is ripping people to shreds. And, Greydawn is missing. She is the presence that accompanies people in the early morning and lets them know that they are not alone in the City. The Midnight Mayor connects Sharon with a teacher, a great shaman who has some major issues. Sharon also finds her spirit guide, who sounds a lot like a game show announcer. Sharon, along with her newly found tribe, work together to “Save the City.”
While Stray Souls is a fun romp, it is also a well crafted novel. Despite being supernatural, the characters are likeable and believable. Griffin is spot on when she describes the feeling of being alone at 4:30 in the morning, the time when Greydawn is present. To me that is soul stuff, something deeper than I would expect from a fantasy novel. Sharon’s upbeat, take charge manner reminds me of the personality that so many of us have adapted at times, particularly those of us who have dealt with the public on a regular basis. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.