Back in August, I featured Simone Salmon and her book release, Camille and the Bears of Beisa: Drafnel on the blog. As promised, I am posting a review of the paranormal fantasy novel. (About time, I know. It’s been a hectic few months.)
Camille is an incredibly relatable character. Within a few paragraphs, I felt like I knew her personally, and I understood her motivations throughout the book. Although I can’t say I agreed with them all. She’s educated, modern, and I could picture happy hour with her would be a riot. She’s a young woman, who has an off and on again lover (what are the kids calling that these days?) but isn’t necessarily interested in committing full time right now as she has other things going on.
She finds herself drawn to a strange man she glimpses as she is moving into a new apartment with a few friends. Weird, disturbing things begin to happen, forcing her to contact her Grandmother and eventually make choices about herself, her family, and her future.
But is she really making these choices? Or is she following a pre-destined path carved out for her by her ancestors and her progeny?
Salmon is able to seamlessly weave modern day Brooklyn, 20th Century Jamaica, and the fictional, futuristic Narvinia into a fascinating time-leaping read. Camille’s grandmother’s story was so engrossing that I almost wanted her to be the heroine of the story.
In Camille, there is Caribbean folklore, shapeshifters, and multiple villains to hate. I found the book unpredictable, clever, and well-executed. Most of all, I loved that Salmon doesn’t pull any punches with what she puts her characters through, and she doesn’t talk down to the reader, either. You know you’re reading an epic fantasy. Her word choice is crisp and the voices are distinct. As I mentioned in the feature, the book has several urban settings, a matriarchal society, and a female protagonist of African descent, which I’d love to see more of.
A definite recommended read.