Publisher: Michem Publishing
Release Date: June 17th, 2021
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Claire Emerson has lived an ordinary life. She married, had her son Paul, raised him, was cheated on by her husband, and is now a divorced grandmother. When she turns 60, she realises she needs a purpose, but the last thing she expected was for that purpose to be magick.
Becoming Crone is a Chosen One/Hero’s Journey Fantasy with a menopausal grandmother as the hero. Claire has no idea about her destiny, until crows arrive outside her house on the morning of her 60th birthday, and her grandson gives her a special pendant as a birthday present. But when she discovers a mysterious gate, leading to a house in the woods, she’s met by gargoyle Keven and wolf shifter Lucan, and discovers she really was supposed to have years of training under her belt before it got to that point.
With a lot of books, I find it’s the characters who can really make or break the reading experience. These ones definitely made it. This really feels like a coming-of-age novel, as Claire becomes more sure of herself and cares less about more mundane things as the novel goes on.
Although all Claire wants is to go home to her cat and family at first, she soon realises the danger she and her family are in, thanks to the Mages who are lurking around, desperately trying to get their hands on the pendant. She’s driven on by a desire to protect her loved ones, even if she doesn’t fully understand the situation.
It’s clear Hawke has crafted a whole life for Claire before we get to the start of the novel, and it shows from the first page. Claire is still trying to work through her emotions from the divorce, she finds her daughter-in-law a bit overbearing, dislikes her friend’s husband, and is close friends with her next-door neighbour. She reads as an older woman facing huge changes in her life, and she adores her grandson, even when he steals all her reading glasses.
There’s also Keven, the grouchy gargoyle who guards the house and sets about to train Lydia. Keven reads as a character who has put up with a lot, but is determined to complete tasks dutifully. Lucan is a wolf shifter, who serves as guardians to the crones. Between them, they quickly realise they have their work cut out for them when it comes to Claire, but it’s clear they truly care for her, too.
Hawke weaves in the fantasy tropes really well – there’s a nice amount of the things you usually see in YA, but transported to older character in a way that feels natural. Claire is still finding herself; she’s missed out on a lifetime of training; she’s looking for something outside her normal, everyday life. But she’s a character who has lived a life, who has a son, daughter-in-law and grandson to protect, and although her age never becomes an issue, there are moments where it does get in the way (as an example, she can’t read an important book because she’s left her reading glasses at home).
Claire really does make for a wonderful MC, and this story was an absolute joy to read. One of those times where you read the first book in the series and end up so very glad it is a series and you now have more to read.
Thank you to Michem Publishing for providing me this arc via NetGalley. Views remain my own.