Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest

I have to admit that I bought this book solely for the John Jude Palencar cover last year. It’s been sitting on my shelf ever since then and I didn’t know if I’d ever read it, but I am beyond glad that I did. I discovered a true gem hidden in my TBR shelves with this one.

Cherie Priest is an author that’s new to me. I’ve known her name for awhile now, but I never knew anything of hers. Four and Twenty Blackbirds is her first novel and I can only imagine the stellar future that she has in front of her when it comes to novels if she keeps this up.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds is southern gothic/horror at it’s absolute best. It’s a rich, dark, atmospheric ghost story that hooks you from the beginning and only gets better as the pages quickly turn. The story is set in Chattanooga, Tennessee as well as the swamps of Florida and Georgia. It centers around Eden Moore and her ancestry, a past that goes back many generations into all sorts of spiritual abilities and dark magic.

Eden has been haunted by three ghosts, three sisters since she was a young girl and it is Eden herself that tells us this tale. As a child she feared the three sisters but as she grew older she came to see them as her guardians. As an adult, Eden soon learns that they may indeed have to guard her from what looms ahead. For there is old magic in the family that is still alive today. There are questions to be answered that Eden still doesn’t know the answers to and the only way to get them is to literally confront the ghosts of her family’s past. And there are formidable challenges that she’ll face, both physical and magical, in getting there.

The feel of this book reminded me so much of Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour, and that’s a huge compliment coming from me as that’s one of my favorite books. It’s by no means a rip off of The Witching Hour, but it has that same creepy southern gothic feel to it that I just fall in love with and can’t get enough of. Priest is an extraordinary writer and I can’t tell you how excited I am to learn that this is the first book in a series of Eden Moore books! I’ll be getting the second one very shortly!

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20 Responses

  1. Creepy southern gothic? Now I really want this one to magically appear on my nightstand!! And I’m sure Borders doesn’t have it…

  2. well aren’t we just running thru the RIP books! sheesh! One more and your done and it’s weeks before October is here!
    It looks like there are a few more books by Priest for you to devour!!

  3. A feel similar to The Witching Hour? I’m totally sold. Why must you do this to me, Chris? πŸ˜› I ordered Gossamer, btw….I hope you’re happy πŸ˜›

  4. so, Chris.. are you happy??

    lol lol.. Nymeth’s comment cracked me up!

  5. Sounds good!

  6. It doesn’t sound like the kind of book I’d enjoy, but I do like the cover! I’m a big fan of John Jude Palencar.

  7. Eva, I hope it does magically appear there soon! And you’re right…Borders probably won’t have it :p

    Deslily, I’m sure I’ll slow down soon now that I have to go back to work 😦 But I’m going to try to keep up the tempo! There are two more books out in this series so that makes me extremely happy!

    Nymeth, Very similar to The Witching Hour! It has that same haunting southern feel to it that I just love. And yes, I’m extremely happy by the way :p

    Deslily again, Of course I’m happy! :p I love it when I can get people to read some great books….I just hate it when they do it to me, lol.

    Other Chris, It’s great!

    Jeane, The cover is just incredible. I’m a big fan of Palencar’s work too. He has an art book out called Origins that I really want!

  8. The cover is pretty cool! I’ll have to add this to my wishlist.

  9. I’ll have to see if it’s at the library. And I’ve been trying so hard to be good too….

  10. I just won this on eBay (Quixotic recommended it). Can’t wait to read it…

  11. Been spending too much time in my cave again, I’m afraid. I don’t recall ever hearing of Cherie Priest. But this really does sound great! And I love Chattanooga, so that makes it sound like even more fun! You’re just whipping through the RIP reads, aren’t you?

  12. This sounds great, been added straight to my amazon wishlist

  13. Sold : “The feel of this book reminded me so much of Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour”! I love Anne Rice and agree this is a huge comliment. Off to track down a copy now and will send you the bill πŸ˜‰

  14. This sounds great, Chris – I’m putting it in my pool for RIP III right now. Thanks!

  15. I’ve got all three books and according to my parents, the 2nd one is even better than the first!!. They’re reading the third one, “Not Flesh nor Feathers” right now. She’s got a new one being released from Subterranean Press soon that also sounds absolutely fabulous, it’s not an Eden Moore book tho.

    Having visited the Chattanooga area quite a bit, it was a pleasure that she captured the area’s flavor so well. That was actually the main reason i purchased the first book. Hopefully she has a long and prolific career ahead of her!

    You can get the books quite cheaply on Amazon.com if you buy the used section, I think i gave $1.98 + $3.00 shipping and handling each for the first two books.

  16. Yes, dammit, I know!!! I need to read these books! I think the fact that there are, what, four of them? has scared me away in the past. I need to get over that. I too have loved them for a long time because of the Palencar covers and I’ve been to Cherie Priest’s blog numerous times and find her to be very fun…even if I don’t always agree with her thoughts on films we’ve both seen!

  17. Books 2,3,4, and 5 now to add to my list, and it’s only Monday! I thought I was going to be okay……now I’m like Eva, I want these books to magically appear on my shelves so I can start reading them as soon as I’m done The Terror and The Harrowing. I must get these books, they sound so good and creepy and perfect and what I love. And the cover looks beautiful too. Ok, back to The Terror. I had to take a short break because the tension is getting too much and I think one of the characters i really like is about to die!

  18. PS I am now actively looking for The October Tree, hoping to find it lurking in a bookstore before the challenge ends. I really want to read it to my kids for Hallowe’en!

  19. I can’t believe I haven’t commented on this review till now. Shocking!

    Anyway, I am so pleased you loved this one! I knew you would really. πŸ™‚ I think you will like the next one too, but I have a feeling you may enjoy the third book the most – I know I did!

  20. […] Wings to the Kingdom by Cherie Priest – after reading Four and Twenty Blackbirds, there was no way I could NOT read more in this series. Had to get it […]

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