Book Review: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance – Ruth Emmie Lang
Title: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance Author: Ruth Emmie Lang Publisher: St. Martin's Press Publication date: 07 November 2017 Genre: Magical Realism
Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.
That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to town, although he doesn’t like to take credit. As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places. From freak storms to trees that appear to grow over night, Weylyn’s unique abilities are a curiosity at best and at worst, a danger to himself and the woman he loves. But Mary doesn’t care. Since Weylyn saved her from an angry wolf on her eleventh birthday, she’s known that a relationship with him isn’t without its risks, but as anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave.
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.
There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.
In this warm debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder.
“so, it’s true?”I nodded. “I know it sounds crazy.”“I like crazy stories,” she said and leaned across the counter, her long black hair spilling over her shoulder.
“Actually, it’s kind of a love story.”Sophia raised her eyebrow and smiled sweetly.“Even better.”
This book about Weylyn Grey, a boy who was raised by wolves, truly is a crazy love story like the quote in the beginning of this review says. But because this story is not told by Weylyn himself, but by the people he meets in his life, it becomes more crazy than love. I don’t mean this in a bad way. The crazy and magical parts are what made this book good and interesting. When I read that this book is not told by the main character but by the people he met during his life I feared that I wouldn’t feel connected with Weylyn or the other characters. The book covers a huge part of Weylyn’s life and he doesn’t stay in one place for very long so there is a quite bit of narrator switching going on in this book. Still, I never felt like the switching was too much, there are characters he meets again and because of that it gets very personal and emotional at some points. Feeling connected with characters is one of the most important aspects in any book for me. Ruth Emmie Lang succeeds wonderfully in creating that bond between a reader and a character.
Although the story had less fantasy in it than I thought it would have, it still felt magical. The focus of the book was more on how Weylyn’s magical abilities made him an outcast. The book reminded me a lot of Forest Gump. Raised by wolves, Weylyn missed a lot of his social skills and at times it created the same sort of conversations Forest Gump had. The romance part fitted nice in with the rest of the story. It gave the book a somewhat realistic but still fairy tale-like ending.
There was a lot of smart humour in this book. The description of some people was just hilarious. Some examples of the one-liners this book is filled with:
Her hobbies include narcissism and auditioning for The Dating Game.
She was a ballerina and a pathological liar, and her favorite food was celery.
There were also a lot of emotional and sad parts in this book. There was a good mixture of dry humour and real emotions. But there was one thing I did miss. There is no explanation given as to where Weylyn’s abilities come from. Nobody seems to be curious why he has magic and nobody else has. The question of how nobody missed a child (even if it’s parents were killed) is also never raised. For me those were some basic questions, and the lack of answers bothered me when the book ended.
This book is a good book to read when you feel like you’re constantly reading the same sort of fantasy books and you want to read something unique and one of a kind.