Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Book Review: The Black Act by Louise Bohmer
The Black Act by Louise Bohmer is a novel that opens a brand new whimsical world for fantasy and dark literature lovers. This novel establishes a whole new exciting mythology full of new creatures in a unique world.
The book explores the themes of forgiveness vs. condemnation, the strength of family vs. the strength of fate and doing what is right vs. the pull of the forbidden. The black acts discussed in the book span many generations of a particular witch family and show how one particular “black act” has cursed them.
The present day story opens with young witch, or Wise Women-in-training, twins Anna and Claire. They are being raised in the sacred valley of the mythical Wood People to learn how to use their inherited magical gifts for good. Yet a shocking ancestral secret threatens to unravel their peaceful existence. Anna starts having violent visions of her past kin while Claire starts acting out more and more and even starts secretly seeing a satyr in the woods.
As Claire threatens to bring the era of the Wise Women to a violent end through her actions, we get the backstory of the twins’ ancestors and see what black act marred their lineage and what exactly must be done to stop the curse.
Bohmer has created an enchanting and intriguing new world with the novel The Black Act. I love how she revisited many mythological creatures, like satyrs, and magically inclined humans, like witches, but added her own unique spin on them. The satyrs became these mysterious creatures literally made out of the elements of the earth, like bark, vines, dirt, moss and mushrooms. The witches had their own complex history of how and why they came to be and their own set of sacred oaths. I particularly loved the history of the whole land and how the Wood People (the mythological creatures) and the Dalthwein Clans (the humans, including the Wise Women) had fought many battles because of the hatred from a long ago human king before forming the fragile peace they have now. The rich history really wraps the story together and pulls you further into the complex mythology.
The novel is written deftly by Bohmer and she enthralls you with not only her unique mythology but also her engaging writing style. Her highly detailed descriptions of the Wood People make them both fascinating and frightening and her human characters are so developed that you feel like you know them. The book pulled me in from the opening pages and I finished it in merely two sittings!
The only thing I wasn’t too fond of was the last part of the book, where the two main characters of Anna and Claire, whom I cared about and emotionally invested in, are suddenly dropped and the rest of the tale is told by their descendant. Plus, the villains of the book, the ghosts of the two evil men who committed the first black act and started the curse, just don’t suffer enough for all the turmoil and death they’ve caused. I wanted their ends to be sweetly satisfying, but they get off far too easily and didn’t satiate my hunger for their blood!
Despite this issues, I still thoroughly enjoyed The Black Act and think that fantasy and dark literature fans will be enthralled with Louise Bohmer’s debut novel. I cannot wait to see what Bohmer does next with the memorable mythology she has created!
Order it on Amazon!