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on 2 May 2012
(I was given this book for free on a read-to-review basis.)
Olivia Lawson (Livvy) is a techno-shamen. (Not heard of one of these before? Neither had I!) This involves the use of a special pair of goggles, which allow her to access a place that she refers to as the multiverse. Once in the multiverse she searches for whomever she has been paid to search for, and brings them back - these people are generally patients who are in a coma, or have something psychologically wrong with them.

Business hasn't been good for Livvy, and she's living in a cheap apartment, and surviving mainly on pancakes and syrup. Things start to get strange though when an ancient spirit being called a Kachina starts turning up in Livvy's apartment and trying to communicate with her, and several trips to the middleworld (the place where she enters the multiverse) find the place surprisingly quiet and void of life.

Those aren't the only strange occurrences though, as reports on the news begin to broadcast footage of other shamen spontaneously combusting, and a trip to the Netherworld reveals a giant ancient god (Tiamat) with the head and wings of an eagle, and the body of a lion, who seems to want to kill her.

Now Livvy thinks she's found the solution. She thinks that if she can find a way to connect two pairs of goggles together, so that two shamen can go together into the netherworld, they might stand a chance against Tiamat. Unfortunately though, shamen aren't supposed to even talk to each other as the public feel that they will work together against them, and so finding someone willing to work with her is going to be no small task on its own.

I enjoyed this book. Livvy is a really likeable character, and she always strives to help people, even when it seems that everybody is against her. She doesn't give in to bullying, and doesn't let their acts of prejudice against her get her down.

Although I didn't know much about shamen before reading this book, this wasn't a problem, and Livvy's job was actually quite simple - she gets a call, she does the job, she gets paid. It actually reminded me a bit of Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake Vampire Hunter (the earlier novels, before the multiple `love' scenes.) In essence Livvy is a healer - she just does it in a different way to medical staff, which doesn't please them and gets her extra grief.

The storyline in this book was interesting, and at times I really just couldn't put it down. There were also several twists at the end that I really didn't see coming.
Overall, a new and interesting idea, with a well-thought out plot.
7.5 out of 10.
(Book length: 3990 Kindle Locations)
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on 26 March 2012
Shamanism comes into the modern age. As a techno-shaman, Livvy uses a set of electric goggles to bring her into the spiritual realm. There, she is able to aid those whose souls are in some kind of distress--all for a fee, of course. Lately, however, strange things have been occurring on the so-called "other side," from abnormal spiritual traffic to odd kachina sightings. As the underworld grows increasingly dangerous for souls and shamans, Livvy must find a way to save them all, before trouble finds a way to reach the real world.

Shaman, Healer, Heretic is one of the more unique books that I've read of late. It introduces a very novel concept: using technology to bring about spiritual movement. Admittedly, I did have to look up kachinas online, as the book essentially launches you in without too much fuss about descriptions and details. Though it was slightly confusing, this technique was effective in grabbing my attention and drawing me into the book itself.

As a novel, the book was excellently paced, moving briskly enough to keep the action going but slowly enough so that readers can familiarize themselves with the author's world and the odd happenings that drive Livvy's worries and suspicions. I was riveted by the time that I was a third of the way through, my fingers quickly turning the pages as I anxiously anticipated the next confrontation or the revelation of the enemy. I am sorry to say that the final denouement was a bit predictable, and a little cliche, but it was worked in rather well.

My only real complaint about this novel are the open-ended bits of plot left behind. I am assuming that this book will be part of a series, but it would have been nice to have had some inkling of why Livvy started practicing shamanism in the first place. I actually didn't think too much about it, until the character SK brought it up. As a reader, it would have been more satisfactory to have had some sort of explanation, or no mention of the issue at all. Also, one of the major plot twists had me scratching my head, wondering if it was truly necessary. It felt like a shock for shock's sake, which is unfortunate as the bulk of the story was actually rather cohesive and well-written. I'm nitpicking here, I know; on the whole, these gripes don't detract overly much from the strong storyline. I'm slightly annoyed by the confusion of "couldn't care less" and "could care less," but that's just a personal pet-peeve.

