Prior to going to YALC I had not read a book by Sarah Maria Griffin and didn’t follow her on Twitter. By the end of YALC I had fallen in love with Sarah, fallen in love with Other Words for Smoke and know now that I need to read every book she has written.
Two of my friends, Becky and Lauren, insisted that I read Other Words for Smoke and the second that Luchia said that I could have a copy of Other Words for Smoke they insisted that I take the book, start reading it and get it signed. I started reading the book on the Friday night and despite being exhausted each night I just had to read this book. Despite the fact I suffer from really bad motion sickness, I couldn’t resist reading OWFS on the bus to and from YALC. OWFS got me in its grip and it wouldn’t let me go until I had finished it.
Other Words for Smoke is not like any other book I’ve read before. Sarah Maria Griffin’s writing is bold and brave and unique. Her characters come alive on the page, you can almost feel them in the room with you as you read. Griffin has a unique style of writing, unlike any author I have ever read. Hearing her speak at a panel at YALC it is clear that Sarah’s voice in real life is the same as on the page. This book is all her and it is wonderful. It is a delight to hear an Irish voice in a book that is authentically written.
There is a spattering of Irish history within the book in reference to the Magdalene Laundries. I believed that it was just unmarried, pregnant women who were forced to live in these places but through this book I learned that I was wrong and gay women were subject to this awful treatment.
Other Words for Smoke is a beautiful book that weaves magic, love, fear and a coming of age story. The magic in this book is dark and and twisted, with tarot used heavily and accurately throughout. It is fantastic to see Mae, one of the main characters coming to realise her sexuality alongside her true power. This book is a deeply powerful book to read from a female perspective, using magic to tell a story of a part of Ireland’s dark past alongside women discovering their true power and their sexuality.
It is hard to delve too much into the plot without revealing an important part of the story but trust me when I say this book unravels itself slowly across the pages and takes you in its grip. You will be left thinking about the beautiful words for days afterwards and who doesn’t love a dark, witchy book that is full of powerful women and a creature the feeds on your fear and another that feeds on your love.
Sarah is also a delight and I highly recommend you go and follow her on Twitter, she certainly brightens up my feed. I’m now off to go and buy the rest of Sarah’s books.
Have you read OWFS? Did you enjoy it? Are there any other witchy books that you would recommend?