Cover Image: Slewfoot


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Wow! I have been captivated by Brom's writing since aThe Child Thief and this book was no exception. I do have a bit of a soft spot for witches, so when the chance to read this came up on NetGalley, I jumped on it.

Brom always weaves tales of magic and darkness. In this we follow a woman who is the classic "modern woman" thrown into a Puritanical lifestyle. Her life is set for her, however outside sources keep forcing her to become something that she is not.

We also follow another character. A forest spirit, reawakening. The spirit is at first confused about his place in the world and stumbles along attempting to regain what he's lost, memories, who he is and what happened to him.

I've said it a million times that I am a sucker for the Fae and this book ties Fae magic with witchcraft and devils and demons aren't what you think they are. This book examines religion in a way that I find entirely fascinating.

I will be purchasing a physical copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
This book was eerily spooky. The whole puritan society is terrifying. And I found them more scary than the scary creatures. Was that the point? Perhaps. Abetha goes from this strong bad ass woman to an even strong badder ass woman. I loved that she wasn’t seen as meek to strong. But always strong in spite of the world she lives in. 

The creepiest part for me was when (SPOILERS) the girls and women started to freak out and call Abitha a witch. All at once. Showing how vulnerable their psyches are in the face of the patriarchy and they BS
Was this review helpful?
There's been a lot of hype around Slewfoot and history has not often been nice to me where hyped books are concerned. I more often than not find that the books that others are raving about are just...okay. A lot of the time I even end up DNF'ing. That's why with trepidation, I started Slewfoot. Y'all. I could NOT put this one down. I was lucky enough to get it as an audiobook and I highly recommend that if you plan on reading it, that you experience the audiobook. Barrie Kreinik does a marvelous job bringing all the character voices to life. 

Abitha, having been sold for a paltry amount by her father, comes to the colonies to start a new life with her equally new husband. Her husband, Edward is a good man and though it's a hard life, Abitha does well. Unbeknownst to Edward, his brother who co-owns the farm has been gambling and has substantial debts. Even though Edward only has one more payment to his brother until he owns the land, they are at risk of losing the farm to pay his brother's debts while his own farm is safe from harm.  After chasing a lost goat into the woods, Abitha stumbles onto something that has been sleeping and now it's time for it to awake. 

I adored Abitha's character. She's headstrong and cusses like a sailor yet at the same time, tries her best to fit in with the Puritans even though she finds the lifestyle extremely restricting. She could have laid down and given up but she decided to make the best of a bad situation. She honestly cares for Edward, even if she doesn't think that he loves her in the way she yearns to be. I wanted so much for her to succeed in everything that is thrown at her. Even after meeting this goat-like entity, what does she do? Names it Samson and befriends it. 

Samson aka Slewfoot on the other hand was a mystery to me. Not a surprise considering Samson is a mystery to himself. Is he a demon? Devil? Is he slayer or protector...or perhaps a bit of both? I couldn't decide if I liked him or not in the beginning and was very suspicious of his motives. As the story progressed, I grew to admire him as well, though a big part of me ached for him in his tormented confusion and loss of self. 

Brom weaves this folktale masterfully around the reader. Of course, in every good tale, there's a villain and Brom gives us a despicable putrid piece of trash to loathe and despise. Oh and how! Edward's brother is self-serving and contemptible. You love to hate him and even when you think you can't possibly abhor him more, he manages another slimy and underhanded action. 

Slewfoot is a slow burn. Brom has to set the scene, transporting you back to 1666 Connecticut. We are given plenty of time to discover the characters and to empathize with their plights. The world surrounding them is hard and cruel enough when you know who and what you are but without this knowledge, even more so. Somewhere in the middle, the plot stalls to a mere plod, but stick with it. By the end of the novel, you are cheering Abitha and Samson on, which is the highest compliment of characterization. 

I don't want to give too many details away, but Slewfoot turns the typical good vs. evil trope on its head. If you are thinking, where's the horror? Where's the blood? Patience, friend. Brom is a virtuoso of revenge and equalization and will have you howling for blood and judgment in the final chapters. I promise you will relish every drop of retribution that rains down upon their heads. Slewfoot is spectacularly dark and ruminative and most delightfully witchy. This one tops my favorite reads list easily this year, making me wish I could read it for the very first time all over again. It's a spellbinding and captivating tale.
Was this review helpful?
This dark tale of witches, spirits, and the hubris of men is a bone chilling callback to traditional folktales in all the best ways. It has the eerie quality that only stories set in the colonial era have, yet explores a much broader spiritual lore than most books of this type. Brom masterfully weaves modern themes and ideas into a more traditional folk writing style to create a haunting piece that feels simultaneously historical and new. 

