:. Absolutely Stunning. Like the Saints themselves sent this book to me, at the time I needed it. I mean that quite literally; I found 'Santora' lying:. Absolutely Stunning. Like the Saints themselves sent this book to me, at the time I needed it. I mean that quite literally; I found 'Santora' lying abandoned on an outside coffee shop table, quite alone. I collect books, i can't help it, and this one had a particularly Awe-inspiring South American/Mexican Cover, and looked either self published or small press, but i never judge by the cover...
The author is what many would call a "Genuine Santo," (or "Saint" - meaning a Full Priest of Santeria - though I don't think she would call herself that, as most of what she describes practicing, having learned it from her mother and her mother's mother; both of whom she is forced to live with even though she is almost forty years young and still drop dead gorgeous.
Her family seems to be particularly and specifically practitioners of "Curandismo," which ultimately is a collection of rituals, prayers, and fairly trivial practices like: cracking open a white egg after resting it in a glass of water under your bed for one night, Next morning the 'Curandismo,' cracks open the egg and depending what comes out tells them what, if anything, need be done for their client. Used to treat all manner of ailments for, well, 3000 years at least I think.
The Author & main character are one of the very few last Shamanic Remains of the last of the Aztec Indians powerful Medicine (gee i hope im correct abut the "Aztec" part...) though this fact is never once actually mentioned by her. She is narrating her real life to the reader, to us, to the world that cannot, by it's very nature, understand her. Because the other half of her is that she seems to be just naturally Psychic, seeing auras and spirits normally & such - Her confessional, almost her catharsis diary is this book & though we are very different people indeed; I cried many times for her, just in the first half alone.
Her 100% accurate descriptions of a real world Magickal life is so blase and almost bored-sounding, though; All those powers she chooses at first mostly to view as "Curses". But these "Gifts" which are isolating her from the world at this time in her life, not helping her integrate, because she is so tired or bored or just plain scared to use them.
The reason i give this book 5 stars in this authors sheer braveness in sharing honestly and in a simple manner which anyone can understand: The Kind of Problems _We_ "Santeros" have to deal with all the time!! I've never before read such an honest admission of one's possible failings about such a topic. I have been through many almost identical situations and i, myself, have my own fair share of psychic power too, which is exactly why i love this book. It's the firsst plain, honest explanation of how it can feel to be Psychic.
I think she lives in the Mission, where I often am & Pray that i will get the joy of meeting her one day (though with my SF History its quite possible we have met, at least at one large ritual)...
END, for me. Eentially, about 75% through it has gotten so dark and sad for her that I cannot even continue to read because it hurts so much, feeling her pain as i do. So i never finished it technichally, but will one day.
Anyone new to the "Yoruba-Diaspora-Santeria" world should read this for homework. Very Well done. <33 ...more
Wow! Well, Mr. Somers, I am very glad to say that you have, however temporarily, REDEEMED YOURSELF!!! <33. I was so in absolute Thrall/Love with yoWow! Well, Mr. Somers, I am very glad to say that you have, however temporarily, REDEEMED YOURSELF!!! <33. I was so in absolute Thrall/Love with your Kates Series, best Fiction I had read in _years_, and best Contemporary Fiction ( Besides Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, and Iain M. Banks, of course ) I have possibly ever read. But you crapped all over it, starting in book four and crapulently crapping out in crap five. I was saddened. Did Mr. Somers get drunk of his own Success? I just didn't know...
But finally I picked up "Trickster" and again I am BACK IN LOVE!
Not only does Somers have a GENIUS for expressing what it FEELS like, to live in constant agony, with things always getting worse (as with Kates, and Myself), but in this Series he has tapped into something quite Profound and Serious, though I doubt he even *realizes* it. As an Academic Anthropologist I have studied and witnessed many Historical (& even Contemporary) Indigenous (& Upper Class Cosmopolitan ) Rituals involving the Primary Ingredient of BLOOD. Not always human blood, but blood non-the-less.
In this Series I see Somers' as someone connecting to the Collective Unconscious of Humanity, downloading Information he has No Idea what to do with, and Thus writes us these Magickal Stories. In an attempt, as it were, not only to try to come to grips with whatever information he has received, but also to Play with it, Expand upon it, Learn more about it THROUGH THE PROCESS OF WRITING, rather than simply " just trying to write an Entertaining book."
