MacAvoy, R. A. -- Death and Resurrection

It has been a really, really long time since I read any R.A. MacAvoy. It's been so long that I barely remember what she's like as a writer. Answer, as of the present: not exactly like other fantasy writers.

Ewan Young lives in Washington State. He's Chinese-American ("Yuan", in earlier generations); he paints for a living; he part-time runs a martial arts school; he has a twin sister and a terrible ex-girlfriend and a cute nephew and this is the sort of novel where those people will orbit through his life, a lot, in various ways. It's urban fantasy, but that's to give the people somewhere to meet.

See, Ewan has a near-death experience and get Buddhist Superpowers! I am very, very wary of Buddhist Superpowers. See, when I was a kid I was a stone-cold fanatical Spider Robinson fan... Well, long story short, it can be done poorly. This book does it well. What we have is a four-novella series (in one volume) about (unsurprisingly) death and Resurrection (Resurrection is the dog's name). (Or maybe three novellas and a coda.) Ewan deals with spirits, ghosts, monsters, the souls of mixed-up teenagers, and so on -- but, like I said, these are not stories about how Ewan is a magical superhero. They're four things that happen to him; and meditation turns out to be helpful, as it usually does for him. If you're expecting modern urban fantasy, you will be left off-balance, but I liked these.

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