The Voices of the Dead Omnibus
Have you ever walked past a bakery, got a tease of that fresh bread smell, wandered in to just pick up a loaf and ended up with a bundle of fresh pastries, unsure how that happened?
Or maybe you stopped in the grocery, not realising you were hungry, to pick up two things max, and ended up rolling a full cart back out to your car?
If either of those situations resonates with you, you completely understand when I say, every time I pick up one of the books from Victoria Raschke’s Voices of the Dead to just read a few pages in-between some task, I end up getting caught up for a minimum of 5 chapters.
It does not matter what else I have to do, these books catch me in their world and hold me.
Victoria’s writing style, her prose, feels like warm soft laundry on a cold cloudy day. She rocks your senses and beguiles your reading self into her world so easily and so quietly. It may not be the loud adventure and rushing chaos I am usually drawn to, however it has its own magic that soothes, that calls, and that awakens your curiosity to find out exactly what happens next with Jolene Wiley and her tribe.
The story is set in Slovenia. Imagine that, storytellers tend to go to Paris or London. Victoria chooses a different path and shows the reader a world that I am sure many of us are unfamiliar with. She doubles down on this when she introduces a new pantheon of old European gods who have existed far longer than we might remember. For mythology lovers, this series will be a wondrous dream. I will not give it away but our main character Jolene interacts with and meets a few witches, demons, gods, and other deities as she unravels the mystery of who she is.
At Jolene’s core, though, we have a main character unlike any I have read in a very long while. She is grown. Not sort of grown, not kind of grown, but fully grown. Grown in the way that only making love filled and starry-eyed decisions in your wild youth can make you. Practical and self reliant, she is also the glue, the core that holds her son and her found family together.
I am sincerely trying not to give any spoilers away for this 4-part book series, so if any of my descriptions seem a bit too general, that would be why.
What struck me though, was that this journey of the main character was a hero journey unlike what I have become accustomed to. One we rarely see in fiction. It was the journey of a woman deepening her connections with self and growing into being more than she had foreseen was possible.
Even while she did all she could to hold on to the things that made her, her. Jolene was unapologetically female. She was soft. She was strong. She let her physical needs drive her. She refused to conform into being the stereotypical woman society tries to shame us into being. And she did all of this while holding on to the people she loved, to what made her happy, and what she thought was right at great personal cost.
These books changed me. They reminded me that a slower pace allows for more introspection of the characters and of me, the reader. More often than not, I am drawn to the wild side of adventure and I had forgotten that adventure and lore could be just as tasty if savored and sipped like a mug of hot chocolate on a dark rainy day.
Do not misunderstand me, there is a lot of action here, and emotional heavings, but they are delivered not with a brawling fist but instead as a slow twisting knife inserted between your ribs.
Your emotions and thoughts get caught in Victoria’s seductive and wordy ebb and flow, and she will murder your time and steal your attention. She just does it with such beauty and grace in her writing that your day slips by, errands and work remain undone, while you convince yourself to read just one more chapter.
Try Voices of the Dead.
But, put aside the time, get comfy and cozy. Maybe a hot brew, a couple snacks, and something to hug before you get started.
This is the kind of series you keep in your library and return to as needed.
That said, be sure to ease yourself in and let Jolene Wiley take you on a twisty and dark adventure in Slovenia.