Book Review: C.E. Murphy’s Raven Calls

Posted August 23, 2014 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: C.E. Murphy’s Raven Calls

Raven Calls

It is part of the Walker Papers #7 series and is a in Paperback edition on March 1, 2012 and has 384 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon., Barnes & NobleKobo.

Seventh in the Walker Papers urban fantasy series and revolving around an urban shaman, Joanne Walker, a detective in Seattle. This story continues where Spirit Dances, 6, left off.

My Take

This is more fantastical … hmmm, maybe not … than earlier stories. I think my thoughts were that Raven Calls is more fantastical because Joanne goes off to Ireland and flips back in time, battles the Morrígan, meets up with ancestors — and her mum! — battles more bad guys … Yep, it’s definitely more fantastical, lol. Yeah, I know you’re gonna say that Joanne battles bad guys, meets up with gods and monsters, runs around on alternate planes, and shapeshifts all the time. And she does. However, this is more. And scarier because Joanne loses Gary in time and battle! And the cauldron from Walking Dead, 4, plays a very important part in this.

She finds her family’s beginnings with some interesting crossover into the Irish gods and goddesses and werewolf origins with a dip into the fae mythology — I did tell ya this was fantastical, right? Speaking of family, Jo has learned that her mother dumping her off on her dad was more altruistic than she had thought, what with her mom needing to save the world over and over again, cleansing the taint from Irish soils.

One of the things I like about this series, about Jo, is her ability to laugh at herself. Suddenly thrown into this woo-woo world with magical powers, and in spite of all her reluctance to learn, Jo does poke fun at it. I love it that Morrison called Gary and sent him to help Jo in Ireland. And that impulse buy of hers at the airport. Very impractical, but oh so pretty. The sad realization about the warmth of the necklace, and its current state made me cry.

Oh. My. God. Shelia tells Joanne about her father and Oh. My. God. It makes tremendous sense, and Joanne, again, gets her childhood’s perspective twisted … or should I say untwisted? … yet again.

I’m feeling left out on the high king/husband issue and on how Suzanne fits into this. Is Murphy saying that what’s happening in this distant past is because of Suzanne rewriting time? How does Suzanne eliminating a zombie in Seattle in Jo’s time change time in Ireland thousands of years ago? Then there are Méabh’s words about Nuada being the last of the aos sí kings and men coming to the seat of Tara ever since, and she’s speaking as if it’s a change. I don’t get where it’s any different. It’s loop after loop after loop in this story. It leaves as many questions as well as tying so many things together. I am feeling so confused.

Ah-ha, the explanation behind the living silver hand. Nice one. This definition of the Fir Bolg is a new one! I never thought (or read anywhere) that the Fir Bolg are humans. It does make sense, in a way. That cracked me up when Brigid tells Jo that she is on a warrior’s path, and it’s vindication for Jo when everyone so far has been telling her that shamans only heal.

Mmm, I like how Murphy describes Cernunnos, as “a raw piece of star stuff made into a beautiful inhuman form full of lust and energy and anger”.

How Murphy manages to maintain Gary’s speech patterns is amazing. It makes him so real.

Oh, yeah. That’s one of our biggest problems these days: might makes right. Murphy ties that concept right into the Master’s philosophy and doesn’t that sound like what’s happening in our world today? The world is full of people who don’t want to work together. They’re all out for their piece of the pie, and it’s a concept that Jo finally gets in Raven Calls, that she is only part of a whole. Truths she doesn’t want to know and needs to know.

Murphy talks of how we throw money at companies to build bigger, better, badder weapons while schools hold bake sales to purchase supplies for kids. Think of how poorly funded orphanages and foster care systems are funded. How much better the world could be if we threw that kind of weapons-money into raising ALL our children to be better people.

Oh, god, it’s too funny. Fifteen-year-old Joanne is railing away at twenty-eight-year-old Joanne, and she’s so full of truths. MORE truths, lol. Only, I really shouldn’t be laughing at older Jo. It’s what we do. It’s what I do. Run. Be fearful of success.

“Sure and legend never lets truth get in the way of a good story.”

The Story

Joanne’s on the run in so many ways: she’s quit her job and she’s racing off to Ireland, desperately believing her only hope of surviving the werewolf bite is to find the woman in her vision. Only she turns out to be vicious with her own Master, one Jo is determined to destroy.

Meeting Lugh and the Morrígan persuades Jo, rather quickly, that this Ireland is not “the place of balance and peace” Lugh believes. All due to Suzanne’s re-writing of time in Walking Dead, and Joanne must “close the loop”.

The Characters

Joanne Walker, aka, Siobhán Walkingstick, is a half-Irish, half-Cherokee shaman detective on the Seattle PD. Her spirit guides are Raven and Rattler. Gary Muldoon is her seventy-four-year-old best friend, a taxi driver, her companion in this whole new shamanic world of Jo’s, and he carries a totem spirit, a tortoise. His late wife was Annie. Aidan is Jo’s child who survived the birth. Coyote gets a cry for help in this, and big Coyote shows up as well. Sheila MacNamarra is Jo’s dead mother/banshee. Caitríona O’Reilly is Sheila’s oldest niece and will become the next Irish Mage.

Méabh (think Maeve) is the trifold goddess and Queen of Connacht and Ulster — and the Morrígan’s only child. To be king, a man had to get Méabh’s blessing. Brigid — maiden, mother, crone — was the other side of the Morrígan — warrior, witch, death. Cernunnos is the god of the Hunt and leads the Wild Hunt, and is still a “creature of order … [who] … helped maintain the flow of life into death”. áine is a goddess of chaos

The aos sí, a.k.a., elves, Tuatha de Daanan
Lugh is the ard rí Joanne meets first. Nuada of the Silver Hand made Jo’s necklace as well as the sword she got from Cernunnos. Eochaidh is the guy who cut off Nuada’s hand. Bres, once ard rí, was the zombie removed from time. Seems that the Red Caps have also been twisted, realistically, into Murphy’s fae world. Although I do disagree with Caitríona calling him a leprechaun; it’s just too far outside the pale for me. As for her referring to him as a fear darrig? Nope, Ain’t buying that one either. Ailill Mac Mata is Mébh’s love and a Gancanagh, who’s all about love and life.

Captain Michael Morrison had been Joanne’s boss — until she quit. And they’re both looking forward to her getting back. Billy Holliday, a medium, doesn’t know it, but he’s Jo’s former partner. Suzanne Quinley is the “teenage demigod granddaughter to the Wild Hunt”.

Tara is a spiritual center with a standing stone, the Lia Fáil, Stone of Destiny. A gwyld is the Gaelic word for shaman. At Tara, they are called connected; our time calls them adepts. An ard rí is the high king. Cromm was the Fomorian king Nuada defeated. Special Agent Sarah Buchanan Isaac was Jo’s best friend in school and married to the boy, Lucas, who fathered Jo’s children.

The Morrígan is surrounded by three ravens, carries a blazing sword, and looks just like Jo’s mother. And she calls the Master hers. Banshees are wailing women, creatures of the Master. So far, all we know about the Master is that he’s the big bad. Aibhill is the O’Brien banshee, the queen of the banshees and lives in the “heart of Thiobraid áran“.

The Cover & Title

The cover is perfect blending metaphor and reality with the grays of a stormy Ireland. The stone Celtic cross with a sweater-clad Jo holding her mother’s necklace, her beaded belt continuing to proclaim her mixed heritage. The rocky hill before her with Raven flying overhead.

The title is the familiar for several characters in this — the Morrígan and Joanne — the Raven Calls to attack or to save.