Kai-Enna is the Witch King, though he hasn’t always been, and he hasn’t even always been Kai-Enna!
After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.
But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?
Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.
The protagonist Kai, a demon prince of the Fourth House called the Witch King who uses his touch to drain the life of his victims to fuel his own magic and life force wakes in a disembodied state to find he has been assassinated. Sacrifices are dragged into his tomb and in this disembodied state, Kai takes possession of a recently deceased sacrifice, drains the life of his captors but spares the life of Sanja, a girl prisoner who’d been taken to his tomb along with the dead. Now back in a body, Kai must find and rescue his companion the witch Ziede from a similar imprisonment. Once Ziede is rescued, the two rely on Sanja to explain the world they have woken into and begin their quest to find and rescue Ziede’s lover Tahren who is separated from them both and unreachable by magic.
The events put in motion by Kai’s search for answers and the quest to rescue Tahren in this newly flooded world, begins a chain of events that uncover lies and deceptions, false friendships and true ones.
Witch King was at its core a dark fantasy but Wells has created genuine characters with dark humour and wit woven throughout. In part a dystopian tale with a water-drowned fantasy world, Wells crafted a unique and plot of deception, friendship, love and loss which added the necessary links to humanity in those who survived the ending of their world – albeit a demon who drains life to survive and swaps bodies, a witch bent on revenge and finding her lover and a mortal child saved from the darkness of the Rising World Coalition and Blessed Hierarchs with their expositors and necromancy magic. In this new world, Wells draws on the darkness and deception that surround the Rising World Coalition where truth and lies can be hard to distinguish. Wells has created a masterfully written story with genuine characters and unique world-building.
A wonderful read for fans of dark fantasy with humour, witchcraft, necromancy and fantastic world-building for a water-drowned dystopian unique fantasy world. Highly recommended!
** This is my personal opinion and does not reflect any judging decisions **
In Aztec cosmology, the soul intakes a journey to the Underworld after death and they have four destinations: the Sacred Orchard of the Gods, the Place of Darkness, the Kingdom of the Sun, and a paradise called the Mansion of the Moon.
The most common destination for a soul is Mictlán (Place of Darkness) with nine levels, crashing mountains and rushing rivers, and four years of struggle. There are 13 Heavens over which various gods and goddesses preside and provides the cultural basis for the Day of the Dead customs and celebrations.
Mictlantecuhtli is the skeletal Lord of the Land of the Dead – the supreme ruler of Mictlán. He oversees the place of eternal smoke and darkness along with his consort Mictlancihuatl.
Mictlán ruled by its Lord and Lady, is a gloomy place a soul reaches only after wandering for four years beneath the Earth, accompanied by a “soul-companion,” usually a do which was customarily cremated with the body.
Aztec myth tells how Quetzalcoatl (Nahuatl language means “feathered serpent”) journeyed into Mictlán at the dawning of the Fifth Sun (the present world era), and restored humankind to life with from the bones of those who had lived before. Bones are like seeds: everything that dies goes into the Earth, and from it new life is born in the sacred cycle of existence.
Quetzalcoatl’s Descent To Mictlán
At sunset, Mictlantechutli (Lord of Underworld) and Tonatiuh (Star God) take their place to illuminate the world of the dead.
Legend tells that after Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca created the world, the day and night, they placed Mictalntecuhtli and his wife Mictlancihuatl as Lord and Lady of the underworld.
The counterpart of Mictlán is the paradise known as Tlalocán, or the home of the god Tlaloc, where the dead who drowned or were struck by lightning would dwell.
The 4 houses of the dead:
Chichihuacuauhco is the first mansion, a place of dead children. In its middle there is a large tree whose branches drip milk so the children could might feed and gain strength. These children will return to the Earth when our world of the Fifth Sun is destroyed. That is why children died young so they might repopulate the Earth for the future.
Mictlán is the second house. Those who succumbed to illness and old age went to dwell in Mictlán. The soul must make a 4 year journey and pass through nine layers of the Underworld and various daunting tests. These included the dead coming to the river Apanohuaya which is impossible to cross without the help of an Itzcuintli (xoloitzcuintle), a special dog each family raised and cremated alongside the mourned deceased.
Among the Aztecs, the god Xolotl was a monstrous dog. During the creation of the Fifth Sun, Xolotl was hunted by Death and escaped him by transforming himself first into a sprout of maize, then into maguey leaves and finally as a salamander in a pool of water. The third time that Death found Xolotl, he trapped and killed him. Three important foodstuffs were produced from the body of this mythological dog.
