June 26, 2013

Rabid Reads: "The Firefly Witch" by Alex Bledsoe

The Firefly Witch
by Alex Bledsoe
self-published (2012)
46 pages
Available via AMAZON 

Aside from being a talented novelist, Alex Bledsoe can spin a yarn of the short variety, too. The Firefly Witch presents three short stories that feature a small-town reporter recounting how he met and fell in love with a witch. Bewitched it is not.

Ry is working on a story for the paper and is introduced to a blind woman named Tanna who studies parapsychology. He's smitten with her from the get-go, and she's quite taken with him as well, due in no small part to the fact that she sees him during their first meeting. It turns out her blindness is a unique condition, where her sight returns to her while near fireflies--hence the title of the stories. With each story, Ry and Tanna work together investigating paranormal occurrences, all while their romantic relationship evolves.

"The Chill in the Air Wakes the Ghosts in the Ground" kicks things off with their first encounter, as Ty is tasked with writing a story on the blind witch working at West Tennessee University. From there, she confides in him about her coven being blamed for some vandalism that's happened at one of the local cemeteries, and convinces him to help her find out who is responsible. A charming story, but with some rough patches in the dialogue, I thought.

"Lost and Found" introduces the viewpoint of Tanna by way of journal entries, as she and Ry investigate what she believes is the world's first ghost. This story was particularly interesting because of the premise of who the ghost might be and the history behind the person. The switching in viewpoint was a little distracting, jumping from Ry's first person narrative to Tanna's diary, but still a really good story to up the ante.

"The Darren Stevens Club" takes a little more personal approach to the characters and brings Ry even further into Tanna's spiritual world when a ghost manages to haunt her from the inside. Not exactly a showstopper, but this third story really helped solidify the universe in which Bledsoe is playing and forges the bond between the two characters.

A fascinating little fantasy romance series here, and there are even more stories released in three-packs that I see when I browsed the Kindle Store (I assume they're for sale with other online outlets, too), of which I've purchased the next collection. I like Bledsoe's writing and the way he deftly blends the magical and the mundane. These first three stories are earlier works and are a little rough around the edges compared to his most recent efforts, but they're still worth checking out.

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