Thursday, June 30, 2011

Shaman's Blood

Shaman’s Blood
By:  Anne C. Petty
ISBN:  9781936564200
Published August 5, 2011 by JournalStone
Available Format:  Paperback, ebook

My Rating: ★★★★★

When Cadjer Harrow, a half-blood shaman, carelessly bonds himself with an Australian Dreamtime shadow demon, he curses his family for generations to come. Shaman’s Blood opens in the early adolescence of Ned Waterston as he runs, literally, for his life. The problem is, what Ned is running from cannot be outrun.  Ned’s entire life will be spent attempting to undo the shadowy curse that plagues his bloodline. 

As a museum curator, Alice Waterston is fully educated in Dreamtime legends, but as near unfathomable events begin to occur more and more often, Alice has no other choice than to suspect a deeper connection to the mythologies. It is up to Alice and her daughter Margaret to finish what her ancestors began so many years ago.

I received a copy of Shaman’s Blood from the publisher for proofing and review.

I believe one of the things I liked most about this book is the way Petty basically included the entire lifespan of a human being through different characters. She captures childhood and adolescence in the lives of both Ned and Margaret. On top of that, she expertly showcases some of the significant differences between the generations—the hippy of Ned’s lifetime versus the mannerisms and trends of a modern teen—from hitchhiking and getting high to manga chat rooms and iPhones. She was absolutely spot on even in their language, clothing, and social behaviors. Alice and Nik exemplify middle age, trying to raise a daughter, mourn a mother, and literally fight their own demons along the way. In Cecil Rider and Uncle Hal, the reader gets to experience the older adult with their wisdom, growing frailty, and terrible secrets. Furthermore, Petty also does an amazing job weaving together two completely separate cultures—the very familiar American and the mysterious Aboriginal. 

For me, the ‘horror’ of this novel is the demons and the way they stalk and incorporate themselves into the lives of these characters through very real nightmares and shape-shifter hallucinations. I was less than pleased to be confronted with an evil Quinkan snake in the first chapter, and I won’t even mention the disgusting giant tick! The ‘suspense’ lay in the simple questions:  Why were these people being haunted by this evil, and how were they going to stop it?  Anne Petty’s ability to write an amazing horror/suspense novel is entirely undeniable. 

I absolutely cannot wait to see where this story goes next, and I encourage everyone to pick up a copy in August!!

This review can also be found at