Alysha Gale’s cousin Charlotte is a Wild Power, who allies herself with a family of Selkies in a fight against offshore oil drilling. The oil company has hired another of the Gale family’s Wild Powers, the fearsome Auntie Catherine, to steal the Selkies’ sealskins. To defeat her, Charlotte will have to learn what born to be Wild really means in the Gale family…
This blurb came from DAW Books here.
I have read most of what Ms Huff has published so I know that sometimes she writes series and other times she writes standalones. I have also learned during my years of reading that even though I might think a book is screaming for a sequel the author doesn’t agree with my line of thinking so I don’t always get my sequels. I am not saying that every book must become part of a series just that some of them I think should. I am sure you can image my excitement when I found out that Ms Huff was writing a sequel to THE ENCHANTMENT EMPORIUM my review is posted here. Since I really enjoyed reading , I felt like I was dancing on air when I was given the opportunity to read and review THE WILD WAYS.
Charlotte commonly known as Charlie played a significant role in the previous book. Some of her actions enabled key people to be in certain places at certain important times. I apologize for the vagueness but I am trying to avoid any major spoilers. Charlie is what they call a Wild Power. Wild Powers are those ones that only show up occasionally and those that have them don’t tend to exactly follow the established ways. The Aunties tend to be torn between wanting to see if they can tame and keep that power within the family or if that particular power should die out when the individual possessing it does.
Charlie continues to make her living as a traveling musician because while she cares deeply about her family she continues to be too wild to put down roots in one location. Over several different locations and times Charlie keeps hearing about a new proposed offshore oil drilling site and the associated protests. While working in a Celtic band that was working a particular circuit over the season she meets some of the Selkies and becomes embroiled in their situation.
I enjoyed several things about this book. One of which I have mentioned in other reviews and that is I got to find out “what happened next”. Ms Huff provided a definite sense of continuity and didn’t just leave the reader with the belief that after the climatic events in THE ENCHANTMENT EMPORIUM that everything was going to be perfectly smooth. After all once an Auntie, always an Auntie, regardless of what happened to your previous power base.
Another thing that I enjoyed was that Charlie remained true to her character as it was previously established. Just because her favorite cousin settled down didn’t mean that she was going to follow suit and settle. She also retained her loyalty to her family by blood and those by choice. The underlying theme in this series about the importance of choice continues as Charlie was required to make choice after choice that would result in defining what she could do and who she would become. A saying I have read and heard many times is that, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and Charlie gets the chance to live up to that saying.
As Ms Huff moved between the actions on each side, it was fascinating to match what I guessed with what Charlie learned. Yes I had an advantage because I could see both sides but I couldn’t see or predict what the other players would do or what Charlie would choose to do. I think this technique also added to the tension as events unfolded and the reactions to those events came quicker and quicker. And yes, Ms Huff gave me Dragons (I mentioned that I hoped to see more of them in my review of THE ENCHANTMENT EMPORIUM). Not the way I imagined, but this story couldn’t have happened without them.
I enjoyed reading this, finding out ‘what happens next,’ and delving into the unpredictable Charlie. The only thing that some readers might find problematic with THE WILD WAYS is that it does not seem to stand on its own. In other words you really need to read THE ENCHANTMENT EMPORIUM to understand a large amount of the nuances that are key to THE WILD WAYS. Since I read the previous book and I have a habit of re-reading an entire series before I read the newest installment this did not bother me. Taking both reader habits in mind I give THE WILD WAYS an A-.