Mictlantecuhtli, Lord of the Dead, had kept the bones of a man from a previous creation. Xolotl descended to the Underworld trying to steal these bones so that man could be reborn into the new world of the Fifth Sun. Xolotl recovered the bones and brought man to life again by piercing his penis and bleeding upon them. Xolotl is seen as an incarnation of the planet Venus as the Evening Star (the Morning Star was his twin brother Quetzalcoatl).
Xolotl is the canine companion of the Sun, following its path through both in the sky and the Underworld. Xolotl’s strong connection with the Uderworld, death and the dead is demonstrated by the symbols he bears. In the Codex Borbonicus Xolotl is pictured with a knife in his mouth (symbol of death), and has black wavy hair like the hair worn by the gods of death.
Upon recognising his dead master, the dog barks, then rushes to help the deceased to cross the river and carries its master upon his back while swimming.
After the crossing, the soul is stripped of all clothes, beginning the second part of his journey between two mountains that conflicted with each other. This pass is called Tepetl Monamiclia, where the deceased would make warily make their way hoping the two mountains wouldn’t clash and crush the passing traveler.
At the end of the pass, a descent down a hill strewn with flints and sharp obsidian (same material used to make knives) and the soul would call to Ilztepetl. But the stones still mercilessly cut the feet of the dead as they passed.
Celhuecayan, the eight mountains is covered i perpetual snow that falls constantly and is whipped up by strong winds.
The soul the arrives at the foot of a hill, the last part in the journey called Paniecatacoyan. These moors here are cold and large, where the dead would walk endlessly crossing the desolated land.
The soul then take a long path, where they are struck with arrows. This place is Temiminaloyan and the arrows are fired by unseen hands.
At the end of the path is Tecoylenaloyan, where the soul exists with thousands of fierce beasts. When any of the beasts reached them, the souks would throw open their chests and let the beasts eat their hearts.
The souls os then forced to dive into the Apanuiayo (black water river), and where the Xochilonal dwells. The soul must swim in this lake, dodging the animals, including the terrifying lizard to get to the next test.
Finally, tired, injured and exhausted with suffering, the soul reaches Chicunamictlan, where they would meet Mictlantecuchtli, the fierce God of the Death who would receive them with vengeance.
Here the soul’s cycle ends forever and here they would live until their bodies and their lives extinguish.
The long journey lasted for four years, in which the deceased came to his eternal rest.
The mansion where most of the dead arrived were those who would diedof natural causes.
The is the Kingdom of the Sun.
Here the warriors, slaughtered at the hands of their enemies, rest. Those souls of women who died in childbirth are counted among these. For among the Aztecs, pregnant women were like warriors who symbolically capture her child for the Aztec state in the painful and bloody battle of birth. Considered as female aspects of defeated heroic warriors, women dying in childbirth became fierce goddesses who carried the setting sun into the netherworld realm of Mictlán.
Mictlán is a place outside of the time. A wonderful infinite place, and a beautiful plain, at every day the sun rose, warriors beat their shields.
After four years, these warriors would turn into rich bird-feathers, small, living creatures eating the flowers.
Those who had died by drowning, lightning, and other deaths related to water and rain arrived at Tlalocán, the Mansion of the Moon, a place of unending springtime and a paradise of green plants. This place belongs to Tlaloc.
Tlaloc is also associated with caves, springs, and mountains, most specifically the sacred mountain in which he was believed to reside. His animal forms include herons and water-dwelling creatures such as amphibians, snails, and possibly sea creatures, particularly shellfish.
The dead arriving here would be happy, fresh and unconcerned. These dead hadn’t been cremated, but buried.
And so, between the mansions the dead Aztecs were divided, each person going to their designated place in the Mexican Underworld.
Loki (Old Norse: Loki “knot/tangle”) is a wily trickster god of Norse mythology. While treated as a nominal member of the Aesir, Loki occupies a highly ambivalent and unique position among the gods, giants, and the other kinds of spiritual beings that populate pre-Christian Norse religion.
Loki is the father of three monsters with giantess and witch of the Iron Wood, Angrboda (Old Norse: “Anguish-bringer”). Their daughter Hel became the ruler of the underworld; Jormungand, a great serpent (also known as the Midgard Serpent encircled the entirety of Midgard sea) is fated to be slain and slay Thor during Ragnarok; lastly, Fenrir, the giant wolf who bites off one the god Tyr’s hands when chained by the Aesir and slays Odin during Ragnarok.
