My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lovely urban fantasy. Balanced and nuanced. Just the right amount of darkness and light, violence and love, awkwardness and grace. Be aware there is a lot of punching. Lissa's grandmother, who has been training Lissa to follow in her footsteps and become the local Russian immigrant community's shaman-in-residence, dies without ever telling her about Maksim. Is Maksim a berserker, a werewolf, a vampire, or none of these but the basis for the stories? We get to make up our own minds what to call him, but he is a creature of violence and death and the spell that Lissa's grandmother made to leash his darkness has disappeared with her death. A story that appeals to outsiders, outliers, and oddities. Some Russian magic. Diversities of culture, temperament, sexuality. Sentences that flow without falling flat. Good storytelling, good writing, worth buying. Publish more, please, and shoot this on over to a genre imprint for the paperback, where the Canadian setting is just another alien background and the humor and intelligent prose are expected delights. This writer deserves an appreciative audience!
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