Review: Autumn Thorns by Yasmine Galenorn (Whisper Hollow #1)


Autumn Thorns by Yasmine Galenorn // VBCAutumn Thorns (Whisper Hollow #1)
Yasmine Galenorn
Published: Oct. 27, 2015 (Jove)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

The town of Whisper Hollow lies on a vortex of ley lines that makes it possible for the spirits of the dead to walk the earth. The spirits can take many different forms, from the harmless Resting to the violent Unliving. They can rise naturally or be called by dark magic.

For generations, women known as spirit shamans, descended from the Morrigan, have helped put the town’s dead to rest and protected the residents from malicious spirits. I’ve read a few other series with Celtic-based mythology centered on the Morrigan, but this is a new take on it that I really enjoyed.

Kerris Fellwater left Whisper Falls to escape her hateful grandfather and has been working as a barista and part-time ghost hunter in Seattle. But upon her grandparents’ deaths, she’s called back home to become the new spirit shaman. Each spirit shaman has a lament singer, a banshee (though Galenorn doesn’t used that spelling) whose music helps put the spirits to rest. In this case, Ellia doesn’t actually sing but plays the violin. Ellia, who was also Kerris’ grandmother’s lament singer, helps Kerris learn her new duties since she left before her training was complete.

Each spirit shaman also has a fated match, a shapeshifter guardian to protect her while she works. So yes, there are fated mates in this world. But that’s not really the point of the story since it’s not a paranormal romance, so I don’t mind Kerris getting her team assembled early on in the book. Although at one point, I did feel like the sex scene disrupted the flow of the story.

When Kerris starts to reacquaint herself with Whisper Falls and learn her new job, she uncovers family secrets and secret societies, conspiracies and prophecies, and a dark force trying to take over the town. Galenorn paints a vivid picture of Whisper Falls and its residents, which I really love. But she often gives driving directions while describing the scenery, which doesn’t mean anything to me since I’m not familiar with the area. I know that’s her style from the other one of her books I’ve read, but at one point I thought of that SNL sketch “The Californians” and couldn’t get it out of my head.

There’s so much information in this book! About the town, Kerris’s family history, and most of the different types of spirits. It’s not dumped on the reader all at once and it comes from several different sources including flashbacks, dialogue, and journal entries. I never really felt overwhelmed by it, but I did feel compelled to take notes. And I still would have even if I weren’t writing a review.

I think the world of Whisper Hollow is fascinating, even if it’s a little bit complicated. I like the supporting cast and I’m curious about the Big Bad that we haven’t met yet. I’m looking forward to the rest of Kerris’ story.

Sexual content: graphic sex

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