Monday, April 20

Kim Wilkins: Grimoire

In Victorian London a magician’s quest for eternal life culminates in his summoning of the Devil himself. Angered by the summoning, Satan kills the man and threatens to destroy the world if anyone should try such a thing again.
In modern day Melbourne a group of academics devoted to the Victorian era have found the magician’s grimoire and are secretly trying to recreate his paranormal experiments, unaware of the consequences.
But they are not the only secret society meeting at the College. A group of students devoted to illegally exploring a labyrinth beneath the college uncover both the secret of the grimoire and the potential result of performing the magic it describes.
They steal the grimoire in an attempt to put an end to the experiments and soon find themselves the targets of a ruthless killer.
They escape, barely, but are unable to destroy the grimoire. The experience irreparably alters them and their relationships with each other and the question remains will they be able to protect the secret they have discovered or will the grimoire’s esoteric knowledge prove too much to resist.
A horror story in the gothic tradition, Grimoire, is dark and eerie. The atmosphere is decidedly creepy everywhere it should be and the author gives a sense of place without intruding upon the story.
Explanations as to how such disparate times and places have become linked are solid and believable, something many authors don’t manage to achieve convincingly.
The characters are complex and though a lot of time goes into their development I would like to have seen more of this towards the end of the story when situations change rapidly. I had a slight problem believing some of their behaviour in respect of their supposed ages-they behaved much younger than I would expect but that is a minor quibble.
As expected of a character driven piece the plot is relatively straightforward. Though there were still a few surprise turns there was nothing coming out of left field leaving me bewildered. I must admit that the ending left me a little flat. It felt a bit like the sequal bating endings of bad horror movies and I felt the characters deserved better. I would be disappointed if the grimoire were to feature prominently in a future work.
Overall slow in places but genuinely chilling at other times, this early effort by an author for whom I have high hopes, was a great find and I look forward to reading their more recent works.-Lynn

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