Strange Omens Book Cover Strange Omens
Legends Walk Book 2
Jim Stein
YA Magic Realism/Contemporary Paranormal
Jagged Sky Books
January 11, 2019

Recent months in New Philadelphia have been pleasantly monster-free, allowing Edan Johnson to focus on launching the band’s new album. Music brought hope, something the world’s dwindling population desperately needed. But when a mysterious promotion company sends the A-Chords on tour and the audience splits into opposing factions, it’s clear that gods and dark forces are once again meddling.

Ed’s command of music and magic grows strong, but an arrogant goddess decrees he must not interfere. Even his own sister scolds him for casting spells. But Ed connects with the band’s free-spirited groupies and vows to keep them safe from the more sinister patrons flocking to “The Company’s” backstage events.

More hangs in the balance than the simple corruption of a few fans. These happy, bright people could be the salvation of the human race, yet are being drawn in like sheep. Someone or something stalks the tour, and evil lurks in the heart of Old Milwaukee.

Magic, monsters, and kindred spirits keep Ed and his friends scrambling to discover what’s going on behind the scenes, but an improbable friendship just might be the key to their survival.

Reviewed by: Toni

Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

Any story that begins with Kokopeli, the phallic Native American God of Fertility who was demoted to a flute-playing jokester by Spanish priests, can’t be all bad. Therefore, this story immediately had my attention.  I would’ve liked a little more background telling how Ed, son of Kokopeli’s by a Hopi  mother, came to be raised by white foster parents in Philadelphia, however. There are mentions here and there that gave some explanation but not enough. Color me naïve, but it surprised me that an 18-year-old would have his own home and live apart from his parents, even if there was a teenaged sister in residence. It’s inferred some catastrophic illness made the nation dystopic and making most humans sterile but there again no further explanation since apparently all this was covered in Book 1.  Ed and any child of a supernatural/human pairing are the only ones left to continue the human race…and there the conflict between gods and men begins.

Though this novel seemed more a bridge between Book 1 and 3, merely connecting the beginning to the end with a series of confrontations and nothing climactic,  it is well-written, both from a reading standpoint as well as grammatically. The dialogue is realistic and the characters, both human and animal, are handled in such a way that when something happens to one of them, the reader will definitely be touched. Ed’s use of music in supporting his magic is descriptively explained. Ed handles himself well in crises without most of the teenage angst, especially when the girl he loves leaves to go on a concert tour with the A-Chords and he’s left behind.  Even when he finds a way to follow the band, Quinn’s relative cold shoulder reception to his arrival doesn’t faze him.

One character I really enjoyed was Uktena, the Horned Serpent.  For a supposedly fearsome creature, Uktena showed some very human traits as he grumbled about his place in this drama. His relationship to Max, Ed’s dog, definitely betrayed the bloodless serpent image he sought to present to everyone.  The scene when Max wants him to mend his broken bunny toy was heart-touching.

WARNING:  There are a couple of deaths in this one that will undoubtedly wring sympathy from the reader, but both scenes are well written without an overabundance of emotion, gore, or pathos.

Native American folklore is a genre still barely touched upon by writers and it’s refreshing to discover an author who has decided to explore it. Looking forward to Book 3…and thanks, Jim, for not writing this in the First Person Present.