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The Ballerina and the Revolutionary - Carmilla Voiez

What is it?

Ghost Story / Urban Fantasy / Mystical 

Rating: 4 out 5 - Very Good

Paul Grover

UK Author Writing Space Adventure

Boom! Five stars straight off the Molotov!


Best tell you why.


The Ballerina and the Revolutionary sits for me somewhere between a ghost story and an urban fantasy.


As a ghost story - there are ghosts in the traditional sense but this tale concentrates more on how the past haunts the present.  We are all haunted by something, we all have our own ghosts and I think Crows story is as much about understanding the past and its influence on the present.  So while there is an element of supernatural haunting it’s very subtle and very much used to support the idea of a haunted past.


As an urban fantasy, the present-day story takes place in Bristol in an ordinary setting, yet this world is linked to the dream world...via a door opened by a Shamen. The blend of the mundane and the mystical is seamless and well written.  


I really want to talk about Crow and a little of how the story comes to be.  Crow was born Giselle, but now ze’s Crow – a gender queer street activist living in London.  Crow’s brother Tomas contacts them to say Vivienne (the ballerina of this tale), their mother is ill in hospital.


Crow returns to Bristol and stays in Vivienne’s house, a house full of memories – some good, some bad.


That’s all I’m going to tell you. If you want to know more, read it.


Crow is one of those characters you have immediate empathy with,  well drawn and very likeable. the more you learn of them, the more you like them.  I really detected a sense of fluidity in Crow’s voice sometimes ze’s more Giselle than Crow and other times Crow is Crow.  I think at the heart of their journey Crow and Giselle are trying to understand who they are and may be why. 


Besides Crow we have a host of well drawn of supporting characters – Scott the Shaman, Clive (who reminds me of Withnail’s Uncle Monty) and Chrissie (I really liked Chrissie!).


Then there is Tomas and Cathy.  Tomas is Crow’s brother, Cathy his wife.  Cathy is the total opposite to Crow – a typical suburban bore (you know the sort – has dinner parties and talks about house prices).  Again it’s another reflection on the authors skills that Cathy can be so dislikable!


Due to time I had to read over several weeks and had a few breaks in between.  Whenever I picked up I could drop back and pick up the story.  I think this show what a great job the author has done in crafting the story – when I was away I always wanted to get back.


Besides this great flow I really felt the scenes had great description and drew me in.  The author can provide just enough words to evoke a sense of place that seeds your imagination.  There is a scene early on where Crow encounters Scott – I felt I was there, I could see the sunlight and feel the warmth of the day.  Just brilliant.


I think I read the final half of this book in a day; I wanted to know what lay at the end of the journey and the end is worth it.