The Five Turns of the Wheel, by Stephanie Ellis

bookfeverdream's review against another edition

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challenging dark mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A


skysbookchat's review against another edition

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This truly a dark and twisted story that really pulled you into the blood and strangeness of the whole situation. I found it well written and descriptive, I had no problem placing myself within the story, seeing the surroundings and the events of the story as they unfolded.
I felt the sorrow and unhappy feelings of the characters as things went on and really found myself wishing for a good ending, and that maybe Mother Nature herself would step in and real back in her blood thirsty son.
I did not like the ending of this one mostly because it did not really conclude well and left things unfinished, but I am going to remain hopeful that there will be another book to follow this one, that will wrap up the events.
I give this one a 4 out of 5 stars for sure and will look forward to more from this author, and hopefully more of this story line.
If you would like to read a more in-depth and detailed version of my thoughts and opinions of this novel, please be sure to check out my book blog ...

brennanlafaro's review

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This book, wow. I previously read Bottled by Stephanie Ellis earlier this year, and therefore expected this one to have a quiet, slow-burn element to it. There are certainly some slow-building parts, but be it a positive or negative for the reader, this is a very different story from Bottled.

It begins with a poem that lays out the lore of most of what you’re about to read, setting the tone beautifully. At its heart, this book is folk horror, telling the story of sacrifice and ritual committed in the name of otherworldly creatures. When we realize these creatures may not be content to remain in the background, we make the jump to dark fantasy. The execution is pulled off with a certain subtlety one might not expect given the subject matter. Ellis begins the book setting up a world that feels plausible. It’s where a lot of the horror comes from - the idea that people like this could be up to the events of the book miles from where you sit right now. As Ellis sprinkles in fantastical elements, we never lose that sense of reality. Rather she brings the horrors to us rather than taking us to them.

The structure of the book is one of its stronger suits. From the outset, from the title even, we understand the book will contain five events leading to the climax. Between each event, which are described in brutal and unflinching detail, we gain a deeper understanding of how Tommy, Fiddler, and Betty operate, as well as following the growing concern on the minds of our main characters. Ellis makes the motivations clear, allowing the reader a crystal-clear glimpse into the decisions being made. I didn’t find myself particularly attached to Liza or Megan, but I was able to sympathize with their circumstances.

I’ve mentioned this already, but if you’re on the fence about this book, the juxtaposition of folk horror with dark fantasy alone is worth the price of admission. I’m still reeling from some of the more graphic rituals put on display. They’re written in a manner that doesn’t allow the reader to look away and the first is unexpected. So much so that I had to rewind to the top of the page and try again. Make sure I got it straight. When it happens again, you’re still caught off-guard. For a deeply disturbing read, you can’t go wrong with The Five Turns of the Wheel.

I received a copy from the publisher for review consideration