Autumn Thorns is Galenorn’s first in a new series “Whisper Hollow”, a small town on the Olympic Peninsula, where spirits walk among the living. Kerris Fellwater is a spirit shaman, a title (and a job) she inherited being a blood descendent of The Morrígan. Spirit shamans are women born to drive wandering ghosts back into their graves and to protect the living from the dead. Fifteen years ago, Kerris left Whisper Hollow after a disagreement with her grandfather. Now after both her grandparents died, Kerris must return to take the mantle from her grandmother as spirit shaman of Whisper Hollow…
I’m afraid that I might have had a different expectation when I read the blurb for this book – somehow I was looking more toward the mystery – of how Kerris’ parents are murdered, as well as the secret kept by her grandparents. Unfortunately, I felt that the mystery took the backseat to the world building. Galenorn introduces MANY players in this, including the connection and/or the Celtic lore that drives the task needed to be done by spirit shamans. At times, I felt like I needed to take notes just to remind myself who is who and doing what.
Things pick up in the last 10% — but to me, when it came to the murderer, I thought it ended up being a little bit too simple of a revelation. All it took for Kerris was to draw out a confession from one of the secondary characters, who apparently knew the clues all along (but felt it wasn’t yet time to reveal things).
I wasn’t inspired by the romance as well – the thing is, with the concept of forever mate / bound between the shapeshifter and spirit shaman, it took out the ‘ease’ of romance or wooing so-to-speak. I guess I wanted sexual tension first rather than Kerris and Bryan recognized their connection very early on, simply because of the ‘mate’ concept. I also found the sex talk kind of distracting and felt it didn’t match the tone of the whole book.
Having said that, as an introduction to a new series, Autumn Thorns did a decent job. Maybe book #2 will have a better pace because we have been introduced to the major players. I hope that it will fully embrace the creepiness and conflict potentials that are lurking at Whisper Hollow.
The ARC is provided by the publisher for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.