Loki also had a wife from among the Aesir – Sigyn (“Friend of Victory”) and two sons named Nari and Narfi, whose names might mean “Corpse.” They are sacrificed and their entrails used to bind Loki until he’ll break free at the beginning of Ragnarok.
Loki often runs afoul of societal expectations but also the “the laws of nature.” Loki is also a shape-shifter and in the form of a mare, he birthed Sleipnir, Odin’s shamanic stallion.
In many tales, Loki is a schemer, coward, shallow and focused only on his self-preservation. He’s also playful, malicious, and can be helpful. But all tales portray him as irreverent and immoral.
Loki’s recklessness finds him in the hands of the furious frost-giant, Thrazi who threatens to kill him unless he kidnaps the goddess Idunn. To save his own life, Loki agrees and shape-shifting again, steals Idunn away and delivers her to Thrazi. The Aesir then threaten him with death unless he rescues Idunn. He agrees to this for self-preservation and shape-shifting into a falcon and transforms Idunn again and carries her back to Asgard in his talons. Angered, Thrazi pursues him in the form of an eagle. When he has almost caught up with Loki, the Aesir gods light a fire around the perimeter of their fortress. The flames catch Thrazi’s feathers and burns him to death.
After Thrazi’s death, his daughter, frost-giantess Skadi, marches on Asgard demanding compensation for slaying her father. One of her demands is that the Aesir make her laugh, something which only Loki can accomplish.
Loki both helps and hinders the gods and the giants, depending on what course of action most benefits him at the time.
During Ragnarok, when the gods and giants engage in their fateful struggle and the cosmos is destroyed, Loki joins the giants and captains a ship made by Hel called Naglfar, “Deadmen’s nails,” that brings many of the giants to the battlefield. Loki and the Aesir god Heimdall will mortally wound each other.
Loki is best known for his malevolent role in the death of Odín and Frigg’s son Baldr. The prophesied death of the beloved god Baldr, Frigg secures a promise from every living thing not to harm her son. But no oath is obtained from a young mistletoe. Loki discovers this omission and carves a spearhead from the mistletoe. While the Aesir are enjoying testing the immortality of Baldr, Loki gives the spearhead to Baldr’s brother, the blind god Hodr who isn’t participating in the festivities. Loki aims for Hodr and Baldr is struck and dies.
After Baldr’s death, the Aesir god Hermod rides Sleipnir into the underworld to implore Hel to release Baldr. Hel demands that if Baldr is truly loved by everything and everyone, every being in the Nine Worlds must weep for Baldr and then she will release him from the Underworld. Loki disguises himself as a giantess named Thok (“Thanks”), who is the only one in the Nine Worlds who doesn’t weep for Baldr. In turn, he must remain with Hel in the Underworld.
For this last crime against the Aesir gods, he is bound within a cavern with a venomous serpent hanging above him, dripping poison onto his face (the viper care of Skadi). Loki’s very faithful wife Sigyn, sits beside him holding a bowl catch the venom. But when the bowl needs emptying, she mist leave Loki’s face unprotected and drops of venom fall onto his flesh and he writhes in agonised convulsions that cause earthquakes. Here, he will stay until breaking free at Ragnarok.
For many centuries of Norse mythology study, the meaning of Loki’s name has been elusive. A recent, the philologist Eldar Heide suggests from Nordic folklore in periods more recent than the Viking Age, Loki often appears in contexts likening it to a knot on a thread. In fact, in later Icelandic usage, the common noun loki means “knot” or “tangle.”
Manifestation: A master shape-shifter who appears in many guises.
Consort: Aesir wife Sigyn and the giantess Angrboda
Sacred animals: Wolves, snakes and possibly spiders (web-weaving).
Star symbol: Sirius also known as Lokabrenna (“Loki’s Brand”) in traditional Norse astrology
Bluebeard’s seventh wife is the first to survive his wrath, courtesy of ghostly warnings and the timely intervention of her brothers. The village burns her murderous husband, his crimes laid bare and his wealth passed on to her… but even after his death, Bluebeard’s house won’t allow anyone to leave. All wives—living and dead—remain trapped in their husband’s manor, even as the man who terrorised them proves to be less dead than they had hoped.
Haunted by his vengeful ghost, can the wives find a way to break the curse that would bind them in darkness and torment forever?
