Stormwalker by Allyson James
Half-Navajo Janet Begay comes to Magellan to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the police chief's daughter. But the people of Magellan sense that Janet is not what she seems, and they're right.
Janet possesses extraordinary power which is tied to the storms that waft across the desert. The only person who can control her when she's caught in the storm's evocative power is Mick, a dark-haired, blue-eyed biker Janet can't seem to touch with her powers. He can weild fire and not get burned, and Janet's never sure where he goes when they're not together.
Together they investigate mysterious disappearances, which Janet fears are tied to her mother's people, the mythical gods from below the earth. They are helped along the way by Coyote and Crow, but these shapeshifting gods have their own agendas.
I've been putting off this review for a while now, because I had mixed feelings about how to rate it and what I actually thought of it. Like all things time is all you need. After reading it I though this book rocked, then after a bit I thought it was kind of average.
Native American themes and ideas have always interested me. Not too many PNR have included Native American themes and ideas, so I was an eager reader for Stormwalker.
The whole mythology was great. The idea of the element powers of earth and then the powers of the Beneath was well thought out. The explanation that James gives us is that there are layers of worlds. The beneath is a world below are own that has been “locked” away so that the creatures of the Beneath can't take over Earth. (Though I think author explains it better then me.) There's skin walkers which are always fun to learn about in Native American legends. In this case they are ugly rotting things that can take the skin of a human or animal, but in the beneath look like angels. Lecherous magic mirrors are also featured in this read, which had me laughing on numerous occasions. Coyote is also featured in here with a great rendition of what I would think he would look and act like. (Coyote is a Native American god, there's lots a legends about him out there.) That's just a tip of some of the magical things.
Janet is the key to opening up this door and bringing on the take over. Janet's mother is basically a goddess in the Beneath and has been working for years, maybe centuries, to get into earth. Wicked mothers have always been a favorite of mine for evil villains, and this one is evil to the bone. The way wicked mother goes about making a key to earth is really chilling and gave the mystery to the book a little edge, and twist on the dark side that I love.
Some things were a little flat, like how Janet moves to this town because she is trying to solve the mystery of a missing girl. She's been there for a year and is now restoring an old hotel to run. Personally the mystery should not have taken a year to solve, I think she just lacked motivation before which was just lazy. Plus, Janet's moved to the town to deal with her mother, but she has no plan or idea how to do it and has no powers to do it. By moving to this town, she is close enough to a vortex that her mother can send some of her power and influence through. Janet knows her mom has plans to use her to open the portals, because her mother had approached her years ago when she came close enough to the vortex. Yet Janet acts like it's a huge surprise when she finds out she's the key to the vortex! Ignorance is not bliss, or a good plot twist.
The love interest is really yummy and I would like more information on him. Of course I think Janet would like more information about him as well. They had been “going out” for about 6 months and Mick had not shared a thing about himself. In fact, he would go out and disappear for days at a time not giving Janet any details about what he was doing. Then he expected Janet to obey like a good little girl. That's why Janet broke up with him and left. When he steps back into her life right at the beginning of the book, Janet doesn't put up too much of a fight. Of course absolution is given at the end of the book. Mick couldn't tell her anything because he was sworn not to. He was sent to kill her because she was too dangerous, but he fell in love and kept talking his people into allowing her to live. That old ploy, is getting old.
So the romantic growth really didn't impress me. Neither did the fact that it took almost the whole book for Janet to figure out what Mick was. Within the first 20 pages I already knew what he is, even before James threw that BIG clue out there.
A save on the disappointing romance was the fun characters that come along with this ride. Maya the rude mouthed and completely annoying electrician is strangely lovable. The plummer, who is a magic wanna be, is really a fun comic relief that some how ends up adding a lot to the book. The over baring and absolutely infuriating police chief was fun butting heads with, and I would have preferred him as a love interest more. Other characters where really fun. Like the family Janet has been running away from and avoiding.
Considering how many books she has out, Stormwalker probably isn't as strong as it should be. Still it's a fun debut in a series and I love the Native American lore and what not. Looking on the plot and idea, this probably could be any other old book out there. A good mystery and awesome characters make this book really great! Sure there's an over whelming amount of you're-under-arrest moments, hotel getting recked scenes, and standard drama moments. This series just might go some where and I look forward to seeing the problems I had with this book being resolved.
Sexual Content: As stated above a lecherous magic mirror. Coyote is featured in here and he is a dirty old boy. Sex scenes aren't over powering and they're pretty light.
3/5- Good, I liked it.