Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Book Review: Slewfoot

Slewfoot: A Tale of Bewitchery 
by Brom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(read in December 2021, late posting)
Brom and I might be some sort of kindred spirits. I met him once, many years ago at a local comic con and he was so quiet and unassuming. I was young, not used to meeting celebrities at the time and so was super awkward. I wish I could go back to that day and tell myself to talk with him more. To really engage and talk Paganism, gothic literature, and more.
Slewfoot is just like Brom’s other books I’ve read. It’s got gore, violence, injustice, beauty, love, and above all else a loyalty to the tenants of Paganism that only someone who practices could capture on the page.

This narrative is really about how we can all become devils and demons when pushed hard enough. Present enough ridiculous, scary, life threatening circumstances and anyone can lash out. Additionally humans can also be pushed to say untrue things under enough duress. Hence the witch trials (one of which happens in Slewfoot); and their unjust version of ‘proof’ and ‘confession’.
I adored how Brom brought to the narrative very simple pillars of trust and loyalty (while very complex) he puts our characters in situations where I (personally) could not imagine doing anything other than exactly what someone wanted, even if it was untrue. Only because our drive to survive and live is so powerful.

The ending of Slewfoot is perfect and the reason I believe Brom and I must be part of the same. He exactly narrates and identifies what I have long believed; that all gods and devils are one and the same. Our ability to perceive or define them is only limited by our lack of understanding, imagination, or fake human rules (in this case those the Catholic/Christian church preach). Beautifully written, in such a way that I dare someone to tell me they are not cheering for Abitha, Slewfoot and others to preserver.

This is a book I will certainly need a personal print copy of. Not just for the beautiful, full-colour illustrations included; but because it speaks to me in a spiritual way that is so rare. As a witch (of today) myself I can’t help but get angry at the trials but also appreciate the repercussions after that Brom gives us.

If you are looking for a morally subjective, gothic witch story with heavy Pagan overtones then this is for you.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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Book Review: Mrs Death Misses Death

Mrs Death Misses Death 
by Salena Godden
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Let's start with a couple things: this is not a novel, story or even really a narrative of any kind. Second, I skimmed the last half hoping for some semblance of an "ah-ha, I get it" moment; but sadly it never materialized.
I'm not sure what exactly Salena Godden was going for but it doesn't work for me. In Mrs Death Misses Death there are poems, songs, Q/A 'interviews', and odd ramblings/rantings without any real purpose except one. To make you feel bad about being alive. I actually the think the intent that Godden meant was to make people appreciate being alive (or at least the last few pages of the book scream this at the reader) but instead I just felt sad at how many ways people can tragically die (seriously at least 100 ways over history are discussed here, almost all tragic or horrific) and the constant nagging reminder that we all die. Maybe it's just me, maybe it's the times (2 years into the Covid pandemic) but I am just not in need of the reminder that we all die. I'm painfully aware thanks.
I believe this was supposed to be a unique, powerful 'story' told partially by the character of Death herself (yes a woman), and by a confusing character named Wolf. We get a couple other random commentary chapters thrown in for good measure but mostly it's about Wolf's struggles with mental health and the idea of why we live; and Death's remorse at having to take lives (plus some extensive comments on when people are 'misses' or nearly die). There could have maybe been a timeline set-up here that was manageable or could be followed; but the way the book is written it just gets lost.
I'm sure there will be people out there that love this and think it truly bohemian and adore it's uniqueness. I am not one of those people in this instance.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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