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The Impending Possession of Scarlet Wakebridge-Rosé Paperback – August 28, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Samantha grew up in a small town in Iowa but became an expat for her Canadian husband, whom she met in the Massive Multi-player Online Role-Playing Game StarWars: Galaxies (before the NGE, of course). She's the mother of a preschooler and twin babies--a houseful of girls will definitely keep her husband on his toes.
Samantha's short fiction has appeared in AE, Flash Fiction Online, and elsewhere. She has three novels out about angels and demons: the first two and a companion novel in her Fallen Redemption trilogy.
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Top customer reviews
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I love multi-ethnic urban fantasy and from the cover blurb, was thinking that is what this would be. However, it wasn't quite what I expected-- not so much an urban fantasy as a horror-based, slow-moving exploration of the nuances of evil in the context of multiple lives at the crossroads of magic and Catholicism.
The titular heroine has felt haunted her whole life an oily, evil shadow. She is facing growing relationship issues with her wife and teenage daughter and decides to turn to exorcist Father Angelo for help.
She is drawn into several exorcisms, but also begins to discover the thing that is haunting her has had her in its clutches before, and intends to use her current life as a way to torture her and her family. Meanwhile, Father Angelo has to come to grips with his dark-magic past and estranged relationship with a former mentor who may be Scarlet's only hope.
The book's pacing is a bit uneven-- the beginning is a slow dance between Scarlet and Angelo and the Catholic church and what it will permit. Lots of layers of what is "sin" and "evil" etc.
The last third of the book gets quite Exorcist-tastic. Lots of creepy blood and mayhem and horror. I felt a little frustrated in that I felt we were getting a peek at some truly intriguing characters (Angelo's former mentor, a surprise visit at the end only hinted at throughout the book) but weren't provided enough emotional fodder to appreciate their awesomeness. About halfway into the book, I realized "companion novel" was printed right there on the cover, and suspected that reading the whole series would give me access to the full emotional richness of the complicated relationships we just barely glimpse the outline of in this book.
This glimpse is enough to make me head over to Amazon to go read the blurbs and reviews of the main series to consider buying it.
That last is something I've seen done very badly in the past. A non–millionaire character has to have a job in order to provide grounding for the nuts and bolts of her life, but when the events of the plot pick up she ignores that job with absolutely no regard for what will happen when everything's over. I kind of understand an author forgetting about how a character is going to pay for her home when she gets fired because she was busy dealing with a demon – but, living paycheck to paycheck as I have as often as I have, I have a hard time swallowing the character forgetting. And Scarlet doesn't forget. She probably wouldn't have a money problem for a while (failing all else she could always sell the Louboutins; one pair would almost pay my rent for a month), but she does have a position of responsibility, and she is shown to give consideration to that fact. It's a small thing, takes only a paragraph if that – and it grounds the character and allows me to keep believing in her as a human being.
I mentioned above too that Scarlet is a lesbian without necessarily being the poster child for lesbians. She's a woman who happens to be married to another woman. This circumstance is not waved like a banner; the only impact that her gender orientation has on her presentation as a character is that it colors her interaction with and anticipation of her interaction with the Catholic Church – the reader is not battered with this aspect of her life any more than with the fact that she's black, or almost fifty, or whatever her job is. And … well, isn't that kind of the way things should be, that gender orientation, while important, is not what should determine how someone is treated or perceived? I really enjoyed Scarlet's relationship with her wife.
There are a few things, though, that I didn't enjoy as much. Kelton, the assistant in the exorcism game, was almost a complicated character. As stolidly prejudiced against Scarlet as the most clichéd of Catholics (and, seriously, it is a cliché that writers should be ashamed to lean on), he is devoted to the priest, he lets his strong convictions cancel out any compassion or impulse to duty he might feel – and he has his secrets. Come to find out, he is in an apparently abusive relationship with his wife. To be clear, she seems to be abusing him. This could have been a really interesting thing to explore, even if only as a B-plot (or C-plot) … but it isn't. Even a chapter – or even part of a chapter – more digging into that situation would have been great – but no.
And, finally, the resolution of the plot bothered me a great deal. It wasn't Scarlet's fate that bothered me, though - that worked. Without spoilers, the way this book was fitted into the author's universe was, I felt, unfortunate. The story of Scarlet's impending possession was fascinating – until the end and the revelation of more information, at which point I just got annoyed. And the whole "Fearmorph" thing annoyed me even more – after the serious jeopardy throughout the whole book, this just sounded silly.
Up until the last few chapters, I was all in. I had a great time. But that resolution undid a lot of it. Pity.
The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review.
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