The protagonist (following the Blue Beard tales) is a young woman who marries a very rich older man. When he leaves the house for a business affair, he tells her she can go anywhere in the house except his private room in the tower. Driven by curiosity about her new husband, she eventually unlocks the door to his tower room. Inside, she finds the corpses of his previous wives. She also is accosted by their ghosts – each bearing the brutal marks of how their husband killed them.
The key to the husband’s tower, now stained with blood, cannot be cleaned. On the husband’s unpredicted return, the new wife gains the assistance of the other wives’ ghosts and the housemaid skilled in witchcraft to finally end the bloody reign of the husband.
The New Wife has strong characters and supernatural elements in a fascinating new re-imagining of the ‘Blue Beard’ fairytale tropes which is masterfully executed by McDermott. A dark fantasy tale that moves at the pace of a supernatural thriller while staying true to the fairytale foundations. An exciting new addition by McDermott to the fairytale retellings that should be highly prized.
A perfect novella for fans of Angela Carter, fairytale retellings, dark fiction and ghost stories. A fabulous blend of fairytale retelling, supernatural thriller and dark fantasy. A highly recommended read!
Baron Samedi is the leader of the Barons and possibly the Gedés. He presides over a sprawling, confusing, complex clan of spirits. Baron Samedi literally means Baron Saturday, which may sound innocuous compared to Baron Cemetery but a connection through Christianity is Saturday was between the crucifixion on Friday and resurrection on the Sunday. Thus, the Saturday, belongs to Baron Samedi, Lord of the Dead. Or another possible explanation for the name is that Samedi is related to ‘Simbi’ or zombie in Haitian and there is only a coincidental resemblance to the French word for Saturday.
Baron Samedi spends is mostly in the invisible realm of the Haitian voodoo spirits. He is known to be outrageous – drinking rum and smoking cigars, swearing profusely, and making filthy jokes. The other spirits in the Guede family behave similarly but lacking the suaveness of Baron Samedi.
Despite being married to the loa, Maman Brigitte, the Baron chases after mortal women and lingers at the crossroads of life and death in the human world.
When someone dies, the Baron is said to dig their grave and meet their soul as it rises from that grave. He guides them into the underworld and only Baron Samedi has the power to accept an individual into the world of the dead. He also makes certain those who have died rot in the ground as they should, and no soul can return as a brainless zombie. For this act, he will demand payment which varies upon his mood at the time. On many occasions, he accepts gifts of cigars, rum, black coffee, or grilled peanuts but he may ask others to continue wearing black, white or purple.
Baron Samedi, is the head of the Guede family, the group of loas that control life and death. This powerful family of spirits possesses numerous abilities. The Baron is also a giver of life and can cure any mortal of a disease or wound provided he believes it is a worthwhile act to save the individual. The Baron even has the power to overcome voodoo hexes and curses. An individual who is cursed by a hex or other black magic is not guaranteed death if the Baron refuses to dig their grave. As the Master of the Dead and Guardian of Cemeteries, no one can enter the underworld without his permission. In this way, he can prevent death.
He a powerful healer and is especially sympathetic to terminally ill children. He can be just and kind. The Baron prefers children live full lives before joining him in the cemetery and underworld.
Baron Samedi is the crossroads where sex and death meet. The Spirit of an undying life-force and he may be petitioned for fertility. He is the guardian of ancestral knowledge and the link to ancestral spirits.
Baron Samedi is syncretized to Jesus because they both share the symbol of the cross. Baron Samedi’s associations with the cross may pre-date Christianity. In Congolese cosmology, the cross is the symbol of the life cycle: birth-death-rebirth.
Also known as: Bawon Samdi (Creole); Baron Sandi (Spanish); Baron Saturday
Favored people: Children; women seeking to conceive; funeral workers; grave diggers; any whose work brings them into contact with death
Manifestation: an older, dark-skinned man in formal attire, dressed completely in black. He wears a black top hat, black suit, and may be smoking one of his beloved cigars. He wears impenetrable black sunglasses (one lens may be missing because he simultaneously sees the realms of the living and the dead.
Iconography: A chair chained to a cross.
Attributes: Coffin; phallus; skull and cross-bones; shovel; grave; black sunglasses; cross.
Offerings: Black coffee, plain bread, dry toast, roasted peanuts. He drinks rum in which twenty-one very hot peppers have been steeped. Cigars, cigarettes, dark sunglasses, Day of the Dead toys (the sexier and more macabre the better); A skull and crossbones pirate flag; beautiful wrought-iron crosses are crafted in his honor.