The story centers around Abitha, a young woman from London who was sold into marriage by her father and shipped off to live in the Puritan village of Sutton. Despite the circumstances of their marriage, Edward and Abitha form a deep bond. They do not love each other in the way that lovers do, but they are still each other’s closest friend and confident. I was struck by how quickly the nature and importance of this complex relationship was established before Edward’s death at the beginning of the book. Abitha struggles with this loss and is haunted by Edward’s memory in ways that feel real, complicated, and tragic. It creates a far different tone than I was expecting and added a lot more depth to an otherwise straightforward premise.

Abitha’s character feels surprisingly authentic and relatable despite the reliance on some tropes to shape her character. Since the premise is about her being independent in a strictly male dominated society, she is of course portrayed as being outspoken, stubborn, and short tempered. She is even given red hair to drive home the point! Thankfully, the trope is only used to make Abitha stand out as a relatable character in an otherwise cold and distant society. In the times that Abitha does lose her way, it is in small ways that are expected for people in her situation. There are very few moments that feel over the top or unreasonable, which allows the reader to sympathize with Abitha and root for her. However, despite all she has going for her, Abitha is not made immune to the harsh world she is part of.

If you are looking for an uplifting tale of female power, this is probably not the book for you. There are some very powerful feminist moments, but poor Abitha struggles HARD in this book. Though there are some breakthroughs, success for Abitha never lasts. Even when success does come, you are left wondering if it is really something to be celebrated. The constant questioning makes the story intriguing and dark, but also means it lacks the true sense of satisfaction and righteousness some might hope for. 

Unfortunately, the depth of Abitha’s character is not shared by Samson or the Wild Folk. These spirits are introduced to us at the beginning of the story and it is immediately clear that there is a lot more to Samson than what we, or he, knows. Having woken without his memories, Samson’s journey is to rediscover his true nature  while the Wild Folk seem hesitant for him to do so. It is clear that there is a lot happening just beyond our understanding. Though the book provides some answers, they are sudden and I don’t feel enough context was given in Samson’s journey for me to fully connect with what was happening. After forming a friendship with Abitha, Samson’s journey just seems to pause instead of building up to the later revelations in the story. Both Samson and the Wild Folk are conceptually cool, but I wanted to see a lot more development in the story. 

Overall, this book is perfect for those looking for horror with a folky flare. Despite it’s magical elements, this book is not for the squeamish or those looking for a “feel-good” read. This story is dark, brutal, gory, and unforgiving. You will find yourself unsettled and questioning even in the ‘good’ moments. I experienced this story as an audiobook and while the narration is good, I missed out on beautiful illustrations that help bring the story to life. Trigger warnings include: graphic violence, torture, harm to animals, misogyny, anti-Native American sentiments/stereotyping expressed by the characters, physical abuse, and death/loss.
Was this review helpful?
I have never read anything from this author before, but now I want to read everything! This was a perfect dark and spooky book for October.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately, this book wasn't for me.  The characters were good and that is usually good enough to keep me engaged, but the overall story just wasn't interesting to me.  I am not sure what could have made it better for me though.  Do not get me wrong, this was well written and it was not a bad book to read, it just wasn't for me.  I got the audiobook and the narration was really well performed.  I am a little bummed because I REALLY wanted to love this book.

I received this free copy for my unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
On the surface this should have been a book written for me, in fact, when I saw the cover and read the synopsis I said, out loud, this was written FOR me. The scene is set well, I was immediately transported to my favorite time period in which to read about witches. I still love the cover and think it embodies the mood the author was going for. There was so much potential, but I took issues with several stances past the 50% mark that started to hinder and impede my enjoyment of the book. 

However it is dark, gloomy, features revenge in a dark and realistic world, with the added layer of terrific descriptions of monsters. This is going to be an excellent read during the autumnal season and specifically in October! I will definitely be revisiting this authors work and artwork in the future. Terrific audio book as well. 

A huge thank you to Netgalley for access to this novel!
Was this review helpful?
I would like to thank the author, publisher and Net Galley for providing a free e-audio copy of this title in exchange for my review.

I really, really wanted to like this book.  I like historical fiction, especially American historical fiction, and have always been interested in the Puritan times and the Salem Witch Trial hysteria.  I've never read a book by the author, but have seen the name a few times, and was really excited to get this book.  

