Book Review: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

My name is Weylyn Grey, and I’m near-sighted, allergic to ragweed, and my feet are flat. I can’t cast spells, I don’t grant wishes, and I’m not sure if I can turn a from into a prince, but I have no intentions of finding out. Some people like to think I can affect the weather, but I’d still recommend a good, old-fashioned umbrella for keeping the rain off. It’s also been said I can talk to animals, but if you want me to teach your dog to speak English, I’m sorry. You’re out of luck.

Like a summer breeze or a burst of lightening, Weylyn Grey enters and exits the lives of our various narrators in Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang. It is through these perspectives, and the variety of ways in which Weylyn interacted with these characters, that we grow to know and love our protagonist—quirks, suspected supernatural abilities and all.

Weylyn story begins like a tale of Western folklore—orphaned as a child, he is raised by a wolf pack, learning the ways of the forest. He is gentle though primitive and it quickly becomes clear that those aren’t his most unusual qualities. In his presence, depending on the provocation, odd things happen: weather patterns change abruptly, creatures manufacture magical substances and nature bends to his will. When his world bumps up against more traditional society his peculiar ways are amplified; however, through this contrast we see even deeper into his true human nature.

There is one person, Mary, with whom he bonds early on, and as the story ebbs and flows she becomes the anchor that draws him back. It isn’t until he recognizes the potential danger within himself that he is forced to choose between the life he knows and the life he desires.

The story is ripe with magical elements but Weylen’s personal struggle is relatable and distinctly real. The world Lang paints is heartfelt, charming and remarkable. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is magical realism at its finest.


A review copy of this title was provided by St. Martin’s Press

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