Book of the Month September 2019 - The Ghosts of Glenaster

"The Singer and his mistress will pay for this wickedness."

The second end of an era in one month, which both delighted and saddened me. Never say never to future revisiting of those worlds, but for now they are closed. See the review of the previous Glenaster chronicles.The Glenaster Chronicles - the Witch of Glenaster was one of the very first indie books I intentionally sought out when I began expanding my reading list, and left me both amazed in wonderment, and severely impressed in its storytelling and production. Both this series and the above give me glee (and envy) for their attentive editing, and the expert execution of the story.​


And so, The Ghosts of Glenaster continues Jonathan Mills' rich and enchanting tale of Esther Lanark, Witch-slayer, whose life since her homeland was destroyed took twists and turns no child should ever see, and whose force of will and support of (and for) those around her only grew stronger.​


"Behind him, the clouds broke of a sudden, and across the yolk of the sun a great shadow moved, swiftly and purposefully, down, down out of the sky, its claws bared like a hawk's, its eyes dark as jet, and its wings thrashing the air like a bellows..."


​The whole series has the feel of ancient epics, with prose and turns of phrase that my editing brain reads with slackened jaw only dreaming it could do as such - sigh - and the unique cast of characters and places, with their wonderfully inventive names, harks back to those Scandinavian inspired tomes. Ogilvy and his coffee addiction was fab, the seafaring adventures would not have been the same without him, and the meeting of Clara and Jonas, with it's fairly creepy old fairtytale style happenings, added more mystery and atmosphere to a book already rich in it.​


Again, it is difficult to note too many of the incidents without giving away too much of the story, but the return of Thomas Taper and the changes in Esther's life in his absence was one of the underlying themes of the story that kept getting harder to bear, for it would, eventually, require closure. The sadness with Marcus, Esther's brother, still struggling to overcome his experiences, and the fantastical Elso and his clan, diving into the fray, knowing just how stark the consequences were.​


Suffice to say, some threads woven in the series since the first book were tied up nicely, and others - sniff - were cut, to float alone into the aether.​

Now, the reason for a 4.5 and not a 5.0, which the other books have received, I would claim only as matter of personal opinion. Whilst I saw reasoning for Thomas Taper's choice in his next adventures, I could not feel the same for Esther's. It is the only thing I did not believe fitted into the narrative, and though the epilogue was still beautifully written, and the stories within it were wild and fascinating to hear, they did not settle with me as the same character, nor the choices she would make. I genuinely could not marry up the past and the future in my understanding of Esther and her world. I would note my favourite genre is dystopias so I have no expectation of happy ending rose tints for the books I read.​Despite this personal hiccup, there is nothing to deny the recommendation of this series to everyone who'll listen.


The beauty of being able to read indie authors' work is that there is no suffocation of creativity that the writers at the top receive. The heart of the stories and characters stay in the author's charge, and being able to produce work of such quality and with such love is something for which these authors should be valued and given that golden chance of their books being read, for the love of stories and not for the name of a Big 5. Jonathan Mills' Glenaster Chronicles are certainly of that ilk.

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