Hey there everyone! Welcome back to my first blog tour of 2021 and my stop for The Write Reads tour for White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton!
Guthrie was a good place to be from, but it wasn’t a great place to live, not when you were like Adam, in all the ways Adam was like Adam.
Adam Binder hasn’t spoken to his brother in years, not since Bobby had him committed to a psych ward for hearing voices. When a murderous spirit possesses Bobby’s wife and disrupts the perfect life he’s built away from Oklahoma, he’s forced to ask for his little brother’s help. Adam is happy to escape the trailer park and get the chance to say I told you so, but he arrives in Denver to find the local magicians dead.
It isn’t long before Adam is the spirit’s next target. To survive the confrontation, he’ll have to risk bargaining with powers he’d rather avoid, including his first love, the elf who broke his heart.
The Binder brothers don’t realize that they’re unwitting pawns in a game played by immortals. Death herself wants the spirit’s head, and she’s willing to destroy their family to reap it.
I know January is both 10 minutes and 10 years long, but I think I can safely declare this is my year for coming back to urban fantasy. I mentioned earlier in the month how I’ve been cautiously tiptoeing my way back to the genre. If there’s something White Trash Warlock has done, it’s proven that I want to get back reading it and I want it queer as possible. This is THE book for going forward. This is the book that proves what was the exception now has to be the rule.
Something that baffles me about writing and writers is how the “canon” is meant to be maintained. You’re telling me the genres that were used as fields to interrogate everything that lived on the edges of society from racism to privilege right down to the LGBTQ+ spectrum are supposed to be homogeneous? Nope. A pile of nope at that. That’s not life. There was always kids in my school you just knew were in situations like Adam. They worked before and after school. They ate the school food because they knew it was cooked and would be there. There was hope, yes even in secondary school. Fair play to the author for tackling this so head on and so well.
Some things that I think Slayton absolutely mastered in White Trash Warlock includes the handling of tropes and a male protagonist. These are often the places where the familiar bits fall into place of every urban fantasy and you settle in for a story. What’s clearly being used here is the same things any urban fantasy reader is familiar with but somehow they feel up to date. They feel properly done. They aren’t toxic. They are FUN! Where I really found myself being impressed is the ‘running into the ex’ trope you usually see in these books. Adam and his ex, Perak, (an elf none the less) are in the situation most are when facing their ex; uncomfortable, not sure of what to say, wanting to get all the reasons ‘why’ this happened. But somehow, it felt very healthy? Like there is a stray moment where Adam thinks they may manage to be friends too.
In terms of a male protagonist, Adam is a soft boy. But he is also filled with rage, trauma and he has a lot of feelings that he is trying to handle. He’s dare I say it, a bit more realistic? He is very clear in his comfort being open about his sexuality, not denying or doubling down for anyone. But he’s also a man with a strong ego who keeps is very quick to remind his brother and mother, often not so kindly, how he holds them responsible for the majority of the trauma he received. I loved this because Adam is not perfect, he’s flawed. But he’s trying to be a good person, just like Fetch Phillips was.
I can’t not mention as well how easily this story flows and keeps you engaged. I finished this in two sittings which isn’t something I manage as much as I would like to sometimes. I flew threw this story because there isn’t a let up. There are a few moments where it might, and will, not be okay. There are real stakes and consequences. I loved that about the story and the constant reminder that life is a precious thing not to be squandered. We get also get a constant influx of magical creatures that we all love to see (thank you David Slayton for knowing sídhe as well.) and I just know I needed the sequel yesterday. Adam Binder needs a hug too so I hope he gets many.
Thank you again to The Write Reads for having me on this fabulous blog tour, David Slayton for this wonderful book and both including Black Stone Publishing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for review. White Trash Warlock is out now!