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The enchantment emporium by Tanya Huff
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The enchantment emporium (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Tanya Huff

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6123915,926 (3.78)42
Member:cerce7
Title:The enchantment emporium
Authors:Tanya Huff
Info:New York : DAW Books, c2009.
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Urban Fantasy, eBook, Dragons, Witches, Magic, Romance, Calgary

Work details

The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff (2009)

  1. 10
    The Thread that Binds the Bones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Both books are about magical families with unique powers
  2. 00
    A Fistful Of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (amberwitch)
    amberwitch: Urban fantasy, magic families
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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
While I enjoyed this book, I wonder how much of that is simply because of the change of pace. I've been power reading and analyzing my way through major UF series, and I'm a bit burned out. I've decided that stand alone UF is outside the scope of my little study, so The Enchantment Emporium was a break for me.

I enjoyed the characters, and the inclusion of positive sexual agency in the story. I liked that sex is treated casually rather than as a big puritanical OMG they did what! as it is in most books. I really liked that post menopausal sex was portrayed as positive, enjoyable, valuable and acceptable.

Now, that being said, there are no sex scenes in this novel. It is surprisingly PG given the trend toward lurid sexually transgressive scenes in UF at the moment. Normally this would not present the issue it did, but much of the (literal instead of social) power dynamics in this novel revolve around/involve various sex acts. And not giving me sex scenes actually made it a little hard to understand exactly what was happening with the plot. Kind of a unique issue and I am somewhat amused to find myself saying as much.

While I like that the novel doesn't devote massive sections to background, it really would benefit from a little more exposition than was given. Magic takes the form of charms, which are drawn, usually with liquid things, but it never gets specific about how the magic works. And it never gets specific about how the magical hierarchy works despite this being a major source of tension throughout the novel.

The dragons rock. And the central driving plot regards an irresponsible father who abandoned both his child and the woman who he slept with. Which, given the context which implies that it may have been non consensual sex, I can get on board with.

The magical structure of both the humans and dragons are matriarchies. It is always interesting to see how those dynamics play out. And there is this wonderful scene where all the powerful old ladies (read: crone reference) are wearing purple with red hats which is a total reference to Jenny Joseph's poem "Warning: When I am an Old Woman I shall Wear Purple." I loved it.

I am a little torn on the gender dynamics here. There are only 2 male characters who function outside the female dominated power structure, one of which is the big bad who screwed over (literally) the Dragon Queen. So yes, we expect him to be punished. But one of the major questions here is whether a powerful male can be trusted with his power, implying that the powerful women must keep him in line because "power corrupts" and they "go bad" or "go wild" left to their own devices. No explanation of why men are corrupted by power and women are not is offered. Perhaps the reverse sexism is political commentary in and of itself. I could write a good paper arguing that.

The second powerful male is the main character's older brother. Only he ends up, I think, serving a traditional purpose in the power structure (not sure since the power structure is only hinted at rather than fully explained) rather than rebelling in some way that proves that men don't need to be controlled by women to be good people. And it supposedly turns out that he isn't nearly as powerful as the matriarchy feared. Which, in a way, castrates his character. It's like the miscarriages that always happen to women on tv shows who are contemplating abortion: rather than confront the issue, they just remove the issue having stuck only their collective big toe in the pool of gender transgression.

Sometimes one of the most effective ways to expose an inequality is to flip the dynamic. I think that is some of what is happening here. I need to start writing again, perhaps I will start with this tomorrow. We live in a society where women in power are distrusted, undermined and ostracized. In this book the women are in power and distrust and manipulate males in power. The main character seeks to address this because she sees it as an issue. When powerful men "go wild" they are hunted down and neutralized. When powerful women "go wild" they are considered somewhat derisively by the rest of the family, but effectively left to do their own thing. This really is the mirror image of what we have in our culture and bears interrogation as such.

Anyway, good book, unique construction, solid characters, good sexual agency, and interesting take on the supernatural. ( )
1 vote raselyem7 | Aug 30, 2014 |
I actually expected a lot more from this book from some of the reviews I'd read. I didn't dislike it, in fact, I went on to read the next one in the series, but it wasn't the greatest book I've read recently. The story itself was good for the most part; the magic fairly innovative, the characters were interesting and the romance wasn't dull. On the downside, the family aspects were kind of creepy and in a few places the writing itself was nigh incomprehensible. All in all, not the worst I've read, but certainly not the best. ( )
  HeartlessOne42 | Nov 14, 2013 |
I had enjoyed the Blood books (which led to the Blood Ties tv series) and am glad I gave this a go too :0)

It takes a little while to sort out what is going on as it's not handed to you on a plate but it's well worth it and the humour is there from the start.

I really hope there will be more books in this series :0) ( )
  Natalie_Fallon | Sep 8, 2013 |
Quirky and fun! The cover does it no justice! The characters are amazing, the plot is exciting, and the nerd references are great! ( )
  LaPhenix | Aug 29, 2013 |
Amazon preorder,Amazon received
  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
The Enchanted Emporium is a delight from start to finish—by turns humorous, romantic (when it's not downright lusty), and dramatic. Huff finds a way to blend all the disparate threads into an engaging whole, which is no easy task.

So far, this is easily one of my favorite books of the year.
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Sue and Tom.

For True Love.

For Happily Ever After.
First words
Shoot the moon was considered to be one of the more dangerous yoyo tricks.
Quotations
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
power corrupts
I sold a yoyo while you were gone.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The Gales of Southern Ontario can change the world with the charms they cast, and they prefer to keep all this power in the family. The Gale Aunties are in charge of this clan, or like to think they are. Alysha, like all her cousins, often finds herself beset with too many Aunties trying to run her life.

So when a letter from her missing Gran arrives telling her that she's inherited a junk shop in Calgary, Alysha is ready and willing to honor her grandmother's last request to keep the shop open and serve "the community."

The Aunties, of course, want her to find out what really happened to Gran and come right back home, where they have her future mapped out for her.
It isn't until she arrives in Calgary that Alysha realizes it's the fey community she'll be serving in the Enchantment Emporium - and that one person's junk may be another person's magical treasure.
Finding out what happened to Gran will not be easy, especially since Alysha has no way of knowing just how much otherworldly trouble is brewing in Calgary. And even calling in family reinforcements may not be enough to save the day...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0756405556, Hardcover)

The bestselling author of the Blood Books delivers a masterful new urban fantasy.

Alysha Gale is a member of a family capable of changing the world with the charms they cast. Then she receives word that she's inherited her grandmother's junk shop in Calgary, only to discover upon arriving that she'll be serving the fey community. And when Alysha learns just how much trouble is brewing in Calgary, even calling in the family to help may not be enough to save the day.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:46 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Alysha Gale is a member of a family capable of changing the world with the charms it casts. Then she receives word that she's inherited her grandmother's junk shop in Calgary, only to discover upon arriving that she'll be serving the fey community. And when Alysha learns just how much trouble is brewing in Calgary, even calling in the family to help may not be enough to save the day.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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