A sure sign of a really good book is when you forget that you are reading. You get so wrapped up in what's happening that there ceases to be words on a page; and you're just inside the story. That's how I felt reading this book.
The story picks up several months after the events of Shaman, Healer, Heretic. Livvie is still working as a shaman, but her life has changed drastically. Gone are her days of poverty and derision. Her bravery and her special abilities have made her famous and put her skills in high demand. Min and SK are riding high along with her as she lives a life she never dreamed she'd have.
But as good as things are, Livvie can't find happiness until she can make peace with her mother. The woman has been dead for years, however, and that means the only way Livvie can reach her is by using her shamanistic abilities. To say such a summoning is frowned upon would be an understatement, so Livvie works in secret to bring her mother's spirit back.
At the same time, a dark practitioner has her sights set on taking Livvie's place as the top shaman in town. She is targeting her almost every time she crosses to the other side. And each time they face off, it gets harder and harder for Livvie to escape.
I really liked the first book in this series, but this one had something that one didn't: romance. You know I am a romance reader at heart, so that made me enjoy this one all the more. I won't spoil the particulars of the relationship, but I surprised myself by how quickly and totally I got behind it. Of course, there wouldn't be much of a story without conflict --and this love story definitely has landmines all over it. But forbidden romance is one of the best kinds!
One of my only complaints about the last book was that I wanted to know more about Livvie's background and we definitely get that here. I liked learning a little about how she became a shaman and the events that made her who she is. Again, the characterization is really good and I felt like I knew these people: not just Livvie, but SK, Min, and even the villain, Dominique.
There are a couple of scenes where Livvie lashes out that seem a little out of character. She is unkind to people who love her and even under stress, that seems to go against who she is. But other than that --and the ending (which wasn't what I wanted)-- I thought it was very, very good. Fortunately, book three will be out this summer! 4 1/2 stars. *Book provided by author for review