RogerBW's Blog

Wild Hunt, Margaret Ronald 15 July 2020

2010 urban fantasy. Evie Scelan was a big part of what happened to the previous magical rulers of Boston. Which means that everyone's looking to her to see what she's going to do about the power vacuum that's been left behind.

Unfortunately, that's mostly not what this book is about. (It's the second of the trilogy.) That was the story that was clearly being set up, as Evie becomes a target for all sorts of trouble, and tries to help her friend who's putting together something like a magical neighbourhood watch with a code of conduct.

"Sarah, just because there's a significant wacko contingent in the undercurrent doesn't mean you need to have wacko representation."

But I fear any resolution is for volume three; this time it's about taking a job from someone who is clearly keeping things back even more than the usual dysfunctional adept, a frustrating character who has no diegetic reason to keep silent about certain matters – but it would make the book a lot shorter if she spoke up sooner.

What's missing, that made the previous book distinctive, is the feel of Boston: if you changed the place names, this could take place in any city with reasonably wild country not too far away. Book one made its setting a character in its own right; here that's not the case any more.

Still, the characterisation is rather better, starting with Evie herself: she doesn't make all the connections, but the errors she makes are consistent with who she is, and her individuality is much more apparent here than before. There are some good scenes of action (mostly chases both mundane and magical), and while one or two things are a bit too obviously setup for the final volume there's a satisfactory conclusion.

As far as the mythology goes, Ronald takes the interesting step of including many of the variants of the Wild Hunt from different cultures – and acknowledging this, and putting them together in a way that makes sense. It's a very bold move, and one that succeeds admirably.

I hope to read the next volume sooner than 2022. Recommended by Tim Emrick.

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Previous in series: Spiral Hunt | Series: Evie Scelan | Next in series: Soul Hunt

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