Ajjiit by Sean A Tinsley and Rachel A Qitsualik
Ajjiit means “likenesses” because that’s what this book represents: a collection of original short stories written in the tradition of Inuit folklore. According to the book’s introduction, the authors are “not retelling any pre-existent Inuit stories; not playing the role of mythologists, but only of writers.” In drawing upon the surreal trappings of Inuit myths and the spiritual philosophy of Arctic shamanism, co-authors Sean A. Tinsley and Rachel A. Qitsualik have created a work that walks the boundary between genres: part fantasy, part ancient myth, part horror. Here are stories about beings human and supernatural, using magic and a rich knowledge of the frozen landscape they inhabit to combat dark forces that threaten their lives.
All manner of demons and mythic folk populate these short, dense tales, but the stories I enjoyed most featured human characters, such as “Oil,” a haunting piece about a shamanic woman trying to leave her abusive husband. More of these stories could have benefited from the down-to-earth realism present in “Oil,” as reading this book is like solving a complicated logic puzzle. All the pieces of good narrative are there, but they are told (rather than shown) to us in such unconventional ways that we must work hard to understand what is going on and keep all the cross-references straight. Contributing to the opacity of the stories is the writing itself. Given the chance to embellish vague mythic concepts, the authors of Ajjiit maintain a serious, formal style appropriate to ancient epics or classic high fantasy. Some of the descriptions are precise but too complex (think The Lord of the Rings).
Is Ajjiit a unique and enjoyable book? Absolutely. Would simpler diction make it a better reading experience? Yes, it would. The tone is also appropriately dark and even gory throughout, reinforced by Andrew Trabbold’s black and white illustrations, which are beautifully rendered but decidedly creepy. I realize this is a matter of personal preference, however, and other readers may appreciate these legitimate artistic choices better than I. Despite its shortcomings, Ajjiit is a fascinating and original work that seeks to eliminate genre barriers and tap into the dreamlike sensibilities that lie at the root of humanity’s storytelling tradition. Readers of dark fantasy and horror with an interest in Arctic mythology should pick up this book. It’s a partial success for me, but I hope Ajjiit is only the first of many books in a new genre of reinvented and revitalized folklore.
This Ajjiit book review was written by Marysia Kosowski
Have you read Ajjiit?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Ajjiit reader reviews
7/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Chatwin has visions of a parallel world where a couple are fleeing some terrible event pursued by an enemy and are seeking a gate to freedom. Chatwin is the gate, and when ...
Deep within the wildwood lies a place of myth and mystery, from which few return, and none remain unchanged. Ryhope Wood may look like a three-mile-square fenced-in wood in...
Catherynne M Valente
Sei, November, Ludov, and Oleg -- four people unknown to each other but united by grief and their obsession with the city of Palimpsest. Located beyond the human realm, Pal...
When Grendel is drawn up from the caves under the mere, where he lives with his bloated, inarticulate hag of a mother, into the fresh night air, it is to lay waste Hrothgar...
On the day the world ends... Mau is on his way home from the Boys' Island. Soon he will be a man. And then the wave comes - a huge wave, dragging black night behind it ...
The Rabbit Back Literature Society
Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen
Only very special people are chosen by children's author Laura White to join 'The Society', an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a te...
While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya. The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient...
The Silmarillion provides the background to Middle-earth, the setting of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. It is an account of the Elder Days; the First Age when Morgot...
In the depths of Broceliande - an ancient French woodland - Merlin and the enchantress Vivien play out their deadly feud. Meanwhile, a child is born deaf, dumb and blind. H...
Maria and the Devil
The Devil has ridden out. Montana’s most feared outlaw has left his secret lover, Maria, alone in their secluded house deep in the wilds. If he had known that she was...
Fifteen-year-old Wulliam is dreading taking up his family's mantle of Riverkeep, tending the river and fishing corpses from its treacherous waters. But then everything ...
The House of the Stag
It begins with a tragedy. Before the Riders came to their remote valley, the Yendri led a tranquil pastoral life. When the Riders conquered and enslaved them, only a few es...
Charm is a beautifully illustrated re-telling of the Cinderella story which takes all the much-loved elements of the classic fairytale (the handsome prince, the fairy godmo...
The Last Quarrel
Gaelland is a nation gripped by fear. In the country, fishing boats return with their crews mysteriously vanished, while farms are left empty, their owners gone into the ni...
Trojan War Trilogy
Three lives will change the destiny of nations. Helikaon, the young prince of Dardania, haunted by a scarred and traumatic childhood. The priestess Andromache, whose fiery ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
Downfall of the Gods
If you visit the Temple and ask nicely for forgiveness, you might get it - assuming you aren't Lord Archias and you haven't killed the Goddess's favorite musician,...
Huginn and Muninn, the Eyes of Thought and Mind; Freyr the Blade that stands alone; Mjolnir, Thunder, strength and devastator. Gods bloodied and wounded, that live and die. Ta...
Long before she was the Queen of Hearts, Catherine Pinkerton was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a fa...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her alone. Garbled warnings from bizarre creatures keep her up at night. And there’s a time portal in the keg room of the bar where she works. Soon, Hallie is tumbling through...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...