A paranormal novel? Check. Witchcraft? Check. Voodoo witchcraft? Double check. Seriously people. Want to talk about being blown away? Let me introduce you to my new friend Camille Faye.
A few months ago, I met Camille through a mutual writers organization we are both a part of. We only live an hour away from each other, yet I had no idea she existed until recently! Camille hit the scene in a big way a few month ago with her 'official' release of Voodoo Butterfly. You guys all know that I love working with debut authors, but how did Camille's novel rank for me? You'll be glad to know 'somewhere close to the top'!
Sophie Nouveau was probably one of the best female characters I have read this year. She was extremely intelligent, rational, logical, and only slightly paranoid! Haha! When Sophie's life is suddenly changed following the death of a grandmother she had no idea existed, Sophie is whisked away from her 'safe' life in St. Louis, Missouri and transported down to 'The Big Easy" where all kinds of chaos ensues. Taking over her grandmothers Voodoo shop, becoming the next head Mind Changer, and finding love are all in store for Sophie in this 300+ page novel!
First, I would like to discuss the genre categorization for this novel. Several people are placing it well within the romance category. I have an issue with that. Sure there is a romance in this story, but it is not a romance novel, in my honest opinion. You could read Voodoo Butterfly and completely remove the romance portion of the book and still have a very full story. I'm getting really tired of novels getting labeled as romance, just because two people happen to fall in love. In my opinion, this one falls squarely into the supernatural-paranormal category.
The themes present in Voodoo Butterfly are numerous. From family ties, to overcoming hesitation, to coming to terms with your past, to forgiveness, acceptance, and spirituality, Camille Faye covers a vast array of topics. I strongly believe that there is something in this novel for everyone. Family plays a huge role in this story. Sophie travels to New Orleans to attend the funeral of her grandmother (that she never actually met) and has to suddenly come to terms that she missed out on a very important upbringing when she discovers that her grandmother was a prominent Voodoo priestess. What a world to fall in to, right? Sophie, straight laced and no-nonsense, balks at the idea of Voodoo magic being legitimate, but in the end has to succumb and find a way to wrap her mind around this phenomena!
Something you never, or seldom, see in a supernatural/paranormal novel is the presence of religion. And I'm not talking about mythological or satanic religion (because those are numerous in this genre), but full blown Catholicism/Christianity. I think one of the neatest parts of this book was how Camille actually made it a big point to take the time and do the research necessary to show to all of us the truth behind voodoo religious practices in New Orleans. It isn't all worshiping and making sacrifices to deities unknown, Christianity has played a major role in the development of that culture. Camille did an excellent job at portraying that history and mysterious tone that it often includes! A Catholic priest serves as one of the most important secondary characters, who would have thought? Definitely not something you see every day.
When it comes to writing about magic, you have to be careful. There are so many literary and historical nuances you have to be aware of. As previously stated, Camille has clearly done her research. By the time I finished Voodoo Butterfly, I was a believer, for sure! From gris-gris, to potions, to voodoo dolls, Camille has it all covered in such a way that really brings the reader into the world of Voodoo!
As per the plot. Here I have much to say, but I will refrain from any spoilers. It is a bit hard to follow at times. There is such beautiful imagery that I found myself getting lost in the description and the essence, but then not paying as close attention to what was happening in the story. You have to be careful, once you close your eyes, you're in New Orleans, and trust me, once you're there, it's hard to get out! As long as you read this story meticulously and capture everything Camille is trying to say, you will enjoy it as much as I did! The characters are spot on, and there are even a few huge plot twists. Nothing completely uncalled for, by any means, but definitely enough to keep you on the edge of your seat!
With Sophie learning to come into her new powers comes many trials, as you can imagine. I don't feel like Camille made Sophie's journey unbelievable by any means. It was written to near perfection. Far too often I read about people being introduced into a paranormal world and they just "accept" it. Not Sophie, well... not easily, anyway. It take a lot to make a believer out of Sophie. Being a proud native of the 'Show-Me State', Sophie needs all the proof she can get!
The end of the novel did take a major turn. It went from slightly paranormal to full on. I can't explain what happens for fear of spoiling the novel, but trust me, you will want to be sure to read all the way until the end. The emotional scenes in the end really brought the story home for me.
The ending also really leaves the story open for more installments in this series. The epilogue, while a little cheesy, pretty much solidifies the fact that there are more books on the way! I am excited to see what Camille Faye has in store for Sophie and the gang in the future!
All-in-all, I was completely blown away by this debut novel from Camille Faye. It isn't often these days that I find a book that I cannot put down, this, however, was definitely one of those. That being said, I am granting Voodoo Butterfly by Camille Faye a near-perfect 5-star review. An excellent debut novel from an author I know we will see great things from in the future. From cover to cover I believe this novel will appeal to fans across genres and of all ages. In need a a read that's a little different from the norm? I definitely highly recommend this one! Kudos to you Camille Faye!