Review: Shaman

There are no secrets, there is no mystery. We make that all up. In fact, it’s all right there in front of us. You have to have enough food to get through winter and spring. That’s what it all comes down to. You have to live in a way that will gather enough food each fall to get through winter.

Take a survival story (a la Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet), re-tune it for a world where survival is life rather than a temporary situation (ten thousand or so years ago), sprinkle in an oddly modern feeling narrator, and make it super horny… voila. Shaman.

I at once rather enjoyed it and was rather annoyed by good parts of it.

On one hand, I really like the survival aspects of the story. It feels viscerally real, even if you never get quite to the point of feeling like any of the main characters could very well be killed tomorrow, it does feel like tomorrow might very well suck… and then eventually they’ll figure out how to make it through.

On another hand, man is this story horny. I wouldn’t be surprised if a good half of the story had parts about Loon (the main character’s) penis, or about erections / ejaculation, or about him thinking all women (even animals, not even kidding) are sexy and how he wants to have sex with them all. It’s… a lot.

And the old ones were burly people, as strong as bears or wolverines. One of Thorn’s stories told how an old one had married a bear by mistake, and neither of them had noticed; their daughter told them about it years later, not at all pleased with them.

On another other hand, I really do like the characterizations, even if I don’t necessarily like all of the characters. For as sex-obsessed as he is, the main character Loon just feels like he’s trying to do his best, by his clan, his family, and everyone he meets. The old Shaman is gruff and trying to pass on what he can.

On another hand (just go with it at this point), the characters feel… rather modern. I have no idea what people ten thousand years ago would have spoken like. I don’t know how developed language even was then–I don’t know if anyone does, although I am curious. But to have lines like “I can paint that fucking cave.” just sort of jump out at you was disorienting at best. And

Overall, if you can get by just how horny it is, it’s an interesting read. And believe me, you’ll know how annoying it’ll be before you even meet your second character. 😄

Becoming a shaman is a fate that can strike anyone. Even you.