The Official Description: Guthrie was a good place to be from, but it wasn’t a great place to live, not when you were like Adam, in all the ways Adam was like Adam.
Adam Binder hasn’t spoken to his brother in years, not since Bobby had him committed to a psych ward for hearing voices. When a murderous spirit possesses Bobby’s wife and disrupts the perfect life he’s built away from Oklahoma, he’s forced to ask for his little brother’s help. Adam is happy to escape the trailer park and get the chance to say I told you so, but he arrives in Denver to find the local magicians dead.
It isn’t long before Adam is the spirit’s next target. To survive the confrontation, he’ll have to risk bargaining with powers he’d rather avoid, including his first love, the elf who broke his heart.
The Binder brothers don’t realize that they’re unwitting pawns in a game played by immortals. Death herself wants the spirit’s head, and she’s willing to destroy their family to reap it.
Just the facts: Queer character, YA, fantasy/magic, mystery
A young man with a past he doesn’t quite understand comes face to face with a monster of epic proportions. All the magic and intrigue you need with a main character you’ll love! – Kinzie Things
My thoughts bit: I knew nothing about this book when I began reading it. Sometimes, I like to do that so I don’t have preconceived ideas about an author or their work. I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed this debut fantasy by David R. Slayton.
Adam has magic in him. He is able to see the “spirit world” and heard voices when he was younger. As a result, he was put in a psychiatric inpatient school by his brother and his mother after the disappearance of his father. When the novel begins, Adam is living with his Aunt Sue and her cat, Spider in Guthrie, OK. He’s estranged from the rest of his family and doesn’t want anything to do with them in the future.
Everything changes when Adam’s older brother, Bobby texts him because he needs help. It turns out that Bobby’s wife has become ill and Bobby thinks the illness is of a magical nature. After years of silence, the only person who can help Bobby and Annie is Adam.
“All things lead to Denver,” is the hint that Adam receives and he heads out to help his brother. Once there, Adam discovers a creature far beyond his capability has taken hold of his sister-in-law and the true battle begins.
The world that Slayton has chosen for his novel is very interesting. Magic works in patterns, the spirits of the watchtower are real entities, and there are a wide variety of other magical beings. The Elves are intriguing: haughty, vegan, extremely powerful, and protective of others. There are Leprechauns guarding one of the watchtowers: tricksters, bargain makers and they like to get what they’re after. There are a lot of creatures and beings in this novel that are intriguing and it seems we may see more of them later as this series continues.
“Magic is life” in this story. There’s not a lot of explanation regarding magic and where it comes from. As the series unfolds, there may be more opportunities for the author to reveal some of the structure of the magical system. It’s clear that Adam Binder has a role to play in the magical world and this book is setting up many more potential stories.
Adam has a complicated life on the “real” side of the world. He’s connected by accident to a police officer he meets at his brother’s hospital. He had a very emotional relationship with an Elf in the past that he discovers may have been much more than he knew at the time. His mother and his brother are distant from Adam with reasons of their own. No spoilers here but … this family has been through a lot and will continue down the same path for a while to come.
For those of you interested in reading books with queer content then this one is a treat. The fact that Adam is gay isn’t the entire plot of the novel. This is one of those wonderful books in which the characters just are what they are and that’s not the plot. Bravo!
The novel is well-paced and has some quirky dialogue that I enjoyed. I always give extra points for any author who can work in a reference to the movie, “Se7en” as well! “What’s in the box??”
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) a character is shot, discrimination based on wealth, alcoholic parents in the past, homophobia, homophobic slurs in past, memories of past child abuse, possession of a character
I received an ARC of White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton from Blackstone publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.