Four and Twenty Blackbirds

Usually I stress over these book reviews and try so hard to get them just right. Those who have known me for a while may recall a convention (it might have been spread over several) where I was conflicted over what I perceived as a separation between being a literary agent by profession and being a fan (and reader) by, er, upbringing. I thought I’d resolved it, but it has reared its ugly head here again. So, I’m going to stop staring so hard at these and stop rating the books and just stop trying to be so formal about it.

And stop trying to disclaim them all the time.

Anyway, I just recently finished reading Cherie Priest’s Four and Twenty Blackbirds after she kindly sent me a copy before she fled across the country. And, wow. If you have not read this yet, order a copy immediately, if not sooner. She has a marvelous talent for creating imagery with words that made this story come alive for me in a very vital way. This is modern gothic with a Southern flare, and reminded me of the kind of stories that used to make me glad I was an English Lit major (and I mean that as a compliment). Wonderfully realized – it just oozes atmosphere. High concept? Flannery O’Connor meets a more mature and understated Buffy. Truly spooky. It was a reward to read.

And just so you think I’m not being just a gushy fangirl (after all I’ve been trained for years to try and find ways stories might be made stronger) — I did have a couple small quibbles. The ending seemed a teensy bit rushed feeling and I wished the ghosts had been more than mostly harbingers.

In any case, I’m very much looking forward to reading the next book, Wings to the Kingdom.

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