Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang: a Book Review

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is a thrilling, heart-warming, whimsical story. It is all the more impressive when one considers that it is the author’s debut novel. Ruth Emmie Lang has crafted a superbly rendered modern day fairy tale, brimming with magical realism and full of heart. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is one of my favorite novels to date.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is the story of Weylyn Grey, a plucky orphan raised by wolves and capable of fantastical feats. The story is told from the perspectives of the people who know him and whose lives, however briefly, he has entered and left changed. From the love of his life, Mary Penlore, to his foster sister Lydia Kramer, his second foster mother Meg Lowry, and even a few people that Weylyn merely met in passing, each of them have a story to tell about the wonder Weylyn brought to their lives. Wonders like saving a town from a Hurricane, stopping a blackout with jars full of incandescent honey harvested from fireflies, growing thick forests of trees over night and communicating with animals.

My name is Weylyn Grey, and I’m near-sighted, allergice to rag-weed, and my feet are flat. I can’t cast spells, I don’t grant wishes, and I’m not sure if I can turn a frog into a prince, but I have no intention of finding out. Some people like to think I can affect the weather, but I’d still recommend a good, old-fashioned umbrella for keeping the rain off.

On her 11th birthday, Weylyn saves Mary from an angry wolf. The pair finds kinship and caring in one another, and embark upon a month long journey with the wolf pack that leaves each of them altered. Although, they do go their separate ways their stories intersect time and again, and as they age and mature, so too does their love story. However, afraid of hurting her and others he cares about, Weylyn chooses to live his life largely alone in and out of wolf packs.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is a sweeping, majestic novel. It warmed my heart, made me laugh, and made me cry. I thoroughly loved everything about it and do not have sufficient words to sing its’ praises. This was a breathtaking debut, and I know that I am anxiously awaiting Ruth Emmie Lang’s next work.

The moment Weylyn took his first bewildered gulp of fresh air, it began to snow. Not just in flurries, but buckets of the stuff, tumbling through the sky and belly flopping on the ground outside the hospital room window.

If you enjoyed Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance, I would like to point you next to Laura Groff. The Monsters at Templeton and Fates and Furies are both slightly magical and read similarly, although they aren’t quite as fantastical as Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance.


Author: Lee Ann Fryman

Lee Ann is a poet, fiction writer, and blogger located in Lexington, Kentucky. She received an MA in English from Northern Kentucky University, and has BAs in Theatre and English from Morehead State University.

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