Tanya Huff does not disappoint her fans, new or old, with her latest Gale family offering, The Wild Ways. Huff's earlier Gale family work The Enchantment Emporium told the story of Allie Gale (Alysha Catherine) who inherits an antique emporium/junk store from her grandmother (Auntie Catherine) in far from home Calgary Canada. Allie with the help of a friend Michael, her cousins Charlie & Roland, her brother David, the "Aunties", a leprechaun named Joe and a sorcerer's assassin Graham who is the 7th son of a 7th son save Calgary & possibly the world from the Dragon Queen & rescues Jack, the teenage son of a sorcerer and said Dragon Queen (the sorcerer doesn't fare as well.).
The events in The Wild Ways follow about six months or so after the Enchantment Emporium ends. Jack who is now living with Allie & her partner is bored as only a 14 year old half dragon prince/half Gale Boy teenager can be. He isn't the only one. Charlie (Charlotte Marie) Gale, who as a Wild Gale cousin can not be held down to a place, is also bored with her country music band and her life in general. By various means Jack & Charlie end up on the other end of Canada in Halifax participating in the Celtic music festival scene & getting involved on the side of a "save the seals" environmentalist group who are protesting an offshore shallow water drilling project. It goes without saying I hope that Selkies, Goblins, Trolls and other fey creatures are integral to the plot ;-).
I was afraid at the debut that Huff would sacrifice the story & characters for some heavy handed political/environmental message but I had no reason to fear. While Amelia Carlson was clearly the ugly corporate antagonist in the story (owner of Carlson Oil and willing to use unethical means to get her oil well drilling permits), Huff makes it clear through Charlie's clear-eyed gaze that the Selkies aren't above manipulating humans for their own selfish ends and that environmental success comes at the expense of increased human suffering (unemployment & the resulting poverty) for the locals that the Selkies really couldn't care less about. The ultimate puppet master is Auntie Catherine (who wasn't dead after all) who goes mano a mano (sort of) with Charlie at the end in support of the oil drilling effort and the unexpected hero of the story is Jack (maybe not such a surprise if you are paying attention).
Bravo Tanya Huff.
May I add, that it is a pleasure to read such a superb fantasy novel (well written & great story) compared with all the ... ahem... *stuff* that Amazon is pushing at me these days with 5 star reviews no less! Some writers, editors & publishers are obviously getting all their relatives & friends on board to lie for them when writing those reviews. Tanya Huff needs none of that, the quality of her work stands on its own.