Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book review: Season of the Witch


Season of the Witch
Prepare to be seduced by a gothic novel of intrigue, murder, love, the art of memory and remote viewing...
Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert (Bantam Books)
It's very easy to mistake this book for just another unoriginal gothic sci-fi novel. After all, the synopsis on the book jacket seems to mention concepts that have been explored way too many times before. 

That, coupled with the pretty, but rather romanc-y book cover makes this one of those gems that people will pass by simply because this book, at first glance, doesn't necessarily scream "read me". (Ok, I used a different cover image in an earlier review of this book. This cover is actually quite beautiful.)

The basic premise behind the story revolves around Gabriel Blackstone.

A hacker by trade, he makes a living (a very well-paid one) by stealing information and corporate company secrets for the competition. What makes him unusual is that he's a very skilled remote viewer, meaning that he is able to scan people's thoughts and enter the minds of others  (A process referred to in the book as slamming the ride).

When an ex-lover of his approaches Gabriel to help locate her missing stepson, last seen in the company of two beautiful sisters, he is forced to use his gift (albeit very reluctantly) in search of any clues that will help him solve the mystery of the missing stepson.

Soon he finds himself entangled in the lives of Morrighan and Minnaloushe Monk, the beautiful sisters of Monk house, who as it turns out, are direct descendents of John Dee, a well-known mathematician, astrologer and occultist.

Against his better judgement Gabriel is soon swept into a world beneath a world, seduced by a house of a million doors, troubled but intrigued by the symbols in the Monk house and caught in the spell of two hypnotic sisters, one of them, who he is sure, is a ruthless murderer.  But which one is it? And how to stop himself from falling losing his objectivity when he is already falling in love with one of them?

Season of the witch is a story about memory and magic. It unfurls worlds where the occult meets reality, where mysticism and symbolism is more than just a passing fancy and where alchemy of the soul becomes more than just a passing obsession.

What I loved about this book is that the author's writing seduces and pulls the reader into a world impossible to escape from. The blend of erotic imagery and the vivid descriptions of the mystical spins a web that one just can't escape from. The twists and turns in this book will also leave you reeling.

South African author, Natasha Mostert truly manages to lend a timeless feel to the scenes at Monk House. Added to that is the fact that she effortlessly weaves historical references to alchemy, the art of memory, practitioners of magic and the concept of remote viewing, thereby making this book more than just another average novel exploring clich├ęd concepts of the occult.

Her latest novel is called Keeper of Light. I'm going to try and hunt this book down because if her writing is anything like this in her latest book, then it's sure to be as good, if not better, as this one is.

My rating:
4/5 stars

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