Publication date: September 21st, 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads S et in Colonial New England, Slewfoot is a tale of magic and mystery, o...

Review || Slewfoot by Brom

Publication date: September 21st, 2021

Set in Colonial New England, Slewfoot is a tale of magic and mystery, of triumph and terror as only dark fantasist Brom can tell it.

Connecticut, 1666.

An ancient spirit awakens in a dark wood. The wildfolk call him Father, slayer, protector.

The colonists call him Slewfoot, demon, devil.

To Abitha, a recently widowed outcast, alone and vulnerable in her pious village, he is the only one she can turn to for help.

Together, they ignite a battle between pagan and Puritan – one that threatens to destroy the entire village, leaving nothing but ashes and bloodshed in their wake.

"If it is a devil you seek, then it is a devil you shall have!"

There's been a lot of hype around Slewfoot and history has not often been nice to me where hyped books are concerned. I more often than not find that the books that others are raving about are just...okay. A lot of the time I even end up DNF'ing. That's why with trepidation, I started Slewfoot. Y'all. I could NOT put this one down. I was lucky enough to get it as an audiobook and I highly recommend that if you plan on reading it, that you experience the audiobook. Barrie Kreinik does a marvelous job bringing all the character voices to life. 

Abitha, having been sold for a paltry amount by her father, comes to the colonies to start a new life with her equally new husband. Her husband, Edward is a good man and though it's a hard life, Abitha does well. Unbeknownst to Edward, his brother who co-owns the farm has been gambling and has substantial debts. Even though Edward only has one more payment to his brother until he owns the land, they are at risk of losing the farm to pay his brother's debts while his own farm is safe from harm.  After chasing a lost goat into the woods, Abitha stumbles onto something that has been sleeping and now it's time for it to awake. 

I adored Abitha's character. She's headstrong and cusses like a sailor yet at the same time, tries her best to fit in with the Puritans even though she finds the lifestyle extremely restricting. She could have laid down and given up but she decided to make the best of a bad situation. She honestly cares for Edward, even if she doesn't think that he loves her in the way she yearns to be. I wanted so much for her to succeed in everything that is thrown at her. Even after meeting this goat-like entity, what does she do? Names it Samson and befriends it. 

Samson aka Slewfoot on the other hand was a mystery to me. Not a surprise considering Samson is a mystery to himself. Is he a demon? Devil? Is he slayer or protector...or perhaps a bit of both? I couldn't decide if I liked him or not in the beginning and was very suspicious of his motives. As the story progressed, I grew to admire him as well, though a big part of me ached for him in his tormented confusion and loss of self. 

Brom weaves this folktale masterfully around the reader. Of course, in every good tale, there's a villain and Brom gives us a despicable putrid piece of trash to loathe and despise. Oh and how! Edward's brother is self-serving and contemptible. You love to hate him and even when you think you can't possibly abhor him more, he manages another slimy and underhanded action. 

Slewfoot is a slow burn. Brom has to set the scene, transporting you back to 1666 Connecticut. We are given plenty of time to discover the characters and to empathize with their plights. The world surrounding them is hard and cruel enough when you know who and what you are but without this knowledge, even more so. Somewhere in the middle, the plot stalls to a mere plod, but stick with it. By the end of the novel, you are cheering Abitha and Samson on, which is the highest compliment of characterization. 

I don't want to give too many details away, but Slewfoot turns the typical good vs. evil trope on its head. If you are thinking, where's the horror? Where's the blood? Patience, friend. Brom is a virtuoso of revenge and equalization and will have you howling for blood and judgment in the final chapters. I promise you will relish every drop of retribution that rains down upon their heads. Slewfoot is spectacularly dark and ruminative and most delightfully witchy. This one tops my favorite reads list easily this year, making me wish I could read it for the very first time all over again. It's a spellbinding and captivating tale.