30 March, 2018


Title: Widdershins
Author: Jordan L. Hawke
Series: Whyborne & Griffin
Genres: Historical, Paranormal, LGBT, Romance
Publisher: Jordan L. Hawke
Release: December 4th 2012
Source: eBook
Pages: 236

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Some things should stay buried.

Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.

So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.

As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?


EXPECTATIONS: My to-go is always high-fantasy. But after a while, like it or not, you start wanting something simpler, without another world being built for you, and a whole new system of magic presented. In cases like that I grab the general kind of fantasy, with our simple world, preferably not too modern, and magic in it. Thus I got Widdershins recommended for me. I expected magic, and I got magic.

THE WORLD: A smallish town in America called Widdershins. An amazing museum present, a lake with an island full of cultists, maze tunnels, secrets, strange folk who once lived here. Pretty much Salem 2.0. It is of course set in the times where homosexuality, if not punishable crime, was truly just really, really unwelcome, unwanted, shameful, and disgusting. 

CHARACTERS: When Percival Whyborne was little, his best friend Leander told him there's cultists in the island in the lake, performing rituals at night. On a stormy night Whyborne found himself agreeing to steal a boat and go see, just so he could be with his friend and likely first ever crush. But the storm was too much, the boat tilted, and Whyborne was too little, and too weak to save his friend. Thus leaving him ridden with guilt. As he grew up, he refused his father's choice of studies set for him, for a life of a scholar, where he could study, learn, read, and just be away from people. Now he works in a museum and is an expert translator from many a dead (or not) language. He lives his life in a prison he built for himself, allowing bullying, mocking, and terrible conditions, as long as he can bury himself under work, and not think of this pathetic existence. But waters here refused to stay calm. Detective Griffin requires a translator for a mysterious occult book, and Whyborne seems just the man. And if Whyborne himself thought he can just translate the text and have Griffin out of his life, he was greatly mistaken, for the texts proved to be full of magic, spells, and strange things referring to same names his colleague recently discovered in a tomb in Egypt. One sealed unlike others, not to keep the looters out, but to keep something, or someone - in. 

ROMANCE: Griffin turns out to be a far more interesting fella, than Whyborne thought. His whole demeanor is different, and he goes as far as reprimand the bullies who'd talk poorly of Whyborne himself. Thus, he couldn't help but ask to help with the case. Whether to actually figure out what's going on, or to be around Griffin... Who am I kidding? Their romance bloomed soon after they got to know each other. Each thought the other to have full right to feel above himself. And each was very surprised to find a decent human being before himself. Friendship naturally grew into something more.

GOOD: There's not much magic per se, but there's a lot of products of magic and rituals. There's homunculi-life creatures that'd make a Tzimisce blush (Vampire the Masquerade, clan of flesh-molders). They're scary, and yet they can be, and will be killed. The whole revival of people is very interesting too, the means to do it, the way to do it, the way to seal it. For instance, you're not fully back and reanimated until you start consuming human flesh. After that - you're one tough bastard, hard to smother again. And of course, my favorite thing of all, character development. While Griffin didn't interest me too much, and I found his character lacking, tacky, and <insert a word I won't use here>, Whyborne adjusted to situation for the both of them. From the "just step over me, I don't care", he became this wonderful "I'll lie to your face if it's what it takes to fool you" mister, and I'm very pleased with it. Backbone for the win!

BAD: Griffin is a very meh character. And I really wanted more information about the things Christine did, or even the things Whyborne was reading about. But I can't blame the author for wanting to keep some secrets.

OVERALL: This was a fine read! Easy to read, with enough action to keep you going, but some inner drama, thoughts, nuances too. It felt balanced, really. If you want a light fantasy read with museum translators running for their lives, killing strange risen beasts, or saving the world - this is just the book.

What do you think about WHIDDERSHINS



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