July, 2019: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emme Lang

(Book 111) My darling grandson, Denny, passed a summer cold around our family which prevented me from attending the meeting held in Marcia’s backyard to discuss Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance. Chris’ report on the evening follows:

Well, we all thought there must have been a full moon last night, because there was no other explanation for Melissa’s brief disappearance from Marcia’s lovely backyard. But there was some howling coming from not too far away, so maybe she was just trying to rejoin the pack. Or maybe she was seeking Teresa, the alpha wolf. Either way, Melissa returned without Teresa (booooooo—we all missed you) but bearing a photo of the band that was playing at the park a block or so away. The music just enhanced what was already a perfect summer evening, with lots of laughter and great food and drink.

Sadly, we somewhat failed our fearless leader in not spending too much time talking about the book. We did at least take a poll of how many members (9 of us were in attendance) liked the book, and the likers won, 5.5 to 3.5. The .5s are Linda, who SORT OF liked the book. Sharon didn’t like it much, and Mary and I definitely didn’t like it, but we were sitting right next to each other, and—who knows—maybe dislike is contagious. I think we’ve all seen this in Congress. I didn’t like the fact that the stories all seemed to be intended to illustrate that Weylyn left good in his wake and weren’t connected to the story. Mary just thought it wasn’t well written. Teresa and I agreed that the book kind of fell apart in the second half, especially considering the humor evaporated. Those who generally don’t like fantasy didn’t find this book changed their minds, but the members  who liked it said it was a relief to read a story about a thoroughly innocent character when it’s kind of hard to find any of those in real life these days. Everyone agreed Weylyn was an interesting character overall (although he did have too many powers). Susan said she probably liked it largely because of her love of animals and the West.  Sharon felt that it was one thing to read the first novel of someone who has since written a lot of others, but who knows whether this author will get published again. (I think I got that right, but my apologies if I got it wrong. Recording secretaries should stick to one glass of wine.)

Marcia served a delicious dinner that started with the  aforementioned wine, cheeses, and smoked trout spread with crackers, and continued to two crustless quiches, one vegetarian and one with meat (thankfully neither raw nor recently killed), plus a wonderful tossed salad with two dressing options. Dessert was pound cake with fresh raspberries and blueberries, topped with whipped cream and a berry compote. Shadow agreed that this was a highlight as he spent at least 10 minutes licking every drop of the tiny bit of remaining whipped cream out of the bowl. When offered the serving spoon as well, he graciously accepted.

We all (graciously, I hope) accepted Marcia’s fantastic hospitality and practically had to be kicked out at 10:00. Thanks again, Marcia, for an evening we didn’t want to end. Teresa, we all hope you’re feeling better, and we have put August 20th on our calendars for the next meeting, at your house. Chris

Had I been at the meeting I would have made it 6.5 for and 3.5 against. My thoughts on the book are in my Goodreads review: I loved the premise set up with the doctor’s first pages and I thoroughly appreciated Weylyn’s extraordinary nature — I think I also fell a little in love with him, as Mary did, when he said someone had worked really hard to make that pie. My stingy number of stars is based on what I considered zigs and zags in the through-line that seemed to struggle to add additional powers. The most troublesome for me was Weylyn’s visit to his (foster) sister Lydia’s home and the plot with the power grid. His relationship with Micah there was lovely and the story would have been stronger for me if Micah would have been woven in to have the last word rather than Roarke. This author is very talented and I will hope to read her next book soon.