Spirits That Walk in Shadow by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Viking
306 p.p.

Spirits That Walk in ShadowIn this book we are reintroduced to Jaimie Locke, one of the minor characters from The Thread That Binds the Bones. She is still in recovery from having been trained to be evil by her previous teacher. (She more or less indicates this on a number of occasions.)

Jaimie has decided to go to college with the intent of learning about boys and Outsiders. (It is difficult to say which has the greater priority.) Jaimie had been giving a list of things she is Not Supposed to Talk About to Outsiders but of course, the list goes flying right out the window once she meets her roommate, Kim. Also accompanying her to college is god named Rugee who looks a great deal like some kind of lizard.

Kim is an artist suffering from an intense depression that turns out to be the result of an encounter with a vampiric  entity called a viri. (The entity and latched onto her in high school, became addicted to Kim’s misery and decided to bully Kim into a miserable wreck of her former self.) Kim stumbles onto Jaimie’s secret identity as a witch shortly after getting kicked out of her room so Jaimie and her father could perform a religious ceremony. At the same time, Rugee and Jaimie discover that the reason for Kim’s really intense depression is because someone is creating and the siphoning off her depression.

Rugee offers Kim his protection, and Jaimie offers her assistance and friendship.Also offering assistance in protecting Kim are Jaimie’s cousins and other relatives who are initially horrified that Jaimie completely spilled the beans.(Fortunately, Rugee is present to keep the cousins and other relatives from doing something stupid and accidentally cruel. I can understand why a magical culture would be so strict and understand why they would want to conceal their abilities from outsiders, but the Bolte, Locke and Keye families are occasionally a bunch of jerks even when they haven’t been trained to be evil.)

The book alternates between Kim and Jaimie’s point of view, each of them being baffled and curious about the other person’s background and way of thinking.There are some extremely funny moments involving Jaimie not really getting “Outsider”culture despite having been immersed in it. (This was one of the main reasonswhy I really enjoyed this book. There is something about the narrative of someone trying to fit in with a different culture that I really like.) The only (very slight problem) I had was that Kim’s synesthesia, or rather the way her synesthesia interacts with her creative talents seemed to be catnip to anyone with vaguely supernatural powers. I was just a little ambivalent about this plot point.(Mostly because it wasn’t really explained why the synesthesia was so interesting,or if it actually was synesthesia.)

I enjoyed the book a great deal. (Which is an understatement; I read the book cover to cover three times in a row the first time I checked it out.)

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Filed under book, fantasy, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Review: Book

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