Lydia Trinket, in addition to possessing what may possibly be the best name ever for a spirit banisher, is a spirit banisher. She knows a spell to help along the dearly departed who aren’t quite departed enough and are making trouble for the residents of the houses which they haven’t departed from. The spell involves an incantation and a switchel ring, which is a kind of canteen for a drink, the canteen usually made out of redware pottery, and a bowl in which a fire must be kept going during the incantation, and some personal object of meaning to the non-departed. At the end of the incantation, the troublesome spirit is sucked into the canteen which is a portal to the hereafter.
Nothing had ever come out of the switchel ring before. Nothing could come out of it. As far as I knew, as far as I’d always known, it was a one-way portal, an express train for reluctant travelers. You could use it to get to the afterlife, but the afterlife couldn’t use it to get to you.
Lydia and her brother Nat were both spirit banishers, until Nat was killed by what turned out to be not only a troublesome spirit, but a fiend, and we all know just how horrible they can be. He left behind a young son, and because he was gay and partnered with Charlie, I now forget just how he ended up with a son, but Lydia is now living with Charlie and the son, helping to raise him.
In an incantation gone awry, Lydia gets sucked into the switchel ring herself, and finds out that there is a whole world in there, and that it is not exactly a portal to another afterlife. She meets a recent suckee, who shows her the ropes around the place, helps protect her from those awful fiend creatures, and she eventually discovers how to exit the canteen, whereupon she is now purposefully trying to get yet another awful creature into the canteen, rescue the one dead guy who doesn’t deserve to be there, and getting herself into some darn bloody scrapes. Eeeeuuuu.
Not sure what genre this is exactly. Horror? Not quite. Magic and ghosts abound. Paranormal? Maybe. Dark and noir-y? Well, yes, a tad, what with biting off her finger and all. Humorous? OK, not laugh-out-loud funny, but humorous nonetheless.
Like the blurb says: it turns out that resting in peace isn’t really a thing.
Bottom line? Loved it. Don’t know why, exactly. Well, I’ve got a thing for ghosts, incantations, spells, and have a personal growing list of candidates I sure would like to banish into a switchel ring. Maybe that’s why.