Weylyn Grey is a little odd. Orphaned as a boy and raised by wolves, Weylyn has never been able fit back in with his own kind. He makes friends here and there, including a special friend named Mary, he has a horned pig named Merlin, and once he stopped a tornado in Oklahoma. He likes wolves because they have no reason to lie, unlike the people he meets. Plus they have howling at the moon contests.
There’s a lot of lovely magic in this story, from forests that grow overnight to phosphorescent firefly honey that can be stored in jars, but the story as a whole is a tale of realism with only a hint of magic. Weylyn never knows his own magical rules or limits, and he never finds a nemesis or great responsibility with which to use his great power. Instead, he seeks a home, both with people or with wolves, and his search is rather cozy and wholesome and heartwarming. Not all those who wander are lost, but that doesn’t apply to Weylyn, or Old Man Spider, about whom the neighborhood kids make up stories.
As with many works of fiction that cover the entirety of a person’s life, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance meanders in plot and thereby pacing. Weylyn doesn’t stay in any one place for long, and the constant movement helps to alleviate a feeling of stagnation. The story of Weylyn’s life is told from the perspectives of many of the the people who knew him, which serves to heighten his mystery but distances his motives from the reader. We see through others’ eyes that Weylyn chooses to keep himself apart from the woman he loves because he doesn’t want to endanger her, which is a tired trope, and I wonder if seeing it from his own perspective might bring more color into the story.
Thanks to Netgally and St. Martin’s Press for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Highly recommended for fans of magical realism seeking an uplifting tale with heart!
“We shook on it and worked out some of the finer points of the deal – compensation, lodging, and so on – then Weylyn handed me his business card. It had his name printed on it in plain black type and the words ‘Assistant to Mr. Merlin, the Storm-Taming Pig!’ scribbled beneath it in pencil.”