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review 2017-10-24 21:21
Yeah, not so much...
The Cursing Stones (Avalon Rising) (Volu... The Cursing Stones (Avalon Rising) (Volume 1) - Sonya Bateman

It is always risky to go for a retelling of the most famous legends - like Avalon, Arthurian legends and so on.

 

And this was not really interesting.

 

It felt off and didn't manage to really generate interest in the main characters.

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review 2015-11-04 09:02
Community Cursing
Pagan Portals - Spellbook & Candle: Cursing, Hexing, Bottling & Binding (Pagan Portals) (Paperback) - Common - Melusine Draco

This is a reblog from https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/community-cursing/ where I reviewed this book back in 2012

 

I’ve just read Melusine Draco’s fascinating book By Spellbook & Candle: Cursing, Hexing, Bottling & Binding. (Recommended). It’s a very interesting piece of work which includes all sorts of information about the history of cursing. The one thing that grabbed me particularly was the idea of community cursing. The general image of cursing is more of the solitary, perhaps shameful act of malevolence against another. It’s done alone, in darkness, the evidence carefully hidden so you don’t get burned as a witch. A clichéd image, I know, but I think that’s the more normal association.

 

Community cursing is a whole other thing, and this book flagged up a number of times and places when its known to have been carried out. The best know example would be the Catholic excommunication, the accompanying language for which is tantamount to cursing somebody. And what could be more damning than removing a person from the presence, and care, of god? When a community gathers to publically throw a curse at someone, this has a totally different vibe from the private cursing image. For a start, normally the one who curses would be the one to face punishment in the event of discovery. Communal cursing, especially religion sanctioned, perhaps even undertaken by your priest or some other figure of authority, keeps power with the majority. It begs the question of why you might choose a curse in that scenario rather than more conventional, physical responses to a problem person.

 

If the intended recipient of a communal curse is an outsider, perhaps they will never know. It makes sense to curse the enemies of the tribe, and sociologically speaking, I suppose that’s as much about group identity and making up for a sense of lost power as anything else. When the majority undertakes to curse the lone individual from inside the community, there have to be other reasons, and I am not sure what they are. Punishment by public humiliation? A method for controlling behaviour, akin to the rough music used in some communities to shame those who do not conform to shared standards? Is it an implicit threat that next time action will be more direct? It probably varies across places and times. In the case of Catholic excommunication and other curse exiles, it is about publically removing the person from the community. For a lot of history, being outside the fold was probably a death sentence.

 

The whole issue flags up for me how contextual most things are. If someone with power, sanctioned by religion, curses another, that’s not evil, it may even get you saint status. When the curse is the only means of revenge or justice available to someone who is largely powerless, then the discovery of it will likely lead to further disempowerment.

Of course some, if not most of the cursing evidenced by folk practice, was all about greed and malice. Much of it won’t have had any decent justification. Cursing is just another way in which humans have sought to get advantages over each other, score points, and get our own way. It’s neither pretty nor excusable. But then there are the curses of the starving beggar, turned away from the rich house in the depths of winter, empty handed and powerless. I’ve encountered a few witch trial stories that start from just such a point. The wronged one powerless to get justice by conventional means, and invoking poetic justice, the wrath of God or their own anger in a quest to balance the books. And oddly enough, as Melusine points out, when someone poor and powerless curses in this way, and the curse comes to pass, no one seems to consider that this might not be evil at all, but a bit of divine intervention on behalf of the aggrieved one.

It had never before occurred to me that curses could be such a loaded, political issue!

Source: druidlife.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/community-cursing
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review 2015-10-21 16:02
Truth from the dark side
Pagan Portals - Spellbook & Candle: Cursing, Hexing, Bottling & Binding - Melusine Draco

The 20th century witchcraft revival saw a lot of effort put into good PR - and necessarily so. As witchcraft emerged from under a shadow of mistrust to become something more socially acceptable, the idea that witches are basically good people was something we all heard a lot about.

 

We do good, kind, benevolent white magic, not nasty evil black path stuff.

 

Or as it's more often put, an it harm none, do what you will.

 

The truth of magical history is not as squeaky clean. There is plenty of evidence that people in the past - who may or may not have self identified as witches - did a lot of cursing. As writing it down is a popular method, there's some pretty clear and detailed evidence out there for curses. Whether we like them or not, they are part of the history of people doing magic, and for that reason alone we ought to be talking about them.

