David's Reviews > Shaman, Friend, Enemy

Shaman, Friend, Enemy by M. Terry Green
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's review
Jun 14, 12

bookshelves: urban-fantasy
Read from May 09 to June 03, 2012

As the story opens, Olivia Lawson ("Livvy") has been rewarded for her heroic deeds in Shaman, Healer, Heretic. Shamans are no longer scorned, in fact, they are sought after. Livvy's client list now includes celebrities, who pay her handsomely for her healing powers. This new found prosperity has enabled her to move out of her rat trap and into a luxury apartment. She no longer has to buy her clothes from Goodwill. Her friend and fellow shaman, Min, drives her around in a Porsche. Life is good.

Unfortunately, success has brought its share of trouble. The paparazzi hound Livvy whenever possible, particularly when she's visiting one of her celebrity clients. Worse still, her success has earned her the enmity of a dark shaman, Dominique. Green doesn't waste any time establishing the conflict between these two.

Dominique is a well-crafted villain. An immigrant from Haiti, she moved to L.A. to seek a better life utilizing her skills as a shaman. An influx of earthquake refugees from her former homeland hasn't helped matters. The rough life in Haiti has hardened her heart and made her bitter. The world owes her for what she's had to endure. Now in a position of power, the cruelty she once faced now resides within. She figures that if she can eliminate Livvy, she can be the top shaman in L.A. and the money will help her climb out of the ghetto and salve the wounds of her past (and present).

To complicate matters, Livvy is distracted by her relationship with SK (her agent) and a side project in the "forbidden arts". I don't want to say anything more to spoil it for future readers.

After reading Shaman, Healer, Heretic, I felt that it would've been easy for Green to resort to a series formula and churn out twenty variations on the original story. Instead, Green has forged ahead with the next step in Livvy's life as Techno-Shaman. Through Green's hand, Livvy has matured. The innocent little girl persona has given way to a confident young woman who pushes the boundaries of her powers. She's no longer content to accept what she's been told. She doesn't like the rules and wants to break them.

As for the technicals, the quality of the manuscript is at a professional level. It is well-edited, thus making for very easy reading. Short chapters and an active dialogue move the story along at a quick pace. There are no lulls in this story. The action scenes are well choreographed and more intense than in her first novel.

This was a highly enjoyable read. Green's characters have grown in their complexity and realism. Her protagonist and antagonist both harbor painful secrets which fuel their motives and actions in the story. The resolution of their conflict is immensely gratifying for its approach and in its execution. In the hands of a less capable writer, it would've been rendered trite. I highly recommend Shaman, Friend, Enemy, and Green's Techno-Shaman series in general, to all urban fantasy aficionados.
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