Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Bayou Myth by Mary Ann Loesch

Title: Bayou Myth
Author: Mary Ann Loesch
Series: Bayou Myth #1
Publisher: Dragonfire Press
Target Audience: YA
Genre: Urban fantasy
Length: 240 pages

StoryAs a sixteen year old voodoo queen in the making, Joan Renault just wants to be like all the other girls in the small town of Monte Parish, Louisiana—obsessed with boys and swamped with social lives. If the other kids would quit calling her “hoodoo hag,” she might have a small shot at normality. It would also help if Joan’s weekend outings with her secret crush, Dave, weren’t always being interrupted by her dead Grandmere, the legendary Marie Laveau. After all, it’s hard to make out with your best friend when your grandmother is watching! But when you come from a long line of voodoo priestesses with dried gator heads decorating the wall of their huts, normal doesn’t come easily. 

When Joan witnesses the brutal sacrifice of a child to a tree Druid, she learns her Grandmere’s scandalous past has come back to haunt those living in the present. Hera, a vengeful voodoo priestess is determined to use the residual energy of Pandora’s Box to revive a sleeping voodoo god and declare war on the descendants of Marie Laveau, especially Joan. Suddenly, Greek myths are being re-enacted all over town, and Joan has her hands full trying to sort it all out. With the approach of Samedi’s Day—the voodoo day of resurrection—Joan must learn to accept her destiny in order to stop the approaching threat to her family and friends.

Thoughts and impressions: As soon as I read the synopsis for this one I was sold. Voodoo and Greek gods? Cool! Totally sounds like my sort of thing... Then I stopped and thought about it for a bit and I started to have a few reservations about whether or not the author would be able to successfully pull off a believable scenario that mixes voodoo and the myths and legends on Ancient Greece. So I went into the book in a state that was somewhere between excitement and trepidation.

Excitement won.

I read the book in two sittings. One that was about 1-25% (I only stopped because it was late and I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore!) and the second was the other 75% of the book. The fact that I sat down and read 75% of a book with no breaks says everything. I could finish the review right here… but I’m not going to.

I’m not going to spoil how the author manages to merge the two very different cultures of voodoo and the Greek myths and legends, but I thought the way she did it was rather ingenious. It allowed them both to stay true to themselves without forcing either into an uncomfortable situation. I was so glad that they were mixed together in such a way rather than trying to shove two pantheons together and require them to work.

The story itself turned out to be addictive. I was in one of those “just one more chapter…” phases. You know, the ones you never slip out of until you’ve turned the last page and then you have an oops moment as you realise just how much of the day you’ve lost. Oops. But it was worth it! I’ve never seen Marie Laveau portrayed in a positive light before so this was an interesting experience for me from that point of view. I was also captivated by the Louisiana bayou setting. For someone who grew up in the Pennines and the Alps, the bayou is a far cry from any environment I’ve known. That could be part of its mysticism and the charm it weaves on me. I loved how the author managed to really bring it to life for me, despite the huge distance separating me from it.

Joan, the main character, was also very interesting. Chosen to be the next great voodoo priestess, she’s still in the phase where she resists her calling despite her grandmere’s consistent intervening. Of course, events line up just so and she can no longer ignore the destiny that is before her. I did occasionally get the feeling that she was a little too blind to things around her. For example, at one point she thinks she’s talking to her best friend and just blurts out her whole plan when he’s practically interrogating her. Only later does she realise that her best friend might not actually have been the one controlling the body she was interacting with.

There was also a fair amount of exposition through dreams. This is not something that I’m usually fond of, preferring other means to be used to uncover secrets, but I have to say that it did work fairly well in this particular novel.

I wasn’t aware that this is actually the first of a series. In a way, I’m slightly bummed out because I want to have the answers to my questions already – in the form of the next novel of course! Things are not really rounded off at the end of the story and a lot of threads are left dangling to be picked up come book two. I really want to find out how Joan’s relationship with her best friend, Dave, will progress now that she’s finally uncovered the truth about the secrets he’s been keeping. I’ve got my fingers crossed for them as Dave turned out to be a very decent guy.

Possibly the very best thing about this novel is the role that the parents play. There are far too many YA novels out there where the parents either aren’t there or just don’t give a damn about what their teenage child is getting up to. In Bayou Myth the parents played a very positive role.  They cared about Joan, gave her limits to what she could do (not that she always respected them) and helped her when the going got tough. There should be more YA books out there where the parents are portrayed in such a positive light.

Overall a fabulous book. When’s book 2 coming out?

Style: There were some problems towards the end of the book. It felt like the editor had just got bored and so missed some fairly obvious mistakes.

Final verdict: Not at all what I was expecting but so much the better for it. I really enjoyed this book! 5 stars

Extra notes: Bad language is present. Sex behind closed doors.

The author:

 Mary Ann Loesch is an award winning fiction writer from Texas. Her urban fantasy, Nephilim, was published in July 2011 by Lyrical Press Inc.  An avid blogger for All Things Writing (http://www.allthingswriting.blogspot.com) and Loesch’s Muse (http://www.loeschsmuse.blogspot.com), Mary Ann has also contributed stories in the horror anthology, All Things Dark and Dastardly. Her latest book, Bayou Myth, was released in June 2012. While she loves dirty martinis and cuddling with her dachshund, she loves fan mail even more! Contact her through her website at www.maryannloesch.com.

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  1. Rea, thanks for reading this book! I'm glad you enjoyed it and really appreciate your feedback!

  2. This book sounds fantastic! Maybe my daughter and I can read it together!


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