Horror emerges from comfort: I had that thought several times while reading As the Wheel Turns. Ellis is a master at setting the stage, lulling the reader with idyllic images and beautiful prose, and then teasing out the horror one strand at a time, picking the threads, undoing the tapestry. She has a great talent for creating believable, relatable characters, and a wonderful sense of place and atmosphere. "Wyving" stands out as a favorite story for me, but I can't say there is a weak story in the collection. It is strong from beginning to end.
Her novel The Five Turns of the Wheel is excellent, too. This collection supplements the novel perfectly.
I'm a huge fan of Stephanie Ellis, and I fell in love with the Weald from her novel The Five Turns Of The Wheel--a brilliant piece of folk horror I highly recommend. This collection is set in that world, so if you loved the novel than this is a must-read.
Return to the Weald with Tommy, Fiddler, and Betty (three of the most engaging but dangerous entities ever!) for more seasonal rituals to appease the Mother and Hweol. Meet more of the Wheelborn, regular villagers, and unlucky outsiders who show up at just the right (or wrong) time for a bit of Umbran "fun." I loved the new characters and their special rituals. There's even a few additional cameos from the novel, which added depth to their future stories.
There's something for everyone in this collection, but my favorites included "A Cradling Of Iron," "Wyving," "Consequences," "New Blood," "A Love Story," "Sing Us The Song Of The Barleycorn," "The Yowling," and "The Unwilling Neck."
These tales of sacrifice, often with a dash of betrayal or simply a fun twist, exemplify the magic of folk horror. It's usually scary when legends come to life, but it's even worse when your neighbors, family, or fellow humans turn on each other to either honor a strict religion or save their own skins. These stories run the gamut from creepy to terrifying, but I'll be waiting eagerly for my next chance to visit the Weald once more!
Wow! Stephanie Ellis does not disappoint in this follow up book of additional tales from the Weald from the first book. Tommy, Betty and Fiddler are finding that residents are forgetting some of the old traditions that protect this ancient collection of villages that are under the protection of The Mother. Re-education is needed and let’s say, in the most brutal ways.
I’m fascinated by this amazing world the author has created and seriously can’t get enough of the folklore and imagination she brings the reader, simply brilliant! Please grab a copy of both The Five Turns is the Wheel and this companion book for an unique and spectacular meld of fantasy, folklore and horror.
And watch out for the Imps, nasty little devils. Enjoy!