When it comes down to it, Shaman, Healer, Heretic is an enjoyable introduction to a very original idea. Readers who like conspiracies and unsung but outstanding heroes will surely appreciate such a tale. I certainly did.

Hide and Read
(Review copy provided by the author)
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on 24 November 2012
Shaman, Healer, Heretic starts with a spark and retains it throughout. It is fast-paced and easy to get wrapped up in. Techno-shamans are an interesting addition to the paranormal genre and I really appreciated the inclusion of some lesser used cultural and religious references, Hopi and Sumerian for example.

I found some of it a little predictable, but this was more than compensated for by the engaging characters. While Green left some aspects of Livvy's character shrouded in mystery she was a lot of fun. The other shamans each had a distinct character, adding variety to the book. On the downside, since the book is so fast-paced there wasn't a lot of opportunity to become as invested in the characters as one did in the conclusion of the challenges presented. You liked them, but didn't have a deep understanding of their personality. Mostly I would just call Shaman, Healer, Heretic a fun, quick read.
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on 17 April 2012
This book surprised me. It was a very entertaining read with a premise that is wholly different from books in its same genre.
Livvy is a great protagonist, with wit and spunk, but without being overly aggressive or silly. That's nice to see, since sometimes authors can take things to the extreme when it comes to making their characters "cool". She is a shaman, which I can't remember having encountering before in urban fantasy. The descriptions of the work she does to help her clients are fascinating and make the book worthwhile reading just for that.
But the plot is just as good. There's a wonderful sense of pacing in the pages and, as we come closer to the climactic point in the story, it starts to accelerate, keeping the reader breathless. The mood set, with all the different characters coming together despite their apparent dislike of each other is fun to read about. All the characters are interesting, including SK, who I thought was only going to be a peripheral one, but who turned out to be one of the more interesting ones, right up there with Livvy.
I highly recommend this one if you like urban fantasy and if you want to read something that will keep you entertained from the very beginning. I, for one, will be reading the next one in the series next.
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on 6 June 2014
I decided to try something new. I usually read more vampires, werewolves, demon and horror stuff, but I came across this book and thought "why not?!". How glad was I! It's an interesting mix of Hopi mythology (native American), New age shamanism brought into modern times with the use of technology and good old fashion adventure. It was a pleasure to read I really enjoyed Green 's descriptions of Livvy's journeys to the various worlds and also the way she portrays the other's fun. I especially like the tawa kachina! Give it a try.
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on 4 June 2012
This is the first in a fantastic new urban fantasy series. When shamans start dying, young techno-shaman Livvy is the only one willing to bend the rules of their underground society to figure out what's wrong. This is an adventure story which crosses between worlds as often as its heroine, and I loved the colourful characters and vivid description. Definitely a favourite, and I can't wait to read the next one.
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on 15 November 2015
I absolutely love this book. Can't wait to read the next one, in fact I'll be starting it tonight! I'm a big fan of witchcraft based fantasy and this is my first Shamanic focused book. It really is wonderful, full of adventure and most important of all: authentic emotional and magical/spiritual content via relatable and real characters. Must read!
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on 19 February 2015
Great concept and potential. Unfortunately half of the book was taken up with the constant pranks between the older residents and reminders of age/retirement (the reader doesn't need constant reminders). Ok to start with as part of world building but it bacame tiresome and detracted from a good story. I daren't read book 2 in case it's the same !
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on 25 October 2014
Well written, enjoyable, full of observant humour and grounded in reality. This book had all the right ingredients mixed in all the right ways. I also like the fact that it seemed to have a non-standard romantic interest.
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on 21 February 2016
My 1st read by this Author, but not my last. For me, a new concept of parallel worlds with some identifiable characters and interesting plot line. Am looking forward to the next. Paul.
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