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Posted December 8, 2011
When I won a copy of this book, I wasn't aware that it was the second in a series. A lot of times that doesn't really matter, and you can read any book in a series and still know basically what's going on, but I have to say that that is NOT the case here! I was very lost and had trouble following the story line, but I was definitely intrigued by the aboriginal dreamtime aspect of the book, and decided that I wanted to read it. I bought the first book in the series, Thin Line Between, and enjoyed it immensely! Thin Line Between sets up the story, but Shaman's Blood really delves into the meaning behind the aboriginal dreamtime visions that the characters have, and explains the back story by actually telling two stories in one: the present day tale of Alice and her daughter, Margaret, and the story of Ned, Alice's father, and his quest to find the truth back in the 1950's and 60's. While Shaman's' Blood does jump back and forth from the past to the present and back again, it is not as confusing as it sounds, and I found it quite easy to follow which time period I was reading about. I really like how book two fleshed out the story of how Alice's family acquired their Quinkan!! There were lots of surprises regarding this, let me tell you!
The writing was, as usual for Ms. Petty, impeccable! The characters were totally three dimensional, even the supporting characters. The world building was awesome, with exceptional descriptions that made you feel like you were looking at the aboriginal cave drawings right along with Ned and Suzanne. I thought the pace of the story was even smoother than it was in Thin Line Between.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. I do recommend reading Thin Line Between first, although I have read other reviews where they thought it wasn't necessary. It's just my personal opinion, of course, but I don't think I would have appreciated Shaman's Blood as much as I did had I not read Thin Line Between first.
After reading so much about werewolves, witches and vampires lately, it was nice t
Posted October 21, 2011
Reviewed by Vered Ehsani for Readers Favorite Alice Waterston starts seeing monsters in the shadows and thinks she's losing her mind - again. Ned knows first hand how real those monsters are. Separated by time but connected through the curse of a wicked shaman, Alice and Ned must each find a way to survive in the Australian Dreamtime where a shadow demon lurks, waiting for them. As the danger that stalks their nightmares slowly leaks into their lives, both Ned and Alice try desperately in their own ways to escape or deny the Aboriginal Dreamtime legends that are coming alive. But the furious demon has other plans: find a way to break the centuries-old curse or die. This is a well-written book with some pretty intense nightmarish scenes. Initially, as I started reading, I was a bit confused. I hadn't read the first book in this series, and that definitely would have explained the background to the main plot. But part of the confusion was the writing style: the story goes back and forth between dreams and reality from two different generations. However, as I continued reading, I enjoyed this interweaving of the storylines. The distinction between reality and dreamtime, of past and present, becomes blurred both for the characters and the reader. The connections between the characters grow clearer and stronger, until it all comes together. The use of Australian Aboriginal mythology is a refreshing change, and I relished the submersion into a different cultural mindset and its legends. Overall, I would recommend this, but read the first book in the series first!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 5, 2011
I Also Recommend:
Book 2 of the Wandjina Quartet, based on Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, continues the story of Alice and Margaret begun in "Thin Line Between." It also tells Ned's story. Moving between past (Ned's story) and present (Alice and Margaret), we learn about how the Quinkan became linked to Margaret in the first place, and what they need to do to break the bond.
I can't be any more precise about the plot or I will seriously spoil the book for you. While it would be possible to enjoy the book without having read "Thin Line Between," I wouldn't recommend it - you will miss a lot of clues if you don't read them in order. Since this is called a Quartet, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume there will be two more books to go - since it was 6 years between books one and two, I'm seriously hoping it won't be that long before the next book, because I want to know what happens. Once you read these awesome books, you will too! Definitely check them out, especially if you like mythology-based horror. Great stuff!
Posted September 15, 2011
The best stories don't burst from the author's mind fully-formed, like Athena from the head of Zeus. Rather, they are in our DNA, nurtured over the centuries by successive generations, until the simple seed of an idea has grown into an archetype to which we can all relate. In her excellent book, Shaman's Blood, Anne Petty continues the time honored tradition of dipping into these foundational stories and crafting a modern story of her own. But what makes her book even more remarkable is that she chooses as her inspiration the legends of aboriginal Australia, something of which most of her readers are probably unfamiliar. It's a risky move, but Petty so easily and seamlessly integrates these legends into modern America that our lack of familiarity with them is not jarring. Rather, our ignorance only adds to the darkness and the mystery that surrounds the main characters, as we travel with them into the unknown.
Fundamentally, Shaman's Blood is the history-past, present, and future-of a family. Petty plays with time throughout the novel, traveling back and forth between periods as distinct as ancient Australia, turn of the century Florida, San Francisco in the 1960s, and the present. By doing so, as we learn about Alice and her daughter Margarette, we also come to understand Alice's father, Ned, and the horror that drives the hostility that Alice's mother, Suzanne, feels towards her. But it's not all domestic drama. An ancient evil stalks Alice's family, one driven by the crime of an ancestor she never even knew existed. And if Alice can't right this wrong, committed decades before she was born, that evil will not only destroy her, but her daughter as well.
I enjoyed so many of the things Petty does in Shaman's Blood that it's hard to know where to start. The horror itself is fantastic, drawing upon many of our darkest terrors, including that ancient and fairly universal fear of snakes. Her knowledge of Australian mythology is voluminous (Or else she does a very good job of faking it). Perhaps more importantly, she never overwhelms us or confuses us with that mythology. Rather, she slowly works it into the narrative in a way that feels natural and easy. The characters are complex and interesting, with personalities and flaws all their own. I found myself rooting for them because of those flaws more than I would if Petty had simply given us hero stereotypes. I was also interested to learn this is a sequel to Petty's earlier Thin Line Between. I am happy to report that no prior knowledge is required to enjoy Shaman's Blood, though if you are like me, you'll probably want to check out Thin Line Between when you finish.
All in all, Shaman's Blood is a fascinating and entertaining journey into ancient legends and cultures. I recommend it highly. Just watch out for snakes.
--Brett Talley, author of the award-winning novel, That Which Should Not Be.