Joanne Walker has two choices: Defeat the enemy…or lose her soul trying. For over a year, Joanne has been fighting the Master—the world's most abiding evil. She's sacrificed family, friendships, even watched potential futures fade away…and now the Master is bringing the final battle to Joanne's beloved Seattle. Lives will be lost as the repercussions of all Joanne's growth come to her doorstep. Before the end, she'll mourn, rejoice—and surrender everything for the hope of the world's survival. She'll be a warrior and a healer. Because she is finally a Shaman Rising.
Whooo boy, was this one heck of a roller coaster ride from start to finish. There was an incredible amount going on in this book, it was almost frantic. Granted that did make it just a bit hard to follow at times, but I tell you, Joanne and the rest of the characters were put through one heck of a ringer. There wasn't a dull moment, that's for sure. What's even better yet was that despite me feeling like I had everything figured out by now considering this is the ninth installment, there were more than a few curve balls thrown into things that I never would have guessed were coming. There was one massive shock that, wow, just wow. I loved that twist and I have a feeling other readers will too. Definitely a high point in the book.
And now onto Joanne, the star of the show. Never could I have imagined the gal who annoyed me terribly in the first few installments due to her refusal to accept who she was magically, would turn into who she is today. Not only has she fully embraced her magical heritage, but she's consistently at the front lines fighting with her all. There was a point in this book where it would have been so easy for her to give up and run away like the old Joanne, but she never once faltered and I fell for her all over again. (and I think Morrison did as well, but that's just a bonus.) Seriously, Joanne Walker has earned herself a place on my top 10 favorite heroines, and I don't see her being dethroned anytime soon.
It's always very bittersweet to say goodbye to a loved and long running series like this. So, I was both eagerly anticipating and dreading reading this installment in equal amounts. On one hand, I was dying to know how everything turns out for Joanne and crew, but on the other I knew that I would have to say goodbye and that they may not get the send off I had hoped for. Now that I've finished, I can largely that I'm happy with the way everything turned out. Granted, I would have preferred a bit more solidity on the personal front with Joanne, but that was addressed in a short story part of No Dominion, and since the actual action and plotline with the Master was tied up well, I can't really complain. Too much. I'm a sap for a good romantic happy ending and I do like everything to be very settled, but that wasn't the case here, and in the long run I'm fine with that. The author brought us to the part where the characters can now start their real lives and be settled however they choose, leaving that largely up to the reader's imagination. So that being said, I think fans will be largely pleased with Shaman Rises' send off, and after nine books, that's an impressive feat for any author. So bravo to you Ms. C.E. Murphy, bravo!