I downloaded The Shaman Priest and Where ‘d You Go Bernadette at the same time. I opened Shaman first, because I am a long-time fan of the author’s work based on her web persona. I was curious to see how her style would map over from short blogs to a novel-length narrative.
I am now so engrossed in the story that I am sneaking a few paragraphs between meetings at work and reading frantically in the morning until I am forced to turn off my Kindle. I have no favorite genre. I love “literary fiction,” the classics, murder mysteries, psycho-dramas, and even love stories if they are fun and interesting, as in Gone Girl (which is also a murder mystery and psycho drama, incidentally). I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but if it were all as lusciously written as Shaman Priest, I would seek it out.
Three main things I am loving about this book:
1) The non-fictional historical quotes that introduce the chapters are gems culled from many sources, and just the right length to set the stage– just a few sentences– then you are back into the story. I am not a history buff, but I have loved reading these snippets. I’m betting that any lover of historical fiction will especially enjoy this element of the novel’s composition. I am very much appreciating the clear view into a world that I barely knew existed.
2) The occasional grand jettes into different decades and even centuries add texture and context without detracting from the main narrative. I am loving this layered approach to the culture that enriches the tale. If you are usually a reader who likes your chronology to be linear, put on your time traveler hat and enjoy the ride! To me, it creates a kaleidoscopic aspect that makes the story especially fascinating.
3) Most of all, it’s an engaging tale. I was fully immersed in the characters’ world and desperate to learn what would happen next, from the first page. The writing is pleasingly intelligent and colorful, but it never calls attention to itself. It immediately recedes as the story takes over, which is the hallmark of brilliant story-telling; the secret sauce that makes good books so addictive.
I’ll be watching for Karen Hopkins. I’ll buy her next book the instant it hits Amazon. I am excited to have found a new favorite author.
I didn’t know what to expect when I began reading this book. It turns out that I learned about Guatemalan history and culture, about the impact that government and religion can have on a society, and about the very different ways that people can choose to respond to personal tragedy. I had no idea that Shaman Priest would be such a page turner. Specifically from the first moment that the lives of innocent people are lost, I never wanted to put the book down. I was caught up in learning more about the characters in the story and seeing where their choices would take them. I was surprised by developments in the plot that I somehow didn’t see coming.
I enjoyed the historical quotes and references that were inserted along the way. These factual tidbits gave significance and meaning to the fictional story as it unfolded. This book left me wanting to know more about the past and present Central American political climate, and wanting to read more by Karen Hopkins!
You will love reading this story about the people of Guatemala, and the characters that come to life as you read about them. I couldn’t put the book down! You know when you read a book, and you are almost disappointed when its finished? This is one of those books. The book made me think a lot about human nature, and the political systems that each country lives under. The author does a great job of intertwining history with telling a story about Maria’s life, and the Shaman Priest’s life too. The story has enough intrigue, romance, sorrow and loss, joy and triumph, to satisfy anyone looking for a good book to read. I would highly recommend it! You’ll be glad you did.