The Enchantment Emporium
by Tanya Huff
Rating: 4 Stars
‘The Gale family can change the world with the charms they cast. Alysha Gale is tired of having all her aunts try to run her life. So when her Gran leaves her a “junk” shop in Calgary, Alysha jumps at the chance. It isn’t until she gets there that she realizes her customers are fey. And no one told her there’s trouble brewing in Calgary – trouble so big that even calling in the family may not save the day… ‘
I found this quite hard to get into at the beginning. It had definite promise – there was humour, intriguing family dynamics and unusually important yoyos – but I was utterly lost at first.
The Gale family appeared to be overwhelming and – quite literally – a cast of hundreds. The main issue I had, was a growing certainty that this book needs a dramatis personae/cast list, as all the Auntie’s started to blur together in the first few chapters. After a while I just gave up and viewed the Gale family members who weren’t currently present as something of a whole entity – only paying any real attention to the specific family members when they showed up in person.
That said, I loved the main group. There was a good few of them (four Gales, an almost-Gale architect, a reluctant leprechaun, a reporter who is not what he seems and a dangerous young man of spurious parentage) but they all remained very distinct personalities and I was interested in all of their separate journeys. Once Alysha starts to spread her wings things really move along apace and I could stop worrying about which Aunt was which and get on with the plot. Whilst you could see some things coming, it was still oddly satisfying to be proved right and the aspects that surprised me were really great. Huff manages to pack a lot in a relatively small space without it feeling over-stuffed and I’m quite in awe of that.
I liked all the world-building and I even quite liked that aspects of family lore weren’t explained to us, that we had to unravel them for ourselves as we went along.I also really loved the shop. It’s both more than what it seemed at first and exactly what it says on the sign. I loved the mirror, I loved the yoyos and I loved watching Alysha make her own place outside of her family.
I’ll definitely be picking the next one up – indeed I’ve just saved the next two to the library on Scribd – but I’m hoping it won’t focus on Charlie entirely as I still want to follow the other’s stories.