Book Review: Alaana’s Way – The Calling by Ken Altabef

Publisher: Cats Cradle Press

Publishing Date: October 30th, 2014

Genre: Fantasy

Formats: Kindle, Paperback, e-book,

Source: BookTourTips review copy in return for an honest review

Bee’s: 5 out of 5

About the story:

Alaana, a young girl of the Anatook tribe, nearly dies of a fever brought to the tribe by a fever demon but gets saved by the spirit of the wind.

When she recovers, she has changed and has to take up the path of the first female shaman in her icy world. Secrets are surrounding her teacher that she is not yet allowed to discover. Her father is more than suspicious both of her teacher and her chosen path.

Will she prevail and become the healer, protector and guide for her people?

About the Author:

Ken Altabef is a retired doctor whose writing has been published in several fantasy and sci-fi magazines as well as anthologies. He is a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America and writes short stories besides his epic fantasy series “Alaana’s Way”. Ken Altabef says about himself: “As a child, I was hopelessly traumatized when I witnessed a man actually walking on the surface of the moon. I’ve been writing fantasy and science fiction ever since” (quote from kenaltabef.com).

Honey Bees in the book:

Well, it doesn’t happen very often that I give 5 out of 5 Bees for a book. “Alaana’s Way ~ The Calling” though is one of those books that have hooked me from the beginning. It helped, of course, that I am extremely interested in Shamanism and have been reading up on the topic for many years. I know nothing though about the Inuit or their culture from which Ken Altabef took inspiration for this book. Their mythology is one source for Alaana’s Way.

The characters, both humans and spirits, feel real and fitting. They are not shown in black and white but have their struggles and incongruencies getting in the way of finding a solution for challenges. Also, the setting, the icy tundra of the north, feels real and either well researched or known from living there. Life in a cold world must be really hard. I often wondered how the Inuit have managed to make a living for themselves in a country that half of the year is in total darkness and the other half never sees the sun set.

I love the central character Alaana who is a little bit stroppy, doesn’t often take no for an answer and questions those things she doesn’t understand. Of course, that makes a calling to be a shaman not easy. Too many things have to be experienced and not questioned. Being a shaman in training also puts her into an outsider position, and too many of us have experience with that. This experience makes it easy for the reader to connect with her and the story.

Her relationship with her teacher, the mysterious Old Manatook is a difficult one. She used to be scared of him as he doesn’t easily connect with children. But they get to know each other well. In my opinion, they both teach each other and slowly the fear changes into trust.

Her father’s suspicions against Old Manatook and Shamanism itself do not help though. It is refreshing to see your own questions about spirituality featured so clearly. Again: It cannot be questioned but must be experienced, and that is not easy with an inquisitive mind.

Besides these conflicts, Alaana has to face some adventures in this world as well as the spirit world which she braves with wit and sometimes a great deal of luck.

Stinging Bees in the book:

There is not much I would like to add here. I loved the language used, the characters, the setting and, all in all, the structure of the book. There have been some jumps from one scene to another, which I found difficult to understand at first. On the other hand, though I love these sort of jumps as they keep me alert and keep my mind occupied.

And the mead of it all?

This is a beautiful and exotic story that leads you from one adventure to another. “Alaana’s Way ~ The Calling” is an entertaining read both for adults and teenagers, and I am already eager to buy this and the other books of the series. I am sure I will read them on and off.

You can purchase “Alaana’s Way – The Calling” and all the other books of the series here:
Amazon Alaana’s Way

You would like to know more about Ken Altabef? Please look here:

Ken’s Author Page
Ken on Twitter

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Alaana’s Way – The Calling by Ken Altabef

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.