Magical reading for people who like to think

Blood on Borrowed Wings, by Darren Stapleton

There’s a saying that genre fiction means loads happens and no one thinks about it, while literature means nothing happens and everyone thinks about it a lot. That this is too often true is one of the reasons I struggle to find books I want to read. Blood on Borrowed Wings has that perfect balance of action and introspection. Set in a grim future, with political intrigue, dark secrets and modified humans who can fly, the main character thinks about what’s happening to him. It’s not just about solving the plot and finding out what’s going on, it’s also about finding out who he is and deciding who he is going to be.

I found it a gripping read. The setting, and some of the characters truly enthralled me. There’s dark humour here, and the kind of thoughtful word-crafting you’d expect from a literary author, but with the kind of plot you’d expect from a summer blockbuster movie. That balance of humour and darkness, sharp dialogue, insight, action and intrigue put me in mind of Mark Lawrence.

I gather this is book one of a series – it leaves me wanting to know what happens next. It is dark and violent, and what’s suggested is darker and more violent again than what’s shown, but it’s also key to plot and characters, not there for the sake of it. If you are craving clever speculative fiction, I can wholeheartedly recommend this book.

Find out more about the book here –

To Be A Young Witch, by Siusaidh Ceanadach

The author suggests at the beginning that this is a book for 16 to 18 year olds, but I would cheerfully put it into the hands of any younger Pagan who has some adult support. It’s written for the young Pagan to read, with adults on hand, not to read for them, so the main issue I think is how literate your proto-witch is. Beyond that, it’s an accessible introduction to what witches do, and the way reality starts to look if you adopt a witchy outlook on life. Siusaidh uses stories as part of her teaching – a great way of expressing ideas and making them available, and a way for the reader to see themselves, and their own potential reflected back. The book is nicely illustrated. The content is sensible and responsible, no one is going to get themselves out of their depth or into trouble working from this book. Of course it represents a world view, a take on history and practice and whether that aligns with your take is another question, but if the image of the traditional British Witch as wise person and healer speaks to you, this is a good book to work with.

More about the book here –!product/prd17/4469855381/to-be-a-young-witch


Ghostbird, By Carol Lovekin

In two cottages that have belonged to one witch family for generations, live a mother, a daughter and an aunt. It’s almost a fairytale set up. However, as the daughter of the family comes into her own as a teenager, she starts feeling able to ask more questions – what happened to her father, and to the sister she’s not allowed to speak of? What happened to her mother? Why are they living like this? There are dark secrets in this family, held by years of pain and silence, and young Cadi must either make sense of it, or be swallowed by it herself. This is a beautiful, haunting story, full of myth and magic, and the journeys from despair to hope. It’s a fantastic piece of witch-lit – with its focus on the lives of women, a compelling expression of witchcraft, and some fantastic magical realism, it’s everything a Pagan fiction reader might want from a book. The author isn’t a Pagan, but she certainly gets it. I loved it, I cannot praise it highly enough.

More about the book here –

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

4 responses to “Magical reading for people who like to think

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