By Johnny Worthen
Omnium Gatherum, 2013
Dr. Julian Cormac has just been released into outpatient care after a supposed psychotic episode during the pursuit of his second doctoral thesis project. The project? To create and summon a new demon, adapting methods from ancient grimoires, a demon made of love. He’s doing his best to put his mind and his life back together with the help of his ragtag coven and his recently divorced, equally shattered sister, Molly. This would be difficult enough if it weren’t for the fact that the demon, Beatrysel, is still killing, under instructions he’s not entirely sure aren’t his own.
There are a few brief lulls in which characters rehash old information perhaps one time too many.
Beatrysel is one hell of a trip, and I’m so happy to get to share this review while there’s still time to pick it up for October reading! Julian is as magnetic on the page as his magick makes him in his own universe. His struggle with the stigma of madness and his dangerous addiction to Beatrysel, set parallel to Molly’s rocky grieving process, perfectly capture the sensations of both psychological damage and healing.
The story’s magick is portrayed with knowledgeable reverence that real world practitioners of all paths will appreciate, without sacrificing general accessibility, and all the many lurking evils in the story, from the sickeningly lifelike callousness of Julian’s reprehensible family psychiatrist to the primal yet otherworldly power of Beatrysel, are penetratingly, unrelentingly chilling.
The atmosphere and the characters cling to me as I write this more than a week after finishing. I’d go so far as to call it a leave-the-lights-on read.