Friday, January 5, 2018

Short Book Reviews: A New Twist on Witches in New Orleans

Rich in history and the atmosphere of New Orleans, tJ. D. Horn's The King of Bones and Ashes follows the loves and feuds of two powerful families of witches features intricate characters, well-thought-out lore, and plot twists galore. I visited New Orleans in 2011, and many of the scenes evoked hours spent exploring the French Quarter and beyond. 

Nowadays the allure of witches (or other magical/supernatural beings) in the “Big Easy,” also known as the City of Second Chances, has given rise to many depictions in print and visual media. All too often, however, the portrayals are superficial and derivative, and are poorly integrated with the city’s history and culture. Not so J. D. Horn’s The King of Bones and Ashes.  I loved the sense of dynastic progression, of the increasingly desperate tactics to slow the disappearance of magic, of the witches’ attempt to counteract Katrina’s damage, not to mention the complex system of witchy magic. 

I also liked that the circularity of the story; instead of having everything laid out clearly, I had to put pieces together in more active reading. It’s not an easy read, but that makes it all the more satisfying. The actual mystery enhances the mysteriousness of the setting and drama.

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