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Book Review: The Wild Hunt – The Tarot Cafe Novel Vol. 1 by Chandra Rooney and Sang-Sun Park (Illustrator)

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I’ve been a fan of Sang-Sun Park’s The Tarot Café since I found and devoured the first volume. It was one of those impulse buys that justifies the next five poor choices. From the first volume to the last Park’s story and fantastic illustrations captivated me. When the series came to an end I was sad – it’s one of those stories that you want to keep going.  

Then I heard about The Wild Hunt by Chandra Rooney, a novel set in Park’s world and using her characters. At first I wasn’t sure what to think of the idea. I’m not a big fan of an author using someone else’s work or characters. The sequels never seem to be as good and the characters are always less vibrant. I think it’s a mistake to step in and try to fill someone else’s shoes, especially when what the author puts out into the world is as great at The Tarot Café. But The Wild Hunt was a pleasant surprise.  

The Wild Hunt doesn’t use Pamela as the main character, for which I was grateful, and it doesn’t pick up where volume seven of The Tarot Café left off. Instead this is a story set in the middle of the series, one of those side stories that Park herself wove through the complicated web of Pamela’s past and future, but given a different spin by Chandra Rooney.  

Bryn McMillan, a semi-famous TV actress, wakes from a strange nightmare where her boyfriend Jack was being hunted by a sinister crowd of beings. Immediately she knows that the dream was more than it seemed. When she realizes that the apartment they share is empty and Jack’s nowhere to be found Bryn goes to see her tarot reader. But again things seem to be out of place and she discovers that her regular reader has gone missing as well. With Jack and her reader gone Bryn turns to Pamela, the owner of the Tarot Café, for help.  

Pamela helps Bryn to see what is happening with Jack and how she can help. Bryn must make a choice between living her life without Jack or sharing his despair. But things are not always what they seem.  

Pamela, Aaron, and Belus all make appearances, helping or hindering Bryn through her journey. It was fun to see them again, interpreted through Chandra Rooney but still as Park created them. Park even contributed a few illustrations to the novel and they added to the overall feel, adding an authentic taste of The Tarot Cafe. 

The Wild Hunt was a quick fun read. It’s one of those novels that just flies by and I’m looking forward to the next installment in the series.  

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About Katie T. Buglet