Overall, I liked the book.  The main character is a strong independent woman, and the description is very good.  But some of the characterizations were a bit uncomfortable.  Parts of the beginning of this book were a bit slow and difficult to get into, but the last portion seemed to move very quickly.  I believe there were illustrations in the book, but my ARC audio didn't contain a link to those, so I'll have to find a copy of the book.

I could see myself revisiting this book and try it again.  Certainly need to be in the right mood for a book like this.
Was this review helpful?
This beautiful book -and narrator- gets all the stars in the sky!! It definitely deserves way more than the 5 I can rate it. Thank you a million times to Macmillan Audio for the book! Barrie Kreinik does the most beautiful and enchanting job reading this.  Brom creates a realistic (and awful) world. The characters are real, richly detailed and wonderful. The story is absolutely horrific and captivating all at once. No way would I want to be alive during this time, and certainly not a Puritan. Abitha is one of the best characters I've met in a very long time. I love her and was cheering her on during the whole book. Samson was very interesting as well. I enjoyed learning  about him and his story. The villains were the worst, as they are meant to be. The magic in this book was so wonderful, I did not want it to end EVER!  This is now one of my favorites and I'm sure i will listen to it over & over again. I'm already tempted to just start it over! I will be recommending Slewfoot for a very, very long time. Again, thank you so very much for the chance to listen to this one!
Was this review helpful?
My favorite thing about this book was that it contained both the historical Puritan persecution of strong women through witch hysteria, and actual fantasy/horror/magic. All of the good witchy things in one book!

Abitha and Samson discovering who they are in different yet similar ways was brilliant and fascinating and really well-executed. Not to mention they were just really great, complex characters overall. 

And that ending was badass! I loved this book, and audio narrator was wonderful.  Go buy Slewfoot, it’s perfect for spooky season. 

Thank you NetGalley, author and publisher for the arc in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
From the first page I was invested.  The author's writing in conjunction with the very talented narrator set me up for several hours of pleasure.  Two problems surfaced about half way, The story seemed to drag and the profanity started.  Soon after the author opted to take profanity higher than F-bombs.  At this point, I looked to confirm this was a NetGalley and I needed to finish, not just DNF (My standard for profanity.).  

The second half was really long.  I was distracted and aggravated by the cheap shot profanity, but it still seemed to drone.  I wasn't completely surprised by the ending, which I liked.
Was this review helpful?
This is a weird book.

Abitha is trying in 1666 to live her life amongst Puritans. Being a little bit of a hedge witch doesn't make it easy for her. Then her husband is killed to revive an ancient spirit called Slewfoot, and Abitha really starts doing things that will give the Puritans nightmares.

This well-told book shows that not all Puritans are idiots before the inevitable hysteria befalls them. It was fun reading Abitha confounding people as she uses her newfound magic and friendship to survive amongst hostile people. Her vengeance is beautiful but too quick. 

The narrator does an excellent job. But her American accent is atrocious.

Review based on an advanced reader copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
As expected Brom did not disappoint. Brom is the only author who’s books I listen to over and over every year. His book Krampus I listen to every Christmas it’s one of my favorites and the child thief I always listen to each year as well . And every time I go on audible for new book I always check his authors page to see if there is any new releases.  And I was so excited when I found this one. If you like books about witches and mythical  forest creatures and Salem witch trials then you will love this book and I can’t recommend it enough. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. And the narrator I thought was perfect for this story. I will definitely be recommending it to all my friends and is perfect read for the upcoming hallow’s eve.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for an AudioARC in exchange for an honest review.

Slewfoot takes us back in time to 1666. When witchcraft was feared, a woman had no rights, and the church was the law. Abitha, along with her husband Edward, are one season away from owning their farm. One payment in corn to Edward's brother to complete freedom. When something is awoken in the nearby woods what trouble will come to their town? Will Abitha be able to make the last payment after Edward's tragic death? Or will something lurking in the shadows come to her aid?

4.5 stars rounded up to five. I was so excited to get approved for this audiobook and it did not disappoint. The narrator's voice makes you truly feel like you're in 1666 with pious men and fierce women. The cast of characters is broad, but not so broad that they are hard to keep straight. The structure and pacing of this story stumble at about the halfway point, thus why it is not a 5 star read. The last 30% of the story had me clapping and hollering to myself. Abitha is a force, and she will not be denied what she worked so hard for.

