Thursday 2 July 2009

Voodoo Season by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Pages - 273

Challenges - 100+, Southern Reading Challenge, A to Z Titles

Voodoo Season is the second book in a trilogy, but can definitely be read alone.

The first book Voodoo Dreams looks at the life of Marie Laveau, who really existed back in the 1800's and was known to be a practitioner of Voodoo.

Voodoo Season revisits New Orleans, but is the story of Marie Levant, who is the great-great granddaughter of Marie Laveau. Marie is compelled to leave her promising medical career in Chicago to go back to where she was born - New Orleans. Once she arrives in New Orleans, Marie is both seduced and horrified by the mysterious landscape where the slave holding past starts to merge with present day. Quadroom balls where pretty young black girls were dressed up and then lined up to be chosen by men purely for rape, have become reality again and these women are being left 'undead' . Marie has to tap into her past life and her ancestors power to fight these horrific crimes and bring peace back to New Orleans.

I have always been fascinated by the practice of voodoo, a rather dark practice,yet intriguing. This book allows you to see the good and the bad practices within voodoo. There are some fairly gruesome parts, especially when the ' undead ' girls are discovered ( girls raped whilst in a state of being dead, their body would register as dead within a hospital as having no signs of life, yet when buried they would wake up and then suffocate). However, you do see Marie using voodoo for the greater good, with the help of the Guede(the family of spirits that embody the powers of death and fertility). Marie brings revenge on the evil perpetrators who have caused so many young girls to die purely for their pleasure. It is nice to see voodoo being shown in a positive light.

This is a very dark book and not one for the lighthearted. I did find the story disturbing in some parts and I was shocked by the way it ended. There is a whole section on voodoo rituals which do build into an unexpected ending.

I enjoyed the story, it was unusual and fascinating to read, but I did find in parts that the story became confusing. I found that I would often lose track of who was actually speaking, especially if you take into account her ancestors joined in with her conversations.

I was a little disappointed with the way New Orleans was described. I am a very visual person and when I am reading about a place I like to be immersed in descriptions about it, so I can actually visualize it in my mind. With the beauty and the originality of New Orleans, I was expecting it to be be richer in description, but that is a very personal taste to me.

Some of the terminology was difficult to understand and required looking up. It would probably be easier reading for a true New Orleans resident, as the language used seemed very familiar to that lifestyle.

Marie came across as a strong character and she really needed to, in order to cope with the situations she was forced into. Her friends seem to betray her in order to help her find out who they believe she really is. You couldn't help but feel exhausted and weary for her and anxious as you turned the pages of the book.

So on the whole, I have mixed emotions about this book, I enjoyed aspects of it and disliked other parts. I would be interested in reading the book before and after, but I am not sure if I would rush to read them. I would be really interested to read other bloggers reviews on this one.

Other reviews on this book.

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of


  1. This book sounds thoroughly intriguing. I think maybe I would start with the first book, but I really like the storyline you described in this one, so maybe not.

  2. Mixed emotions, hmm, make me wonder then. The book for me or not? Usually with books that makes me go hmm I wait and see if teh library gets them.
    Great review

  3. I guess it was easy for Chris to visualize New Orleans, since he actually lives there :P I'm sorry you didn't love this as much as you hoped you would. I still want to read it, but the bit about the raped girls sounds like it would really upset me.

  4. I'm interested in the subject of voodoo but a dark book like this might be too much for me.

  5. Hmmmm, not sure if this would be a book for me or not although it does sound fascinating and I've always been interested in in the subject of voodoo. It does sound very dark though. I guess you'd have to be in the right mood for this one.

  6. This sounds interesting. I haven't read anything on this topic before.

  7. I'm not sure if it's a book for me. It may be too dark for me... but still, good review!

  8. Sounds like it was both good and bad. I agree, I need lots of rich description as well. Have you read Anne Rice's Interview? It's mostly set in New Orleans, and one of my favorites.


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