Pros: A unique voice and delightful style!
Cons: Very occasional confusion
Rating: 5 out of 5
For a Gale, family was everything. Alysha’s Gran, who has vanished without a trace, left her an inheritance of a junk shop in Calgary. The Aunties want Alysha to find out what happened to Gran, while Gran wants Alysha to take over serving “the community”. Alysha could use a little distance from her overbearing Aunties, even if it is difficult to resist the pull of family, and things seem to be happening in Calgary. Soon Alysha is adopting a leprechaun, dating a tabloid reporter, and worrying about the dragons that keep flying overhead. Several members of her family arrive to help, but she’s going to have to talk fast to keep the Aunties from showing up and steamrolling over everything.
Tanya Huff’s The Enchantment Emporium is a delightful, whimsical, outlandish tale of family, magic, mythology, love, power, and possibly the end of the world. Ms. Huff tells it with a lyrical eccentricity that delighted, amused, and bewitched me. The Gale family is astonishingly bizarre, wrapped up in ritual and casually incestuous between cousins. The world itself seems to reorder events to make life easier for the Gales.
The characterization is breezy and delightful (there’s that word again). The setting is rich and quirky. Plot and pacing are spot-on perfect, moving with a jaunty ease from family bickering to mortal danger and back again. I adore seeing a male love interest who isn’t a hulking ‘alpha male’, and a magical junk shop that isn’t trite in its execution. I had a few spots of mild confusion as to what exactly was going on or who was saying what, but it was rare and livable.
I honestly don’t know what to say from there—I’m delighted by (damn it, I can’t stop using that word) and enchanted with The Enchantment Emporium to the point of wanting to buy all of Ms. Huff’s books. In particular I must go find out whether there are more books that follow on from this one, because I’d love to see more of the Gale family!