I recommend this for readers of dark fantasy 14+ as there is a little but of gore and torture. For fans of Brom's other stories this will be a delightful treat to devour.
Was this review helpful?
**Contains Spoilers**
**Contains Spoilers**
**Contains Spoilers**
**Contains Spoilers**
**Contains Spoilers**
**Contains Spoilers**
**Contains Spoilers**

Brom's "The Child Thief" has long held the spot for my most recommended book of all-time. (Seriously, anytime ANYONE asks for a book recommendation, the whole question is barely out of my mouth before I yell, "The Child Thief! Brom!" It's also been in my top 5 all-time favorites since the moment I finished it. 

For most of this book, I thought it was going to bump "The Child Thief" down a notch; I thought I was actually going to love this one even more. In the end, I didn't because I felt the ending was a little... not anti-climactic. Just... a little tamer than what I was expecting. 

So, it didn't replace "The Child Thief" as one of the most excellent books I've ever read. But honestly, it came very, very close. In true Brom fashion, it DID NOT disappoint. It was well-developed, well-written, and full of characters you can't help but love, characters you can't help but hate, and characters you can't help but pity and want desperately to help. 

It also had an amazingly strong female lead who is so very human. Abitha is... me... my mom... my best friend... She's every woman I've ever known, respected, and loved rolled into one perfect representation of womanhood. She's kind but flawed; she's loving but quick to anger; she's ultimately GOOD, but she's not above breaking the rules if she feels it needs to be done. She's such a... woman. Ha.

And Slewfoot - Sampson - Whatever you want to call him - is... heartbreaking and terrifying and wonderful and fearsome. That is the thing I love most about Brom's books. He writes characters so well. There will be the odd one-dimensional character now and then, but primarily, his books are full of incredible characters with so many layers to them. Maybe it's because he's an artist -- a visual artist -- at heart, but he writes characters so well. He just SEES people; he understands them and what motivates them. 

Now. Onto the story itself. I can't say that this story was surprising in the way it was written; it wasn't. At least in terms of the broad story - I knew what was going to happen before it happened in just about every circumstance (except for the very end, that is). But that's not because the writing was predictable. It's just one of those stories that you KNOW how it's going to go. 

An outspoken woman living in Puritan society - a woman who supplements her husband's income by selling charms and healing herbs... I'm sorry, but if you DON'T know how that story is going to end, then you've never picked up a history book ... EVER. The story isn't predictable; it simply progresses in a way that makes perfect sense. Perfect, heartbreaking, "why do people have to be this way" sense. 

But even though you know how it's going to happen, Brom fills in all the details in a new, refreshing way that makes it feel like an entirely new story. Look, to be honest, I could keep raving about how amazing this book is for... at least 20 more paragraphs - EASILY. But that would be entirely too long, and I'd lose most any of you who've made it this far. So I'm going to say simply: READ THIS BOOK. You won't regret it. 

Now, as to the audiobook part of this: It was perfectly done. The sound quality was phenomenal. The voice acting was 100% on point, and there were no mistakes, repeated words, bad dubbing, or poor editing that I noticed. The pacing was perfect, as well. Normally, I listen to books on at least 1.5x speed (usually 2.0x), but I listened to this one at regular speed. This was primarily because it was Brom, and I wanted to savor every second of the book. (The only thing I hate about Brom's books is that after I finish one, I always have this pit of depression in my stomach because I know nothing I read after it will compare.) However, while listening to it at regular speed, I didn't feel like it was too slow or dragging at any point. 

This book didn't beat out "The Child Thief," but it's easily the best book I've read all year, and it gets a well-deserved five stars.
Was this review helpful?
World building at its finest. Characters so fully developed that it is impossible to not be invested in their lives. A build up in intensity that quite literally will have readers on the edge of their seats. 

I was lucky to receive an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of the SLEWFOOT Audiobook from the Publisher through NetGalley. I am thrilled to say  listening to the story enhanced my experience. 

Until I looked her up (yes, Barrie is female) after listening to her fabulous voice for hours on end, I had no idea that she wasn't British by birth. Her website mentions her proficiency with accents, but actually hearing her performance, I realized she is not merely proficient, she sounds 100% as if she is a native Brit. Barrie is a masterful voice actor with an exquisite sense of timing. The way her voice rises and falls during particularly suspensful moments had me hooked. I will 100% be looking for more audiobooks featuring the skills of Barrie Kreinik in the future. 

