“The Wild Ways”, the second book in the Gale Women, series was a fast, fun read that had me grinning most of the time.
The experience reminded me of reading a really good Terry Pratchett book: on the surface there is a constant stream of humour, based on word play and the bizarre juxtaposition of the normal with the incredible, flowing around interesting characters with complex relationships to one another that develop over time; beneath the surface, a serious moral undertow grabs at your attention and asks you to consider how you use power to do what needs to be done without power using you.
Not that Tanya Huff is a Pratchett wannabe. She shares his lightness of touch and his feeling for what makes us truly human but she brings a style all of her own. Setting the Gale Women books in contemporary Canada gives an opportunity for lots of local colour about celtic festivals and fiddle players as well as amusing pop culture references (especially the ones that Jack is too young to get).
The story focuses on Charlie, a wild power amongst the Gale family and therefore restless and unpredictable. Charlie has a love for life and the some of the women and men it. Her frustration at meeting a beautiful but irredeemably straight supernatural woman is presented with self-deprecating humour that is quite charming. Her progress to realising her potential as a wild power is disturbing. Her love of playing music (and using it as a magical weapon when needed) is engaging.
The plot is slight and easy to predict but that’s part of the fun. It’s the ride, not the destination, that is most important here.
I’m hooked on this series now, so I’m not waiting, I’m moving straight on to book three in the series “The Future Falls”.