Stormwalker (Stormwalker #1) by Allyson James
I was drawn to Stormwalker for a couple reasons. First, the cover is awesome. Janet looks powerful and strong and her Navajo heritage is clear. There aren’t that many series feature Native American leads in urban fantasy or paranormal romance (Patricia Briggs‘ Mercy Thompson series, C.E. Murphy‘s Walker Papers, and Faith Hunter‘s Jane Yellowrock books are the only ones that come to mind right now), let alone other ethnicities, and it’s always nice to see some ethnic diversity out there, particularly if the cultural aspects are well researched. Another thing I liked about the cover is that there are also some nods to aspects of the novel, like Janet’s love of motorcycles (check the chaps) and the Arizona setting with the desert backdrop. Second, the blurb on the back was really compelling.
The summary of the book from Allyson James’ website:
Janet Begay is a Stormwalker–one who can channel the power of storms to work great magic. The desert town of Magellan is no stranger to the weird–vortexes that hold mystical energy lie just outside of town, and the residents are used to shape shifters, witches, shamans, and the occasional blood-sucking Nightwalker. Janet comes to Magellan to find a missing woman and confront her past, and she discovers secrets, lies, and hidden dangers. She’ll need all the help she can get: from Mick, the mysterious fire-wielder who springs back into her life; from Coyote, a trickster god; from Jamison, her Changer friend; and from Nash, the Unbeliever sheriff who may be more powerful than all of them combined.
Having never read Allyson James, I wasn’t sure precisely what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. In fact, I read it pretty much in one sitting! Janet is an engaging protagonist, full of stubbornness and a strong desire to do right, even if it means confronting her mother, a goddess in the Beneath who wants to use Janet to open up the vortex between the worlds, setting her free. Janet’s personality is clear from the very beginning of Stormwalker, as is the danger her mother poses to both Janet and the world.
Janet’s sort-of-ex-boyfriend, Mick, is a good foil for Janet. He’s dark and mysterious and powerful; learning his backstory is an interesting component of the novel. I was also really taken with Maya and Nash, for different reasons. Maya’s so feisty and strong and kick-ass in a non-magical way, and Nash is broody and tortured and upstanding, maybe even a bit of a stick in the mud. I’m not sure what it says about me but part of me really wanted Janet to ditch Mick and get with Nash even though Nash can be a total jerk. There’s just something about him that I found intriguing, and he only gets more interesting as the novel progresses.
I bought the second book in the series, Firewalker, when I picked up this one and so that’s next on my reading list. I’m excited to see what Allyson James has in store for Janet!