Takakush - Genus Magica Book 1


Must read 🏆

Vibrant, unique fantasy set in the Pacific Northwest. Compelling smart characters, snappy pacing, and Lithuanian mythology make this a hit.

I loved this book. I can't say enough how much I loved this book. I want to start with that.

In Takakush - Genus Magica Book One, Raine Reiter weaves a character-driven contemporary fantasy starring a matriarchal family of nature priestesses in search of a magical creature who has killed people in the area.

The main character, Elena, is a professor at the local university. She is called in to assist Fish and Wildlife expert Boone Anderson on what is first suspected to be a bear attack - but may be something quite different. Elena relies upon her intelligence, her strength, and her goddess-given harmony with the forest to help Boone. Snarky back-and-forth that gets serious fast when necessary makes enjoying this pair easy, as in this cafeteria scene:

"I'm leaving, and you can't stop me." Elena twirled away.

"Dr. Lukas?" he called.

"What?" she spat, her back to him.

"You rode to the hospital with me." His deadpan was perfect.

Support characters work together to help Boone and Elena, and they really make this story shine. From Elena's family, her grandmother, mother, and little sister, to the animals (a raven, a cat, and Boone's Karelian Bear Dog, Ohto), every character is lovingly crafted and detailed. Ohto the dog is my favorite, though the grandmother is a close second. The family is of Lithuanian descent, and Reiter's writing is so vivid that I really felt as if I were in the bed and breakfast Elena's mother owns. Elena's grandmother speaks in broken English with Lithuanian phrases delivered in such a way that one can almost see the white-haired, good-natured elder standing there insistently speaking them:

"Jūsų rankos." Ragana stretched out her tattooed hands and displayed her palms.

"I'm sorry?" Boone didn't budge. "You want my hand?"

"Jūsų rankos." Her countenance declared this was not a request.

The reader can feel both Boone's awkwardness and Ragana's confidence in what she's doing.

The backstory is there, but it isn't overdone, so a full, rich story is delivered in 70,000 words. Boone's PTSD is revealed essentially in one line: "Here in the wild places far from the war fields of Iraq and Afghanistan, Boone could relax." Will it come up again? We'll see, but this is an author whose writing allows us to trust her.

While this is clearly a work that supports strong female roles, it doesn't make the mistake of eliminating or minimizing male contributions. Boone is a strong yin to Elena's yang, and although they have differing viewpoints, they are able to work together. So many different personality types come and go through this work that it is a truly well-embroidered reading experience.

Frankly, my only wish was for more story, but hopefully, that will come in time. Takakush - Genus Magica Book One will appeal to most contemporary fantasy readers, readers in search of great feminine leads, and fans of mythology, particularly Eastern European or Russian mythology.

Reviewed by

I have numerous interests, from history to mystery, science to kids. I am a retired MD - a transplant left me with time for family, friends, faith, fun, fiction, film, & furry companions. For direct submissions, pls let me know why you're requesting me. Use FB or my em, julia.hoover1@gmail.com :) .


About the author

Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Raine enjoys mythology and folklore. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and wanders the Olympic Peninsula with her silly dog Luke. view profile

Published on January 25, 2021

Published by

70000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Fantasy

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