I absolutely fell in love with the first book in the Enchantment Emporium series, with the unforgettable Gale family and their scary but funny aunties who bake charms into their food, the magical shop with mysterious items on its shelves, and the quirky cast of characters who often had me giggling as I read. So imagine my delight when I discovered the sequel! I had been hoping, but as the first book ended with a satisfying conclusion, I wasn't too certain if one would be forthcoming.
This second one certainly did not disappoint. I felt the usual resistance to switching point-of-view characters - this one features Allie's musical cousin, Charlie Gale, instead of Allie herself - but I was quickly drawn into the story and found myself enjoying Charlie's company as much as, if not more than, her cousin's. Charlie is a rolling stone, a musician who travels with various bands and stops by to visit family from time to time. Her magic is a wild power, but somehow her life has settled into something a bit less than wild.
But then she finds herself playing for a Celtic band at a festival that just happens to be near a contentious potential off-shore drilling site that is also a breeding area for seals - or what appear to be seals. She also finds herself babysitting an adolescent shape-changing dragon with a penchant for mayhem. Nefarious schemes involving enchantments and seal skins ensue, in an action-packed, twisting, turning tale that will keep readers guessing all the way to the end. The relationships among the characters make these books shine, and as with all good fantasy novels, the themes resonate on a more serious level that extends well below the surface of a fun magical romp. Fans of Charles de Lint and Nina Kiriki Hoffman will be sure to love this series. Here's hoping for another sequel. Not to be greedy or anything. But I'd sure love some more!
Books in the Enchantment Emporium series:
1. The Enchantment Emporium
2. The Wild Ways
The Wild Ways (#2 in the Enchantment Emporium series) by Tanya Huff (Daw Books, 2011)