Shamanism comes into the modern age. As a techno-shaman, Livvy uses a set of electric goggles to bring her into the spiritual realm. There, she is able to aid those whose souls are in some kind of distress—all for a fee, of course. Lately, however, strange things have been occurring on the so-called "other side," from abnormal spiritual traffic to odd kachina sightings. As the underworld grows increasingly dangerous for souls and shamans, Livvy must find a way to save them all, before trouble finds a way to reach the real world.
Shaman, Healer, Heretic is one of the more unique books that I've read of late. It introduces a very novel concept: using technology to bring about spiritual movement. Admittedly, I did have to look up kachinas online, as the book essentially launches you in without too much fuss about descriptions and details. Though it was slightly confusing, this technique was effective in grabbing my attention and drawing me into the book itself.
As a novel, the book was excellently paced, moving briskly enough to keep the action going but slowly enough so that readers can familiarize themselves with the author's world and the odd happenings that drive Livvy's worries and suspicions. I was riveted by the time that I was a third of the way through, my fingers quickly turning the pages as I anxiously anticipated the next confrontation or the revelation of the enemy. I am sorry to say that the final denouement was a bit predictable, and a little cliche, but it was worked in rather well.
My only real complaint about this novel are the open-ended bits of plot left behind. I am assuming that this book will be part of a series, but it would have been nice to have had some inkling of why Livvy started practicing shamanism in the first place. I actually didn't think too much about it, until the character SK brought it up. As a reader, it would have been more satisfactory to have had some sort of explanation, or no mention of the issue at all. Also, one of the major plot twists had me scratching my head, wondering if it was truly necessary. It felt like a shock for shock's sake, which is unfortunate as the bulk of the story was actually rather cohesive and well-written. I'm nitpicking here, I know; on the whole, these gripes don't detract overly much from the strong storyline. I'm slightly annoyed by the confusion of "couldn't care less" and "could care less," but that's just a personal pet-peeve.
When it comes down to it, Shaman, Healer, Heretic is an enjoyable introduction to a very original idea. Readers who like conspiracies and unsung but outstanding heroes will surely appreciate such a tale. I certainly did.
(Review copy provided by the author)