THE BOOK OF SHADOWS by James Reese

THE BOOK OF SHADOWS

KIRKUS REVIEW

Debut supernatural vampire/witch superdrama whose lesson seems to be that sex is better when (1) it’s a sin, (2) it hurts, and (3) it involves barely adolescent girls.

Our nameless narrator of variable gender starts as the prize pupil in a generic European girls’ prep school, but it’s not long before she’s dabbling in sexual experimentation with a classmate. Merde! She discovers that she likes being struck, that she ejaculates “nightsalt” in wet dreams, etc. The school administrators accuse her of being a demon and lock her up, conveniently, in Satan’s library. She thinks to kill herself when she learns that she will be tried at the hands of—double-merde!—men, but then she realizes that she really is a witch and maybe it’s not so bad. After all, she gets to have sex with a demon priest who had once been burned at the stake (no biggie), and is soon introduced to four demon saviors, who tutor her but also need her help to escape their mortal coils. She also learns that she might not be strictly female after all, but nevertheless engages in a sexual relationship with a servant named Romeo while she reads the shadow books of her saviors (the Cliff’s Notes of witchdom) and prepares to write her own. She eventually helps her demon pals escape, becomes a man, and sails off to America. Mon Dieu! More often than not, the author seems to be performing self-therapy on his own fixation with lesbian witches. But demons arguing Aristotle and Plato do not save prose whose intent is only to titillate. Fear may be exciting, and pain may be secretly enjoyable, but when young girls refer to their vaginas as “nether mouths” it seems nothing more than garden-variety porn.

Harry Potter for oversexed Wicca freaks. Masochists, hermaphrodites and nun-fetishists unite!

Pub Date: March 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-621015-1
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2002




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