The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle – Review


Published: February 16, 2016


Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Pages: 149 (Paperback)

My Rating: 2.0/5.0


People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

When am I going to stop putting myself through anything related to H.P. Lovecraft’s work?? Sometimes I accidentally do it, but I’ve really got to pay more attention in the future. The Ballad of Black Tom is skirting the very edges of Lovecraft’s realm- testing the waters, if you will. There are obvious allusions to Cthulu or another of the pantheon, but only once is he/it specifically mentioned, and only then at the very end.

I’m going to keep this short and to the point… I thought this book was awfully boring. I began reading it, put it down and then carried it around for a week, telling myself each day that I would finish it. It literally would have taken me an hour to finish, but I just didn’t want to so I kept putting it off. Long story short, I finished it but did not find the experience particularly enjoyable though it had all the elements of a story I would typically like.


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