This is the seventh book in The Walker Papers, so it says a lot that I, and the rest of my family, eagerly awaited its arrival. I’m the slowest reader of us all, so I got my hands on Raven Calls last. All I can say is that it was worth the wait. Well, that’s not all I can say…
Raven Calls wraps up a lot of the long-term storyline, enough so that I was starting to worry (yes, worry) that this was the last of the series after all, but it’s not. Joanne has much more coming down the pipe to deal with than can be tidily wrapped up in a single volume. However, this novel is somewhat of a changing of the guard, not in the people, but in the understanding Joanne has of her world and her family. C.E. Murphy does a wonderful job of keeping Joanne human. She’s got phenomenal cosmic power (TM), and yet rather than it going to her head, she blusters and stomps her way through trouble after trouble, always doubting she has what it takes to be what the universe expects of her.
She’s both right and wrong.
In Raven Calls, Joanne faces personal and real demons time and again. She calls on old friends (?) for aid, and learns both her limits and her strengths. It’s a powerful story both for avid Walker Papers readers and in a larger sense with what it reveals about the way people undercut themselves without admitting to that fact. It’s complicated and tangled in the way I love, while still carrying on the character of the Joanne I’ve grown to love even though her world is changing around her (sometimes literally).
And that’s not even touching on her steadfast friend Gary, the cabby turned adventurer who will grumble and moan whenever his life draws him from Joanne’s side, not because he is clingy but because her life is full of the adventure he misses in his own. She tries her best to keep him safe and distant from her chaos, but more than ever before, she fails in this case, and he’s loving it. Now I get to read the kick starter story of Gary’s side of this novel, something C.E. Murphy warned us was better read after, not before, Raven Calls.
Anyway, be prepared to enjoy a romp through Ireland and Irish mythology as Joanne comes face to face with her false assumptions about her mother, her father, and even who and what she is becoming.
Oh, and one last note: I enjoyed how C.E. Murphy slipped in somewhat of a pronunciation guide for the Gaelic names and terms. It was beautifully done, with one character saying the term, another repeating it visually and being corrected, then Joanne trying to figure it out phonetically. It sounds long-drawn out, but you’ll have to see for yourself. It is smoothly done and felt very real to the situation.