“Voodoo Academy” by Theophilus Monroe.

If space and horses get their own operatic genre, then surely the occult should have one of its own, and “Voodoo Academy” would be a perfect example. Let’s call it “Phantom Opera.” Lightweight in style but with a good blend of humour and serious conflict, and nothing too philosophical. Slightly stereotyped characters. Although, to be fair, in the metaphysical world “archetype” would be a better word. We do have our traditions to follow.

This work stands out because of its complicated plotline. Conflicting magical orders and styles make it pretty much impossible to follow the whys and wherefores in detail because the action moves so fast. Which is not a bad thing. When a character is about to make a misstep, there’s always someone there to say, “No, that won’t work,” and the reader learns to accept it and move on. Nitpicking the plotline is counterproductive, because this book is meant for people who want the action to be snappy.

The only element that gives us time to breathe is the large amount of dialogue that involves smart and suggestive teenage repartee. Which, I suppose, teenagers of a certain age will find witty and titillating. Let’s just say that this book goes a long way towards dispelling the notion that teenage boys are the only ones totally absorbed by the physical aspects of the alternate gender(s).

But the characters act true to their characters. The good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, and…oops, there are even bad guys that just might be good and vice versa, just to keep our interest up. The love story is nicely complicated (the main character shares her body with another person, and their tastes in men are quite different) so that drives the conflict at a different level.

This is not enduring literature, but it’s a great story for fans of the modern occult, especially teenagers who find the world complicated and wish for simple solutions to their emotional problems.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)





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