New Charity Blues by Camille Griep
Published by 47North on April 12th 2016
Buy on Amazon
In the wake of a devastating plague, two communities emerge as bastions of survival. One is called the City, and its people scrabble for scraps in the wasteland. The other, New Charity, enjoys the bounty of its hydroelectric dam and refuses City denizens so much as a drop of precious water. When City-dweller Cressyda inherits her father’s ranch within New Charity, she becomes intent on opening the dam to all—no matter the cost.
But when Syd reunites with her old best friend, Casandra, a born seer and religious acolyte, she realizes that her plans could destroy the fragile lives they’ve built in order to survive. What’s more, the strange magic securing the dam’s operations could prove deadly if disturbed. Yet when Syd discovers evidence that her father might have been murdered, she is more determined than ever to exact revenge on New Charity’s corrupt.
Pitted against Cas, as well as her own family, Syd must decide how to secure the survival of both settlements without tipping them over the brink to utter annihilation. In this intense and emotional reimagining of the Trojan War epic, two women clash when loyalty, identity, community, and family are all put to the ultimate test.
ABOUT CAMILLE GRIEP:
Camille Griep lives just north of Seattle with her partner, Adam, and their dog Dutch(ess). Born in Billings, Montana, she moved to Southern California to attend Claremont McKenna College, graduating with a dual degree in Biology and Literature.
She wrote her way through corporate careers in marketing, commercial real estate, and financial analysis before taking an extended sabbatical to devote more time to her craft.
She has since sold short fiction and creative nonfiction to dozens of online and print magazines. She is the editor of Easy Street and is a senior editor at The Lascaux Review. She is a 2012 graduate of Viable Paradise, a residential workshop for speculative fiction novelists.
Her first novel, Letters to Zell, was released in July 2015 47North. Look for New Charity Blues in April of 2016.
I completely went out of my box when I read New Charity Blues and I can without a doubt say that I am happy that I did. While I aim for more fantasy than realistic fiction New Charity Blues had just the right amount of magic and mysticism to keep me wanting more! Now, like most books, this wasn’t a perfect books and I’m going to tell you (without spoiling this genuinely good book) some of the things that I liked and some of the things that kept this book from being a knock out awesome book.
What I liked
• The cover is gorgeous. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but we all know that sometimes a beautiful cover comes by and we just can’t help ourselves! This is what New Charity Blues cover is with its dark blue and the white car that just pops out of the cover and says “reeeeaaddd meee…”
• I loved both the main characters. Despite the fact that in the beginning of the story I wanted to strangle a few of them they began to grow on me and I started to actually understand why they acted the way that they did. Not that it excused them, but it did work.
• Camille’s ability to write completely different perspectives. This goes along with my love of main characters but I believe that it deserves its own bullet. Many times when an author does multiple perspectives one or even both characters voices begin to either sound similar or one drowns out the other and in the case of Syd and Cas this did not happen. They didn’t “magically” be able to read what each other’s issues were and bond over tea. No, there were times where they completely were off base with each other and it was just so awesome to see how that came to a head and eventually played out!
• The magic. Now there is something that I didn’t quite like about the magic and I’ll discuss that more down below but ultimately I was satisfied with how it all tied together with the story. Now I hope that this isn’t a spoiler for anyone but I especially loved the part of the magic that played on the Greek myth of Cassandra and Apollo. Again, I’m not going to give it away were that plays in but if you are familiar with the story you will catch it and it is brilliant.
• Along with the main characters I loved the villain of this story. Again, not going to give it away who the villain is but it is pretty obvious who it is and despite knowing full well what is going on he still is intriguing. Think (and hopefully you’ve seen the show or comics) The Governor from The Walking Dead type of guy. Devious, deceptive, and very charming guy but beneath is a very sick guy.
What I Didn’t Like:
• The romance between two characters. I’m not going to divulge who these two characters are because I feel that would be a spoiler. Now I know that this book is supposed to be gritty and dark but come on! If you’re going to put romance in a book, or elude at it, there has to be some closure one way or another. What I feel like happened was a convenient way of closing the chapter on what happened and to move on with the story.
• The magic was confusing at times. The only reason that I put this is in both categories is because while I loved the magic I was confused by the whole system at first. It took me a good 100 pages to start to understand what was going on with the Hindsight and Foresight. This also was affected by my next point…
• The setting was a bit difficult to handle at points because I spent most of the time wondering what was happening in the rest of the world. The book primarily takes place in The City and New Charity and that works. They mentioned other towns but the whole overall aspect of the world was glossed over and I feel like that hindered my enjoyment of the two settings a little bit. I was confused if this disease was a whole world thing or just affected these two towns. This book is targeted as a “post-apocalyptic” but I don’t sense any apocalyptic type of thing other than in these two towns. Along with the magic, it confused me because I did not understand how one world could have only one town that was the last beacon of magic and only the people of this town happened to have magical powers. It didn’t really make sense to me and was one of the main reasons this book didn’t get a 5 star.
Despite what seems to be a laundry list of dislikes I genuinely liked the book. It kept me wanting more despite the flaws and that is a pretty good book in my opinion. If you’re looking for a gritty story about friendship and loss New Charity Blues is a book you should pick up!