Colours: Black but also red or purple
Feasts: 2 November, Day of the Dead.
Time: Twilight tends to be a good time to invoke him or make requests.
Consort: Madame Brigitte. They may both be petitioned together for fertility, protection, or to save sick children.
Freyr (Old Norse Freyr, “Lord”) is one of the Vanir gods and is also counted among the Aesir gods as a hostage after the Aesir-Vanir War.
Fryer’s father is the Vanir god Njord. Freyr has been the lover of numerous goddesses and giantesses and rumoured to include his own sister, Freya. Incest seems a common practice among the Vanir deities but not the Aesir.
Freyr was one of the most widely venerated divinities amongst the pagan Norse and other Germanic peoples. The reasons are easy to understand with the well-being and prosperity dependent on his benevolence which manifested in sexual and ecological fertility, bountiful harvests, wealth, and peace. His role governing fertility is symbolised in his golden-bristled boar Gullinborsti and its enormous, erect phallus.
It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that Freyr was a frequent recipient of sacrifices at the blessing of a wedding or the celebration of a harvest. During harvest festivals, the sacrifice traditionally took the form of his favored animal, the boar.
His prominence even among the Aesir is clear in being included among the receiptients of prized dwarf-made gifts like Skíðblaðnir, a ship which always has a favorable wind and can be folded up and carried in a small bag.
Freyr dwells is Alfheim – the homeland of the elves. Freyr is never stated as a ruler of the elves and the relationship between the gods and the elves is ambiguous in many cases.
On land, Freyr travels in a chariot drawn by boars. This is another mythological feature that was reflected in historical ritual. From medieval Icelandic sources, priestesses and/or priests of Freyr traveled throughout the country on a chariot which contained a statue of the god. A similar practice occurred with the early Germanic goddess Nerthus – a Proto-Germanic form of Freyr’s father’s name, Njord.
During Ragnarok at the doom of the gods, it is Freyr and the fire giant Surt who are fated to destroy each other.
Also known as: Frey; Fro; Frothi; Frodi; Yngvi; Ing
Classification: Vanir god
Favoured people: Seafarers; lovers; brewers
Iconography: In his shrine at Uppsala, Freyr was represented as a virile man with a large, erect penis. An alternative image portrayed him as a young boy traveling across the sea. His image was often featured on armor and weapons.
Attributes: A sword that is removed independently from its scabbard and creates carnage wherever it is directed at. A ship whose sails always attract favourable winds but could be folded up and carried.
Associates Colours: Brown, gold, green.
Mounts: A chariot drawn by two boars. A massive, golden-bristled boar. A horse named Bloody Hooves.
Place of Veneration: Shrine in Uppsala, Sweden, where it continued to be a place of veneration to Freyr long after most of Scandinavia had converted to Christianity.
Associated Runes: Ehwaz, Fehu, and Ingwaz.
Offerings to Freyr: The Yule boar, or a male pig, is the annual sacrificial boar offered to Freyr in winter. Libations of fresh water, barley wine, ale, or mead.
Nyx is a very unique goddess. She has the ability to bring sleep or death. Even Zeus feared Nyx because she was older and stronger than him. She is the only goddess he’s ever known to fear.
She is often described as a winged or riding in a chariot across the sky, shrouded in mist with stars and the night unveiling behind her. She resides in the western part of Hades, where she and her daughter Hemera (Day) pass each other at sunrise and sunset.
Nyx is not a personification of evil in Greek mythology. She’s never spoken of having done anything more ‘evil’ than Zeus himself in any mythology. Yet, it is her mysterious and dark nature, that lead her to be viewed more villainous than she is.
In Greek mythology, Nyx married Erebus – the God of darkness. Nyx and Erebus had Hemera (Day) and Aither (Light). Hemera is literally Nyx’s opposite. When Nyx brings the dark veil of the night over the world, she is chased away each morning by Hemera.
Curiously, Nyx also created her own dark spirits including the Fates, Sleep, Death, Strife, and Pain. Other of Nyx’s children include Geras, Moros, Nemesis, the Keres and the Oneiroi.
Nyx appears in many important ancient greek poems. In the fragments of poetry Nyx is the first of all in creation. Before there was anything, there was darkness or ‘night’ and it was here that Nyx came to be. She is often portrayed in symbolism as a moon or stars due to her ending the daytime and bringing the night.
Nyx is considered either be helpful or harmful: she brings sleep and relief, or the opposite- she can bring pain and death.
