Book Reviews

Book Review: Symphony for the Devil by Marcus James

This book was reviewed for Manhattan Book Review


Explicit sexual situations


Storythreads spanning generations, and eras, come together in this neo-gothic work by Marcus James. Symphony for the Devil is a  novel of the mysterious, the supernatural, and the wondrous, both magickal and mundane. It is a tale of lasting legacy, and a cursed family. At present, the Blackmoore family curse is held abay, but proper homage must be paid. This is the second book in the Blackmoore Legacy series, and I would recommend reading them in order!


This tale revolves around several of the Blackmoore clan. There are Trevor and Braxton, far-distant cousins, and lovers. There is Mary-Margaret, another distant cousin, come from Ireland to go to university in the States. She is staying with Mabel, another of the clan, in a grand old home. Mary-Margaret is quite out of touch with her extended family’s views on their gifts. She is blindly religious, and steps on many toes by condemning the gift, and Trevor and Braxton’s relationship. There is Kathryn and Francesca, working to improve the family standing and fortunes. And there is Michael Donovan, the spectral violinist.


This is a long novel, with lots going on. I particularly liked Donovan’s storythread. Violins enchant me, as do those who play them. I admit, it was the cover that drew my attention to this work, precisely because of the violin. But the cover works well for the story as a whole.


James does a masterful job of keeping the threads together in the complex storyweaving. I loved the themes of tolerance throughout, and the not-so-subtle chastisement of organised religion’s persecution of things ‘different’. Kathryn had a great point with the quote:


   “God is not the church, and you cannot find him in there. God is in each and every single one of us, and if you believe that God is perfect, and that God doesn’t make mistakes, then you have to believe that each and every single person on this planet is exactly how God planned them to be.”


I love that quote, and feel its truth.


Another proofing would not be amiss, and a bit more showing vs telling is recommended. There is a lot of narrative vs dialogue here, and a lot of description, which is good, though sometimes it felt stifling to the story. Great amounts of narrative makes sense, as a descendent of the same lineage that gave us such classics as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Also, lotta use of pronouns, though I was able to suss out who was speaking/ being referred to, etc. I look forward to seeing James’ continue to grow as an author!


???? Recommended. So reminded me of Grimm and Sleepy Hollow. The shows, that is. And Supernatural.

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