Thursday, September 4, 2008

Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest

I have to admit that I bought this book solely for the John Jude Palencar cover last year. It's been sitting on my shelf ever since then and I didn't know if I'd ever read it, but I am beyond glad that I did. I discovered a true gem hidden in my TBR shelves with this one. Cherie Priest is an author that's new to me. I've known her name for awhile now, but I never knew anything of hers. Four and Twenty Blackbirds is her first novel and I can only imagine the stellar future that she has in front of her when it comes to novels if she keeps this up. Four and Twenty Blackbirds is southern gothic/horror at it's absolute best. It's a rich, dark, atmospheric ghost story that hooks you from the beginning and only gets better as the pages quickly turn. The story is set in Chattanooga, Tennessee as well as the swamps of Florida and Georgia. It centers around Eden Moore and her ancestry, a past that goes back many generations into all sorts of spiritual abilities and dark magic. Eden has been haunted by three ghosts, three sisters since she was a young girl and it is Eden herself that tells us this tale. As a child she feared the three sisters but as she grew older she came to see them as her guardians. As an adult, Eden soon learns that they may indeed have to guard her from what looms ahead. For there is old magic in the family that is still alive today. There are questions to be answered that Eden still doesn't know the answers to and the only way to get them is to literally confront the ghosts of her family's past. And there are formidable challenges that she'll face, both physical and magical, in getting there. The feel of this book reminded me so much of Anne Rice's The Witching Hour, and that's a huge compliment coming from me as that's one of my favorite books. It's by no means a rip off of The Witching Hour, but it has that same creepy southern gothic feel to it that I just fall in love with and can't get enough of. Priest is an extraordinary writer and I can't tell you how excited I am to learn that this is the first book in a series of Eden Moore books! I'll be getting the second one very shortly!

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