Welcome to the world of the Cosa Nostradamus, where magic crackles on every corner, and not every person you meet is human….
If you’ve lost something of value, and you can’t go to the police, you need a Retriever. And if that item is magical?
You need Wren Valere. An exceptional thief – with exceptional Talent.
Normally, Wren loves her job. But some clients are worse than others, and some jobs just scream trouble from the start. And with this one, involving a real estate mogul and a stolen spell, she and her business partner Sergei may have gotten into more than can handle alone…
But some secrets shouldn’t stay buried. No matter the cost.
Wren – a self-proclaimed thief with a high level of magical abilities and a distrust of the Mage Council, the organisation she rightfully belongs because of her unique and strong Talent. Wren prefers to work with her partner Sergei who negotiates jobs that require Wren’s particular level of skill and keeps the distance between Wren and her clients.
When a magical-infused protection stone is stolen from a wealthy and commanding businessman, Sergei and Wren take the job to determine how the stone was stolen and steal it back. To this end, Wren and Sergei quickly become embroiled in the dealings of the Mage Council and the mysterious group known as the Silence.
Wren successfully finds and steals back the protection stone but finds a darker side to the magic, how it serves to protect the building and the businessman which makes her question her own morality.
Staying Dead was an intriguing urban fantasy with a mystery at its heart. Gillman creates unique and strong characters which are human and engaging. A solid first novel to a series.
A unique urban fantasy that’s sure to please fans of paranormal, supernatural urban fantasies and dark fantasy. Highly recommended!
The Ankou (Breton), Ankow (Cornish) or Angau (Welsh) from Celtic legend most commonly occurs in Brittany. Here you can still spot the Ankou haunting many of the churches and cathedrals. What is the Ankou? It’s defiant remnant of Pagan influence that had survived hidden among the stone-work of Christian buildings.
The Ankou haunts the graveyard and he is the last soul to die in the village before the stroke of midnight that year. Doomed to stay another year on earth – he acts as guardian of the graveyard – until another soul takes his place the following year.
The Ankou is described as a tall man dressed in black who is very thin or skeletal looking and has white hair kept under a wide brimmed hat. He is carries a scythe and he either pushes a wheelbarrow or rides a rickety cart that squeaks when it moves. The horse-drawn cart may be drawn by two horse – one is emaciated while the other is fat.
The Ankou is both the harbinger of death and also the collector of souls.
Nat Drozdova is desperate to save a life. Doctors can do little for her cancer-ridden mother, who insists there is only one cure—and that Nat must visit a skyscraper in Manhattan to get it.
Amid a snow-locked city, inside a sleek glass-walled office, Nat makes her plea and is whisked into a terrifying new world. For the skyscraper holds a hungry winter goddess who has the power to cure her mother…if Nat finds a stolen object of great power.
Now Nat must travel with a razor-wielding assassin across an American continent brimming with terror, wonder, and hungry divinities with every reason to consume a young woman. For her ailing mother is indeed suffering no ordinary illness, and Nat Drozdova is no ordinary girl. Blood calls to blood, magic to magic, and a daughter may indeed save what she loves…
Spring’s Arcana follows protagonist Nat Drozdova as she begins a journey and bargain with Baba Yaga to save her dying mother’s life. In return, she must begin a journey to retrieve the items her mother stole and hid carefully across the United States – including the Heart of a God – stolen from Baba Yaga herself, who in turn wrenched it from Dimitri Konesti – the god of thieves.
For Nat, all is new and incomprehensible until she begins to realise her mother lied to her for her entire life and kept her innocent of the knowledge of divinities – including her own mother being the divinity of Spring.
Baba Yaga sends Dimitri to both protect and watch Nat Drozdova as she grows into her power, becoming Spring even as her mother sickens and fades in a hospice and Nat tries to find the items she needs to save her mother. But will Baba Yaga keep her word? Is Nat’s own mother more of a threat to her than the Dead God whose heart she stole?
An intriguing and well-crafted folklore and mythology inspired first book in a duology. Spring’s Arcana is a fascinating read that is authentic and enthralling. The world-building and development of the characters is high quality and SanitCrow delivers a novel that is dark, mysterious and leaves you hungering for more.
Highly recommended for fans of reimagining of folklore, legends and mythology. This is a great urban dark fantasy that is a supernatural thriller and a dark delight. Can’t wait for the second instalment. A must-read!
** This is my personal opinion and does not reflect any judging decisions **
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