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
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 ...
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 ...
Roses and Rot
What would you sacrifice for everything you ever dreamed of? Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, s...
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...
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...
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...
Great fantasy books published in 2011
The Crippled God
The Bonehunters march for Kolanse, led by Adjunct Tavore. This woman with no gifts of magic, deemed plain, unprepossessing, displaying nothing to instill loyalty or confide...
There's a reckoning on the way . . .. . . and Sookie has a knack for being in trouble's way; not least when she witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, ...
The Book of Transformations
Mark Charan Newton
A new and corrupt Emperor seeks to rebuild the ancient structures of Villjamur to give the people of the city hope in the face of great upheaval and an oppressing ice age. ...
The Alloy of Law
The Mistborn trilogy has become a firm favourite with fantasy fans the world over. The imagination that Sanderson brought to the series and his skill at marshalling epic st...
Cat and her cousin are key players in a drama of dragons and politics. Everyone wants something from them - including the warlord who's conquering all Europa and the Co...
City of Dragons
The dragon keepers and fledgling dragons have discovered a route to the lost city of Kelsingra but there is one problem: they need to be able to fly to cross the treacherou...
The Wise Man's Fear
Picking up the tale of Kvothe Kingkiller once again, we follow him into exile, into political intrigue, courtship, adventure, love and magic ... and further along the path ...
The Neon Court
War is coming to London. A daimyo of the Neon Court is dead and all fingers point towards their ancient enemy - The Tribe. And when magicians go to war, everyone loses. But...
The Silly Solar System
Our Solar System's a wonderful place, A collection of planets rotating through space, With the Sun at its heart, its own glowing star- ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: