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.
In this warm debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder.
“I feel like…before, I had one way of looking at things, and now, I have a million possibilities, and I get to choose.”
Wow that blurb is long.
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance surprised me in some very big ways. I wasn’t even planning on reading it. I was out of audiobooks one day and chose one of the first fantasy books I found in the library. I wasn’t even planning on reviewing it. Yet I absolutely loved this book and by the end I just had to share because I have never seen this book brought up by anyone before.
It has been many years since I have seen the movie Big Fish, but that is what this book reminded me of the most. Only, instead of a normal guy wandering into a world that is slightly fantastical, Weylyn Grey is the fantastical thing that wanders into the lives of other people. Even more weirdly, Weylyn Grey is the main character of the book, but none of the book is from his perspective. All of it is told from the perspective of those who knew him through his long life and how they have changed for knowing him.
And this is about Weylyn Grey’s life. We start the book when he is but a child and he grows up within these pages. We meet him through Mary, also a child, when he is living with wolves after he was orphaned. We watch him find his first real home with Lydia Kramer, and we see him through the eyes of his teacher Mrs Lowry. We see him as he struggles to be a supernatural adult in a natural adult world through others who know him. And we see him through the eyes of a small child as he is an old man.
I just loved the feel of the book. I so dearly loved the way Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances handed the magical aspects of the book. How he didn’t know what he was doing, how he couldn’t control it. How he makes excuses for what is happening until he can’t any longer. And there are real consequences to being able to use this magical ability Weylyn has – it isn’t all fun and games.
It is a pretty simple book, but it doesn’t feel simple while you’re reading it. It has this feel of whimsy while being surprisingly depressing. I didn’t expect this when I started the book in any way. The prose is really light and airy, and it makes it feel like everything is going to be okay. It makes the depressing seem like a happy thing. I seriously loved this book. It was Ruth Emmie Lang’s debut and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for the world.
I should also note that the audiobook is just as lovely as the book itself, too.