A book of gorgeously rendered and lusciously poeticized violence. An on-the-cusp scream queen goddess of the local goth TV channel, who survived the brutal violence which tore her family apart, quite literally. A newly appeared 1-900 service that begs you to find the worst in yourself and reveal it to them. Gangs of thematically self-mutilating freaks roaming the streets. All through the background, the seductive voice of Pirsya Profana slithering between neurons. Welcome to the Season of the Witch.
If you are a fan of Charlee’s early work, especially This Symbiotic Fascination, then you’ll be happy here. That same sense of poetic indulgence, lending a feel of beauty and grace to the whole affair, pervades everything. The willingness to use that grace and beauty to portray absolutely horrendous and horrifying aspects of humanity, likewise. The willingness to be as mean and as harsh to the audience as possible, with little to no relief is just plain everywhere. Those fans, as well as the more rabid of hardcore fans, should just stop here. You want this.
However, the downsides of that same book are also present. The scattershot, seemingly directionless storytelling. The non-sequiturs on top of non-sequiturs on top of non-sequiturs that feel like excuses to throw out as many messed up images as possible, without bothering to give them a meaningful context. There’s a reason for this, as the “about the author” blurb makes it clear that this was the first, previously unpublished, novel Charlee wrote. Unfortunately, it often reads as such.
As a huge fan of Charlee’s work, I’m glad to have Season of the Witch in my collection, as it shows a broad spectrum of her growth as a writer and an artist. Also, given that we will likely never get anything new from her again, I am happy to just see any words from her at all. On the other side, I just don’t see anyone who is not a Charlee Jacob or hardcore completist enjoying it.