Title: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
Author: Ruth Emmie Lang
Read harder Challenge: Yes; debut novel
Star Review: ♥♥♥♥♥ /5
This book is delightful and a must-read for many reasons. Its tone is simple, bittersweet, and wistful – much like the character around whom this tale revolves, it doesn’t lose its sweetness despite some moments of sadness and loss. The humor is wry and understated, just like I like it. I really enjoyed this book – finishing it in two days was not only a joy, but a compulsion.
We first meet Weylyn Grey as an infant, and quickly come to realize how special he is. While he would hate to be described as “magic,” there are some very hard-to-believe things that happen around him. As he tries to navigate his unusual life, he forms connections with an unlikely group. Though the reader is sometimes treated to Weylyn’s point of view, the story is mostly told through the experiences of people whose lives he has touched. If I had to describe this book to someone in one sentence, I’d also feel obligated to add that this story is about wolves and a boy who grows up with wolves and the girl he falls in love with. Wolves are pack animals, and the idea of the “lone wolf” is kind of a sad myth. This book in a lot of ways is about the search for a pack, too. Yeah – it’s hard to explain! There is magical realism in this book, and I loved recurring symbols that added constancy to Weylyn’s life even though it was always changing.
I just really loved this book so much! I’m so glad it is out so I can buy it for people for Christmas. It’s ideal for folks that like to read with a sense of wonder but might be turned off my wizards and epic fantasy. It’s great to gift folks that you love even when they have a hard time loving themselves. It’s got some sweet romance, some coming-of-age and finding-yourself, and some humor. It’s readable, devourable even, and quotable and well-crafted.