Book Reviews

Bones (Gothika 2, Anthology) at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Urban Fantasy / Magic / Curses / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 12-November-2014

Book Blurb

Vodou. Obeah. Santeria. These religions seem mysterious and dark to the uninitiated, but the truth is often very different. Still, while they hold the potential for great power, they can be dangerous to those who don’t take appropriate precautions. Interfering with the spirits is best left to those who know what they’re doing, for when the proper respect isn’t shown, trouble can follow. In these four novellas, steamy nights of possession and exotic ritual will trigger forbidden passion and love. You cannot hide your desires from the loa, or from the maddening spell of the drums. Four acclaimed m/m authors imagine homoerotic love under the spell of Voodoo.

The Dance by Kim Fielding
The Bird by Eli Easton
The Book of St. Cyprian by Jamie Fessenden
Uninvited by B.G. Thomas


Book Review

I am the reader who was salivating at getting this second book in the 'Gothika' series. I read, and loved, the first installment, and when I discovered that the four stories in 'Bones' revolved around magic, specifically vodou, I was super excited to read it.

The Dance by Kim Fielding
Bram has had a lousy year. His long-term partner died, he was in a bad accident, and three months ago a man tried to kill him in the grocery store. Bram defended himself, and in a weird accident ended up killing the guy. So when the man's brother, Daniel, shows up at Bram's door claiming an evil spirit is trying to kill him, well, you can imagine the response that logical, scientific Bram gives him. But when one more driver tries to run him over, and Bram has a very disturbing dream, he calls Daniel for help.

This was a fascinating introduction into vodou. Daniel explained about the Iwas, (Lo-ah) or spirit intermediaries between humans and Bondye, the Creator. Daniel's lwa, Ezili Freda, is the one who tells Daniel that a spirit is trying to kill Bram. The dream Bram has introduces him to a very powerful death and sex lwa named Ghede Nibo. Now Ghede Nibo has taken a strong interest in Bram, which is unusual as Bram is not an initiate into vodou. Nevertheless, Daniel, Freda, and Nibo are all on Bram's side to help him get rid of this angry spirit, and stay alive.

Kim Fielding is a favored author of mine, and I adored her contribution to this anthology. Daniel and Bram were very easy to care for, and I was intrigued by the Iwas, and the changes Nibo brought to Bram's consciousness. My only complaint? I could've read an entire book with these characters.

The Bird by Eli Easton
Obeah. A type of folk magic that traces itself back to the African slave trade. Colin, a graduate of Eton and Cambridge, is fascinated by this from a scientific standpoint. When Colin provides the means to save one of his plantation workers’ daughters, Tiyah tells him that in exchange, Erzulie, an Obeah loa, a powerful spirit, will grant him a life of his secret passion. This is a huge honor, and not something normally given to a non-follower, but Tiyah's daughter is also Erzulie's, as the loa was riding, or possessing, Tiyah at the time of conception.

What is Colin to do? He is here in Jamaica in 1870 to restore his family's plantation in exchange for the right to marry his fiancée when he returns to England. However, the way he thinks of, and writes to very often, his close and dear friend Richard, made it obvious what his heart's desire is. I just wonder if Colin is aware of it? And, if he isn't, what will happen to this proper Englishman when his desires explode in the Jamaican heat? The ceremony was exciting, to the point where I almost felt as if I was there, listening to the drums and the chanting.

Another wonderful addition to this anthology. Colin and Richard find what they both need from their lives, and Jamaica becomes their home. I liked this story, and the mysticism really grabbed, and held, my attention. Once again I felt I could have read a much longer story with these characters.

The Book of St. Cyprian  by Jamie Fessenden
For obvious reasons, my heart went out to poor Spartacus, the dog, invaded by an evil spirit. Alejandro has grown up surrounded by Santeria, as his grandmother, his abuela, is a practitioner, and owns a botanica. So it's no wonder that when he finds a copy of 'The Great Book of St. Cyprian', a very old black magic tome, he doesn't ship it to his abuela's home. Oh, no. He sends it to his best friend Matthew, to hold on to until the following day when Alejandro will be home.

He and Matthew have been best friends for six years, and there's nothing either of them won't do for the other. Well, except Matthew doesn't think Alejandro looks at him as more than a friend, and Alejandro is afraid to look at him that way because they're as close as brothers. None of that matters, though, as they try to figure out how to banish this spirit and save their beloved and gentle Spartacus. Luckily for the boys, and the dog, once Abuela finds out, she comes to help - with a lot of cursing for her idiot grandsons.

A good addition that I liked, although a little more history on Santeria, especially more information on their practices, would've made it even better for me. I did like these two young boys, and Abuela was exactly how I pictured her.

Uninvited by B.G. Thomas
Taylor is a reporter who mostly covers bake sales, Pride events, and the smaller attractions for the Kansas City Chronicle. But when his detective friend gives him the scoop on a ritualistic murder, Taylor is determined to get the story. His research leads him to vodou, and, lo and behold, there's a store in Kansas City. Taylor is shocked. How could he not have known this? They are far from New Orleans, after all. Although, I must admit, a vodou store named Lucky Charms was a little incongruous.

Taylor meets Myles, owner of Lucky Charms, and a first level priest of vodou. When Taylor makes it plain that he just wants answers to his questions, and that he just wants to learn, then Myles is happy to explain his religion to him, and to stress how they do not perform human sacrifice. But, someone is doing it, and Taylor seems to be right at the crossroads between life and death.

A very mysterious addition to this anthology that I enjoyed greatly. The ending was wonderful, although I definitely have a few questions for the author. *grins*

Overall, this is a wonderful book, with just enough magic and mystique to keep me highly entertained. Thank you to Kim, Eli, Jamie, and Ben for their stories!






DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Anthology/ 4 novellas, 260 pages/83998 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 27-October-2014
Price $6.99 ebook, $16.99 paperback, $16.99 bundle
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