Primary Genre(s): Fantasy, Magical Realism
Published: 14 November 2017 by St. Martin’s Press
Page count: 346 (print)
My Format: ebook via Overdrive/Libby
Do I Recommend: Yes!
Commission Link (U.S.): Buy Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
My rating: ★★★★★
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.
I fully admit I chose to read this book based on two things: the title and the opening statement of the synopsis. This is a completely spontaneous book choice that ended up being a new favorite. I love serendipity! Here are my pros and cons for Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance:
- Let me start by saying that I am astounded that this is a debut novel from this author. It is written so exceptionally well that it feels like it is from a much more seasoned author. This story has a heart and soul and I’m very impressed.
- The book cover has a comment that states “Both a fairy tale and a love story…” and that is exactly what this book is.
- What is amazing to me is how the “magical” part of the story almost seems normal and relatable. I adore magical realism novels, and this is one of the best I’ve ever read because the “realism” part is so prominent in this story, and the “magical” part is plausible.
- This book is about Weylyn Grey, but we only learn about him through the people he has known throughout his life. I thought that was a highly creative way to tell his story, especially since most of the people in Weylyn’s life seemed to really love him, even if they didn’t completely understand him.
- The love story part of the book was also very unique! I won’t even try to describe it… you just have to read it.
- I appreciated how Weylyn’s life was so connected to animals and nature. I admired how gentle and caring he was. I loved how he impacted the lives of others, whether he realized he did or not. Again, I won’t include any spoilers, but Weylyn’s life – from birth to manhood – was a joy to experience. He’s an unforgettable character for sure!
- I adored the ending.
As of today, this book has 16,308 ratings on Goodreads with a 4.20 average rating. That is phenomenal! I still don’t know how this book escaped my notice when it first came out, but I am astoundingly happy I have finally read it. It is enchanting, endearing, and wholly enveloping. I honestly believe if you like magical realism at all, you will absolutely love this book.
It appears that this is the only book the author currently has available, although according to Goodreads she has a book coming out sometime in 2022 called The Wilderwomen. If it is half as good as Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance, I cannot wait to read it.
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