"This wonderful, whimsical, warm-hearted novel is filled with subtle and not-so-subtle nods to the books I loved as a child."
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Why I love it
This wonderful, whimsical, warm-hearted novel is filled with subtle and not-so-subtle nods to the books I loved as a child. White Fang, The Jungle Book, The Wizard of Oz, Charlotte’s Web, and even Lord of the Rings—they’re all in there. Reading Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance made me realize that there’s nothing better than a novel that feels both new and familiar at the same time.
Beasts follows the lovable Weylen Grey, a lone wolf (pun intended), whose life is the stuff of fairy tales: his parents die in a blizzard, he was raised by wolves, he struggles with a foster family, meets a magic pig, stops a tornado, struggles to fit into society, and wanders the country on all sorts of grand adventures. And, he falls love.
This story defies all meteorological, botanical, and geographical laws. Thunderstorms and blizzards show up seemingly out of nowhere, forests grow overnight, and wild animals seem to be able to communicate with humans. It’s both a fairy tale and a love story, but love and affection seems to envelop so many different things: the natural world, a family, a partner, and the unexpected joys of navigating life’s ups and downs.
Reading this book is so comfortable and uplifting, you almost feel as if you could conjure a herd of fireflies to get through a power outage, or a field of daffodils to celebrate a loved one’s birthday. Beasts is exactly the book I needed right now, and it made me so happy I wanted to howl at the moon.
In this warm debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder. 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.