Review of The Enchantment Emporium – Book 1 in the Enchantment Emporium series by Tanya Huff

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Anyone who enjoys science fiction and fantasy will be aware of Tanya Huff – Himself absolutely loves her Confederation series, while I was blown away by The Blood series – see my review of her book, First Blood, here. So when I came across The Enchantment Emporium, I scooped it up.

Alysha Gale is twenty-four, unemployed, and tired of her family meddling in her life personally and magically. So when a letter arrives from her missing grandmother, bequeathing her a junk shop on the other side of Canada, Allie jumps at the chance to escape.  But she arrives at the Enchantment Emporium to find trouble brewing. With dragons circling the town and a sorcerer wreaking havoc, even calling in the family may not save the day…

enchantment emporiumWell, this is fun! I loved the whole idea – including the Gale family tendency to interbreed to strengthen their magical bloodline, and the fact that it takes a different direction depending on gender. As Huff doesn’t go into any major detail about the uninhibited sexual exploits within the family, the fact that a normal major taboo is crossed due to a magical imperative just underlines the sense of ‘other’. I would have been a lot less comfortable with this aspect if she’d chosen to provide a lot of gratuitous detail around said exploits – but she doesn’t. It was particularly enjoyable to read a punchy, urban fantasy where the power lies with the elderly females – the infamous ‘aunties’. As someone who finds herself rapidly approaching the same role within my own family faaar too quickly, it was gratifying to read of women of a certain age who were a significant force to be reckoned with.

As for Alysha, herself – Huff has depicted a feisty, enjoyable heroine who is busy trying to find her feet within a powerful family without cutting herself off from their support or love. Again, refreshing to read. So many protagonists, male and female, don’t seem to have much in the way of family ties, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in whatever arcane adventures that come their way without having to consider anyone near and dear to them. Her reaction to the rapidly escalating troubles surrounding the Emporium makes for a riveting read – I should have put the book down and caught up on much-needed sleep. Instead I kept going into the small hours…

This is Huff at the top of her game. Sharp, enjoyable fiction that whips along at a fair clip, but nevertheless still manages to deliver some curved balls along the way. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Wild Ways – and when I get my hands on it, it’s going right to the top of my teetering To Be Read pile. This level of reading pleasure doesn’t get put on hold.
9/10

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