Magic Books, Locusts, Redwood, and the Blues

Hey, there!

To pick up where I left off last time, I’ll begin with my final thoughts on Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines:

Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris, #1)

If Harry Dresden became a librarian and moved to Michigan, his name would be Issac Vainio. Vainio is a libriomancer, people with the power to manifest things written about in books in real life. The founder of their order, one Johannes Gutenberg, had gone missing. Vampires are attacking libraries and killing Protectors. Enter Vainio, former field agent with issues and his acquired bodyguard, dryad Lena Greenwood. Together they must find Gutenberg and stop the plot against the Protectors before their time is up. Decent enough read. Full of action, romantic subplot, good guy is bad guy but really good guy tones. Libriomancer is pretty typical of the “rogue wizard done good” style that has been popular for a few years. I don’t feel an urgent need to read the rest of the series, though this book passed the time nicely. 3 stars out of 5.

Having only recently heard of Morowa Yejide, I picked up her book Time of the Locust

Time of the Locust by Morowa Yejide

from the library. As I posted on Goodreads, “Time of the Locust is a book about many things. It begins as a child’s fantasy, with a boy name Sephiri, who lives in the World of Water, with a talking dolphin and other fish friends. In the next chapter, we are introduced to Brenda Thompson, mother of a 7 year old with autism named Sephiri. He husband is dead in every way that matters, as he is in prison, serving the seventh year of life sentence, for murder. We learn about the transgenerational traumas that shaped each major character in the story, including the prison warden. We experience magical realism as Sephiri meets the father he never knew. We learn that we can heal from trauma, that life moves forward, with or without us. We learn, of course, that there are other worlds than this one, and that there are people who can cross those distances. Time of the Locuts is a beautiful, intensely emotional book. A woman struggles to understand her son, a child struggles to understand the world that has no place for him, a man struggles to reconcile his deeds with what he has left behind.” Haunting, magical, and full of easy to imagine imagery. I gave this one 4 out of 5 stars, though at this point, I fail to remember why there was no 5th star. Hmm.

Andrea Hairston’s Redwood and Wildfire had been on my “to read” list for so long that I’d actually forgotten about it until I read an article about Black women and speculative fiction.

Redwood and Wildfire

Redwood Phipps is a hoodoo, daughter of one of the most powerful conjure women Peach Grove has even seen. After Garnett is lynched – for the crime of killing the white man that raped her – Redwood’s power grows. Aiden Wildfire, known around town as Crazy Coop, has conjure magic of his own. Child of a Seminole man and an Irish woman, it is Aiden who cuts Garnett’s body down and befriends young Redwood. Fast forward to history repeating itself; Redwood kills the white man who rapes her and flees to Chicago, taking part in vaudeville shows and blues singing all the way. Aiden catches up to her, and they attempt to make magic of their own in the midst of racial tension, women’s suffrage, respectability politics, family ties, and the city that appears to pave the way for the future of the United States. This book covers some hard themes, and invites hatred and tension just by virtue of being set in the early 20th century. Magic, dreaming out loud, conjure, hoodoo, and good old fashioned romance fill these 400-plus pages. Highly recommended for lovers of historical fiction, hoodoo believers, and holders of hope in the face of evil things. 4 (or was it 4.5?) out of 5 stars, and only then because I was hoping for a continuation, minus some of the circular pathways taken.

The book I looked forward to the most this go-round was Daniel José Older’s Half-Resurrection Blues.

Half-Resurrection Blues (Bone Street Rumba, #1)

In-betweener Carlos Delacruz works for the New York City Council of the Dead. The COD sends him to do his usual job─send a spirit to their final, permanent death. This time, however, mortals are involved, and the target is an in-betweener like Carlos himself and says curious things. Within a manner of weeks, deadly, unkillable creatures are appearing in Brooklyn. Mortal and spirit both are falling victim to a nasty…something. Carlos, with the aid of trusted spirit-partners and a ghost-house named Mama Esther, sets out to catch the bad guy and find out the truth of his life, death, and semi-resurrection. Brilliantly written, very colorful and image-rich. New York isn’t just a backdrop, not are people of color. Spanish phrases are peppered throughout the book and dialogue, and Carlos visits/seeks assistance from a santero, so there’s that. The typical urban fantasy, yet not. [In other words, ghosts, magic (necromancy), sort of zombies, people of color, and a gay couple? In the same book? Whoa.] I look forward to reading the next in the series. Warnings for super-colorful language, if profanity is not your thing.

Have you found a good book to read, thanks to my quick reviews? Have a book to recommend? Leave me a comment, and tell me all about it.



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