 

This a brave book, in that it tackles the issue of cursing head on, and pulls no punches. It looks at how, and why and when. Cursing is not as ethical simple as you might first think. When there is no justice available, seeking a bit of poetical justice by magic has, if you will excuse the turn of phrase, a certain charm. When the system is corrupt, when someone has wronged you and holds all the power, when you have no witnesses to support you, then terrible things can be got away with. There's a case to make for using curses at times such as these.

 

There's also a saying that if you don't know how to curse, you don't know how to cure. A person who will only deal with love and light and unicorns is perhaps not equipped to deal with everything they might encounter in this life. To understand how and when and why people resort to curses is to know something of the human condition that can serve you well, regardless of whether you want to be working with deliberate malevolence.

 

this is not the most comfortable book ever written - and rightly so, but if you are interested in traditional magic, it's well worth a read.

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review 2014-11-18 00:00
Cursing at the Sky
Cursing at the Sky - Anne Michaud Cursing at the Sky - Anne Michaud I received a free eBook ARC version in return for an honest review. Though, for a novella (only 32 pages, according to Goodreads), I admit that it took me far too long to read; my fault. I didn't keep track of how long it took me to read the entire thing, so it could be much less time than I imagine. I think the main problem is that I just don't know what to say in this review. It's one of those stories that I just don't know how to explain what I feel about it, nor can I summarise my feelings in a succinct manner.

The story begins with Ina, a young woman who is in hospital. Her story is sad, even moreso now that her legs are gone. As we find out more about her life, we find out about the accident and the events that led up to it. For a while, her thoughts have been plagued by characters who only visit her. In fact, one of those characters visited her the night of the accident and led her to it. Through the story, Ina begins healing. Not only the wounds where her legs used to be, but she also gets committed to a new hospital to help her heal her mind.

I don't always like novella/ serials/ short stories (whatever you want to define this book as), mostly because not all authors know how to plan and present things in a small page count. That being said, not all authors are great are doing it in a long page count either. However, I digress. I think that the author, Anne Michaud, has presented the story reasonably well. The story is told in Ina's point of view and I feel like the plot of the story basically follows her thoughts on the matter, how she feels about each event happening to her and what she's done. Though this type of story telling method doesn't always work for those who try it, I think it works reasonably well here because of Ina's fractured mental state. Being that she's the one telling the story, she looks back on things, doesn't censor her thoughts and we get a lot of personal opinion as well. Going on with that point, I think the characters work well in the way the story is told. You can feel that many of the characters mean well and are genuinely trying to help Ina, even if she doesn't want them to help. Though, at the same time, I can see that not all of them really understand Ina's feelings or reasons either. It's kind of heartbreaking to read about Ina's pain and her guilt on the pain she has caused to other people. At the same time, it's also saddening because I can see that she doesn't intend to upset or annoy other people.

I somewhat enjoyed this story. I think that it has an interesting premise and I have not read anything quite like this before. While it is somewhat based in reality, with Ina's visions explained by mental illness, I like the way that the author has sort of also left it open as a somewhat paranormal novel and it could also be thought of as if ghosts and ghouls really are visiting her. The characters are interesting and I feel like Ina and many of the background characters' actions or feelings are understandable. Overall, it's a great piece. It's haunting, dark and thought-provoking. I rate it four and half stars, marked up to five for originality.
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review 2013-09-27 15:30
Great Zeus- This Needs Work!
Cursing Athena (Order of Seven, #1) - Lisa Sanchez

This story is loosely based upon the Greek myth Seven Against Thebes- mighty warriors tasked with sacking the city and failing. Athena plucks their souls from oblivion, juices them up and makes them her enforcers, charged with tracking down wayward demons that escape the Underworld. Tydeus, the group's Alpha, leads the latest hunt and immediately finds himself attracted to our little Mary Sunshine... just because. This is UF/PNR, after all.

All the self-pubbed mistakes apply- clumsy writing, too much telling instead of showing, inconsistent characters, etc. If this is the start of a series, it should be more developed- a few extra paragraphs and better editing wouldn't hurt anything. And where the heck is Arcade, the story's setting, anyway- an alternate dimension, parallel Earth, pocket universe? But since this is UF/PNR and we have to get right to the smexy, I guess none of that really matters right now. Maybe the answers to these and other questions is coming in the later books, but this doesn't make you too eager to find out.

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