on April 17, 2012
I'm well known to stay away from most things paranormal. Every now and then my daughters convinces me to watch Ghost Hunters with her. Those times are few and far between. However, I love Celtic Mythology and I've always wanted to visit Australia, so I hesitantly got The Ring of Lost Souls because it is set near Melbourne and has some Celtic Mythology in it. I really enjoyed the story, even as my heart pounded with anticipation (wimpish fear?) of what would happen next. I highly recommend The Ring of Lost Souls.
on June 9, 2012
In 'The Ring of Lost Souls' by Aussie author Rachel Tsoumbakos, we are asked to consider, 'What if Fairy Tales were real?" Well, I think you know reading that line in the book-blurb intrigued me from the get-go! And joy of all joys - this book more than met my high expectations! The story is set in the real location of Larundel Asylum but that is where the reality ends. I warn you, there is more of horror than of fairies in this tale. But then, true fairies never were the way Disney portrays them until only the last century, so maybe there is a great deal of Faerie. They were thought to be capricious and cruel, and certainly not good to be involved with!
Long ago a human beautiful woman Eithne became involved with Finnbheara, the King of the Fairies. Unfortunately, Finn was married to Una, who took exception to the whole thing. Eithne was also a witch, and she made a magic potion which was to keep Una asleep for 100 years, but which had only worked for a season. Somehow the magic potion linked Eithne and Una, and gave Una a conscience, which turned out to be bad for Finn.
When Eithne discovered that Finn was also the King of the Dead and sacrificed humans on Halloween, she had been disgusted, but still she hung on to him. Eithne is forced by circumstances to marry a human King, Amairgin. He conspires with Una to force Eithne to magically banish Finnbheara from Ireland to 'the ends of the earth, a place not yet discovered or conquered'. This act has the unforeseen consequence of binding the four of them for eternity, in a complex cycle of rebirth.
The 'ends of the earth' turns out to be Australia. Living in Melbourne, Isobel is recently divorced and has also recently lost her job. She takes up running as a hobby, and frequently finds herself passing by the ruins of an abandoned mental asylum, Larundel. One day she finds a simple gold wedding band on the grounds, and puts it on. Strange events begin happening, some things which call Isobel's sanity into question.
A ghostly 'bird-lady' named Maisy, urges her to 'kill them all'. When Isobel asks who she should kill, Maisy replies 'the lost souls.' Things go downhill from there.
This tale winds though modern pop-culture and the events of her past-lives which involve Larundel. Isobel struggles to to discover who Maisy was and what ties them together. All the while she is struggling with this mystery, Finn and Maisy watch her, as ghostly entities.
Friends do not always have her best interests in mind, and what she has always believed of herself is proven to be a myth.
This story has more twists and turns than a country road. Just when you think you know what is going on, you find you were off track. The ending is unexpected and I highly recommend this tale to everyone who likes a good paranormal fantasy.
I enjoyed Rachel Tsoumbakos' first book, Emeline and the Mutants, an off-beat take on vampires, zombies and the cure for HIV. Both books are available for Kindle at amazon.com.
on May 28, 2012
First, this is not a novel. This is only the first half of a novel, with the rest to be published later. This was not stated in any review and I wish I had known this before purchasing. I was disappointed.
Second, I'm not sure how I would classify this book. I thought it would be more paranormal horror from the synopsis. I was not expecting fairies. I'm not sure I would even purchase the second half of this book.
on April 18, 2012
A very chilling story! Wow, Rachel Tsoumbakos weaves a griping tale of paranormal intrigue married with a psychological thriller in The Ring of Lost Souls. As the reader, you are transported into Isobel's world of sanity vs insantity. Some nights I almost left the light on after I put down the book. Other nights I questioned my own sanity. Good going, Rachel. I recommend this book.
on June 7, 2013
This second novel by Rachel Tsoumbakos is an exciting blend of fantasy, paranormal and suspense.
Isobel, the main character, is starting to get her life back together after a painful break-up with her boyfriend and losing her job. She takes up jogging, and what she finds in the grounds of an abandoned mental facility radically changes her life.
Isobel has been well-crafted. She's strong and determined, but also vulnerable and to a degree, a little too trusting - at first. The way she deals with events are totally realistic and readers can share her burgeoning love, fear, distrust and puzzlement as things unfold. This woman could have done with a little more laughter in her life, but it wasn't the path she was meant to tread, so you never feel that it's missing from the story. That, to me, is the sign of a good writer.
The supporting characters were also well written, especially Lottie. She's quite mysterious and it's not until the end you find out who she really is and what's on her agenda.
The setting, Larundel, actually exists. The former mental hospital, as it's depicted in the book, is a broken down building covered in graffiti, which is slowly being reclaimed by the flora and fauna surrounding it. It's been plundered for most of its valuable assets and now resembles a bomb site with rubble, abandoned furniture and general rubbish left around to trip up the unwary. As Tsoumbakos takes you through the halls, wards and various rooms, you get a real sense of how it looks. It's so well depicted you can easily picture it in your mind.
I loved the blending of genres in this book and the author builds the suspense in an artful way. Many a night I read into the wee small hours, because I just had to find out what was coming next. The fantasy and paranormal side is believable and put together in an interesting concept - one that I really enjoyed.
If there was one thing I didn't like about this book, it was the number of missing words. However, putting that aside, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this - it's a fantastic read!
on December 20, 2012
This lady knows how to put a story together!
The blending of Irish folk lore and modern Australian history was a stroke of genius... I'm not usually a fan of this genre, but i have to say, I couldn't put this one down! The story winds through the lost lands of Fae folklore and Melbourne's Northern Suburb of Bundoora to create a most believable story, especially if you have visited the site of Larundel in the past 15 years. As I was a student near by for my uni degree, inevitably we heard the stories and the rumors, this author has woven them in such a way that you're not quite sure if you are reading fact or fiction!
Hope to see more from this author soon. She is a great talent!