Saturday, June 22, 2013
Review: The Book of Shadows
The Book of Shadows by James Reese
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Please note: I read and reviewed this book in June 2011 from a copy I purchased for myself. I'm just adding some formatting.
My response to negative reviews: I'd like to address the various negative reviews I've seen; many people have complained about the eroticism of this book. While there are indeed some sensual scenes, they are much milder than in many books I have read. I think the main problem that people have is with the bisexual aspect of it. If that will bother you, then this is obviously not a book you should read. (You should also avoid anything by Gary Jennings) Other people complained that the book was too long, too detailed, boring. This dumbfounds me - the details bring this book to life; the story flows smoothly and I was not ready for the book to end. True, those with the shortened attention span brought on by watching too much TV would probably have trouble with this book, but I expect more from readers.
Nevertheless, each person is entitled to his or her own opinion, so let me give you mine - it's better than yours ... ;-)
My Synopsis: "The Book of Shadows" is a voyage of discovery for young Herculine, who was orphaned at a young age (she thinks she was 5 or 6) and raised in a convent/boarding school by nuns and among the young ladies being trained there upon the wishes of their families. Herculine never felt a sense of belonging - instead, feeling like an outsider. Shy, withdrawn, and quiet, Herculine had few friends. Then the arrival of Peronette, the Mother Superior's niece, threw everything into disarray. Soon Herculine is accused of witchcraft. Locked into one of the convent's libraries overnight, Herculine is close to despair when a group of people - a succubus, an incubus, a demon and a witch - arrive and help Herculine to escape. Herculine IS a witch, and Sebastiana D'Azur - the witch who rescues Herculine - starts to instruct Herculine on some of the aspects of the Craft.
The Characters: I won't go any more into the story than that, so as to avoid any spoilers. Herculine is a very complex character and one I enjoyed getting to know. Sebastiana is a somewhat mysterious character - we learn much of her, but there is much we do not know. Father Louis and Madeline are incubus and succubus, and dis-incarnate. They can take form, but it takes energy to do so. Finally, Asmodei (who is really quite a jerk) is believed by Sebastiana to be a descendant of the demon Asmodeus.
My Review: As I stated above, the story flowed smoothly and, for me, it was a relatively quick read. I'd have been done sooner if it weren't that I've been feeling poorly and had to spend so much time sleeping. I found the details to be lush and vibrant, the story coming alive for me in a way few stories have. If you do not feel you would be offended by the few sex scenes (which, again, are pretty tame compared to, say, a romance novel - the only difference is the occasional bisexual aspects of it) and you enjoy a tale of growth and self-discovery, I think you'd like this story.
View all my reviews