As for the story itself, the following offers a clue as to what I thought of SLEWFOOT... 

From this day forward I will always think of Brom when anyone mentions historical horror fiction with fantasy elements. In fact, I don't believe that any other author alive today even comes close to his skill level. 

Because I do not want to give away any spoilers, I am not going to discuss the plot any further. Suffice it to say that this book is not just a story, it is an experience. 

I rate SLEWFOOT as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Thank you to the Publisher and to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this spectacular audiobook.
Was this review helpful?
Barrie Kreinik did a fantastic job of narrating and the story kept you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Brom somehow manages to get you to fall in love with the devil and root for the demons. This is the perfect fall read!
Was this review helpful?
Slewfoot is a tale reminiscent of the Salam witch trials.but it’s so much more. If you think this is a simple retelling of Salem you’d be so wrong. What if there really were devils in this world. And magic existed hand and hand with nature? What if devils could be conflicted? All are questions explored by Brom
The story centers on Abitha, a young wife who grew up in London and was sold into marriage,by her father, to a Puritan man living in Sutton         , CT.  Abitha finds that the life is hard but life amongst the Puritans is even harder.  Though the marriage was arranged real affection grows between the couple.  The main problem they face is the debt they owe her husband Edward’s brother Wallace.  Once it is paid they will own the farm they are working on. Wallace despises Abitha because she is a strong outspoken woman in a society that believes women are inferior to men and should not speak unless spoken to. When Edward dies in an “accident” the pressure to bring in the crop alone intensifies. Add to the story that a blood craving spirit is awakening and you have a great tale going.
I truly loved this book. Bron does an excellent job defining each character well, even the minor ones.  As you can see from the description above,which only touches the surface of the storyline, Bron has created a rich complex plot.  
I read this using an audiobook.  I highly recommend this choice!  The narrator is a very talented actress who creates each scene as if she were staging a play.  I was fully immersed in each chapter.  I give it 4.5 stars!

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Macmillan Audio and net galley. This fact in no way influenced my review.
Was this review helpful?
Her husband's body is barely cold in the ground when his brother threatens to take Abitha's home away. Wallace wants to take everything away from her, to strip her of her rights. His strict Puritan  beliefs do not agree with how she lives her life, and he plans to make her bow to him. Abitha has no plans to yield.
    Slewfoot has been awoken. He does not know how he came to be dead, or what his purpose is. When he meets Abitha, things start to make sense. He feels a connection with her, the earth and its magic. He feels loyalty and love for her, and will protect her. 
   Together, Abitha and Slewfoot will combine their beings to bring pain to those that have wronged them. 

I am not a historical fiction fan, but love a good witch story. This book is a deliciously dark fairy tale, set in Puritan Connecticut during the height of witch hysteria. Living in CT, I felt I had to read the book! 
   The story is a slow building, giving every back story detail and critical event that leads up to the eventual accusations of witchcraft. While we watch Abitha discover her inherited magic, we also watch Slewfoot find his own. Slewfoot, or the devil, is torn between the need for blood and the need to give life. His battle is good and evil, within himself. So much of his story, and Abithas is about how society fears what they do not know, and passes judgement when they are not innocent themselves. 
   Don't worry though, there is justice for their pain. You don't mess with a witch, especially if her best friend is the devil.  As horror goes, this story doesn't get gorey until the last few chapters. When it does, it feels oh so right! 
     Listening to this book was like having a dark fairy tale whispered in my ear. The narrator nailed the different voices, and actually sang when the story called for it. Her voice sounded true to the time, her English accent added bit of authenticity.
  This story sent me down a rabbit hole of Googling the history of witches in CT. When a story makes me want to dive into research, you know its a good one.
Was this review helpful?
Brom is the! No doubt about it!!! 

I have never read a book by Brom that I didn’t enjoy. All of his books include pages of exquisite art, created by Brom himself and OH MY GAHHH…. they are PHENOMENAL!!. His talent blows my mind!

If you love folk horror, fairytales and dark fantasy then this book is for you! It’ll ‘bewitch you mind, body and soul.’ ✨

This book is full of darkness and magic. 
With a killer female protagonist that you want to root for,
villains you wish would burn (they are awful),
and a character that you’re unsure about….should I loathe them or feel sympathy for them?? 

Read Slewfoot and find out! 

I loved this book so darn much and it’s, by far, my absolute favorite by Brom! 
Live deliciously and read Slewfoot!
Was this review helpful?