Well done, Jeff, well done AGAIN, and THANK YOU TRULY, FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART! These books have been my sole Companions through many difficult, difficult, Times, and NOONE, not even Bukowski (any more), could COMFORT ME MORE, than Your Miserable Characters ;)...more
7.12.10 - Fuck Yeah, It Finally came out! I had it on reserve and the bookstore just called me!
7.24.10 - Ok, I finally finished it. As an aside I must7.12.10 - Fuck Yeah, It Finally came out! I had it on reserve and the bookstore just called me!
7.24.10 - Ok, I finally finished it. As an aside I must admit that Jeff Somers (the Author) is now on Goodreads and was awesome enough to even answer one of my questions (and offering to answer anyone's questions!)... this makes reviewing one of his books a little weirder for me than usual because I now know him to be a cool guy, so I can't totally tear him a new asshole. That means I must now use "constructive criticism," maybe something I should have been using all along for my reviews anyways. Damn the Internet is fucking things up! Ah well.
This is the only book that I have actually bought at the bookstore in the last five or so years (besides "The Eternal Prison" last year and "The Book of the Law" as a present). Usually I prefer the library but I could not wait that long to read this, so I am very biased because I'm a huge fan of the Avery Cates books. I think it's the best new Science Fiction I've discovered since Iain M. Banks and William Gibson, though very different.
Maybe because I've reread the other three books so many times my view is skewed and I just know how Somers' writing is now, maybe Cates has already been through so much it would be taxing on any author to put him through more, or maybe the pressure to put out another Cates book made Sommers sloppy; but I honestly think this is the least of the Cates series so far (The "Eternal Prison" being the best). Some of the "surprises" in this one I saw coming from a mile away, the repeated references to past adventures in the other three books irritated me (I mean I'm a Cates Junkie, I don't need reminders!), and a few technical/consistency details seemed wrong and irritated me as well. But overall it's still the genuine article and it entertained me a lot this month, though I don't see myself rereading it like I do with the other three. I even kept myself from reading it all in one night and paced myself to keep the joy last longer.
I'm still a fan and was totally enthused to find a few Avery Cates short stories on Somers' web site (how come nobody told me sooner?!) and will definitely be reading the next Cates book when it comes out. I just hope it's better than this one. I love Cates so much I'd rather have him die and read a spin-off series about the life of Wa Belling or something than to see his books get crappier and crappier until there's nothing cool left....more
The detailed background illustrations are enough to justify this whole 3 book series, though the plot is deep with concepts to keep any healthy mind oThe detailed background illustrations are enough to justify this whole 3 book series, though the plot is deep with concepts to keep any healthy mind occupied. First read as a pre-teen, this Series, along with "Psycho," and "The Books of Magick," changed my character forever. Now, 20+ years, later i still feel the Pathos of "Carl Selz's" situation, and finished the series in tears. Way ahead of it's time, Hard Boiled helped to shape my world view and I heartily recommend it to anyone, any age, any time!...more
I do give this 5 stars. It takes a very dilliberate suspension of disbeleif to enjoy the subtle brilliance of this book, or it will just seem like traI do give this 5 stars. It takes a very dilliberate suspension of disbeleif to enjoy the subtle brilliance of this book, or it will just seem like trash. It is of the utmost difficulty to write a novel in the "to You the reader" form, but for me Clive Barker does it perfectly here. There were moments he actually wrote what I was thinking, giving me shivers, then commenting in the book on my shivers. Had I read this book when I was younger and on acid it may have caused quite a mania, but as an adult it was simply enjoyable. ...more
Very cool futuristic murder book. I was sceptical through the first few pages but the comic-book like images and story line pulled me in so strongly tVery cool futuristic murder book. I was sceptical through the first few pages but the comic-book like images and story line pulled me in so strongly that I found myself enthralled. Best sci-fi read in recent memory, where characters and plot cary the story rather than technology. Anxiously awaiting the next book by Sommers.
9/20/09 - 3rd time reading. My dark god pan! Will Avery Cates never stop soothing my miserable life?...more