The Gale family can change the world with the charms they cast, and they like to keep this in the family. Alysha Gale is tired of having all her aunts try to run her life, both personally and magically. So when the letter from her Gran arrives willing her a “junk” shop in Calgary, Alysha jumps at the chance. It isn’t until she gets there that she realizes her customers are fey. And no one told her there’s trouble brewing in Calgary-trouble so big that even calling in the family may not save the day…
This blurb came from Daw Books HERE.
I know that when I pick up a story by Ms Huff I am in for a treat. I will get action/adventure, strong well-rounded characters be they male, female or other, relationships that further the plot, a vivid and detailed setting, world-building that doesn’t involve the dreaded info-dump, and character growth. In this first book of her new urban fantasy series Ms Huff does not disappoint me and actually made this review rather difficult to write. Difficult because I have to come up with hopefully some sort of coherent way of stating why I enjoyed reading this and have re-read it multiple times since its release instead of just “GO, READ THIS NOW”, which only works on my family and the PSAs (public service announcements) I send them.
Family, regardless of how you decide to define it is a very emotional word that affects people on multiple levels. Some of those levels can be determined by your interpretation of who makes up a family. Is it only by blood, by choice, by emotional ties or is it a combination of those and more? When I think of family I think of mine, which is full of the sometimes messy entanglements of blood, choice and emotional ties as well as our traditions that bind the family together and bewilder the newcomers. *evil grin*
The Enchantment Emporium introduces the Gale family and a Canada populated by fae, creatures of fable, myth and legend, and magic. The Gales are full of those same messy entanglements only the implications of their blood, choice and emotional ties can have life changing if not world changing results. Since blood, choice and emotion have a lot of the potential impact, the Gales have a lot of traditions. Some are as simple as any family gathering requiring pies, lots of pies, all of which are entirely homemade. For the Gale women making pies are a way to de-stress, show that you care, try to control a situation, make a point, and prevent the younger ones from starving away from home. Others were far more complex concerning what each person’s role is in the family and how you transition from one to another. Traditions can be great but they can also be stifling because when you know what people expect you to do and meeting that expectation is easy you need a reason to live up to your potential.
Alysha Gale appeared willing to just go along with the status quo. She figured someone would eventually choose her or if not there she would always her dream of Michael, then some significant time later she would become an Auntie. A word about Aunties, you didn’t cross them, you didn’t tell them “no”, and the Aunties ran everything. The local and some not so local businesses knew of and were extremely cautious around the Aunties. Younger generations did whatever the Aunties said to do regardless of their personal opinion. Alysha went along with that unless it involved the Aunties attempts to manage her brother David, her cousin Charlie or her habit of a crush Michael. Then she demonstrated flashes of the power and potential she had and actually backed the Aunties down but she never seemed to want more.
Alysha’s calm acceptance of her life as just one of the Gale girls changed when she received a chance to become something more with the inheritance of a junk shop two time zones away from her family’s area. There she walked into a rather complex situation that ended up requiring power, skill, stubbornness, caring, and determination as well as involving Dragon Lords, leprechauns, a sorcerer, more family entanglements and of course the Aunties. I really enjoyed watching Alysha grow as she figured out what she had walked into in Calgary. Even separated from her family, Alysha continued to remain determined to protect those she claimed, Charlie, David and Michael, from the Aunties or whoever else might decide to interfere. As she grew into her power her emotional ties to other people also changed along with what or whom she chose to claim. Her choices and those changes gave her the determination to ultimately decide what she was going to put up with and what she wasn’t.
I learned the importance of making a choice along with Graham, the talented assassin bound to the sorcerer. He was lucky enough to have a few Gales on his side so his first choice wasn’t his last. This served as a nice reminder that even when we think we aren’t making a choice we really are and that each choice changes something. It was entertaining to watch Graham deal with the Gale traditions, their messy family entanglements and start to realize what it really meant to become part of the Gale family. Lets just say he will never get the opportunity to be bored.
While I liked Graham, I think my favorite male characters were the Dragon Lords. They were also part of a messy family with their own traditions that could be bent and stretched only to a certain point. Adam, the oldest Dragon Lord, walked a very careful line as he tried to help Alysha when her choices started to make an impact. I really hope I get to see more of them *cough* Adam *cough* in The Wild Ways, the second book involving the Gale family.
Once again Ms Huff has produced a fantastic read in other words *ahem* “go, read this now,” *ahem*. I am glad to see her return to the worlds of urban fantasy.
I give The Enchantment Emporium an A
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