The Grimoire Chronicles by Sally Dubats

I just finished Veil Between the Worlds, the first entry in The Grimoire Chronicles by Sally Dubats (author of Natural Magick: The Essential Witch’s Grimoire.) This is her first venture into non-fiction, and a fine first effort it is.

I need to say something right up front: I am usually not a fan of of “young-adult” fiction; perhaps that is because I was reading Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury, and Lin Carter in grade school. While comic books could hold my attention when I was young (and admittedly still do today), novels specifically aimed at younger readers could not.

This book is a definite exception to that. When I first got it I was in the middle of a Kim Harrison novel which I put down until I finished Veil…. Anyone who knows my reading habits will tell you that is a major accomplishment for a novel.

The story is centered around a seventeen year old Wiccan named Cassie who, in her own unique fashion, is dealing with the pressures of social life in a small town high-school in Oregon. Her religion adds a degree of difficulty beyond the usual high-school strata jockeying.

When she meets handsome boy her own age, it becomes even more difficult. His nature is the mystery she sets out to resolve. You would think that, at this point, it would devolve into a Twilight-esque teen story. Believe me when I say that if it had done that I would have immediately gone back to what I was previously reading. I was bored to tears by the first book, as well as the subsequent movie, in that series. I will admit that some of those elements are contained in this book, but it is so much more than that.

The mystery I see resolved in this book is how to truly live your religion instead of paying lip service to it. The discoveries she make are concerned with her own inner strength and the strength of her belief. Cassie goes from creating spells and charms as a matter of course, in a rote sort of way, to putting her all into it and recognizing the real consequences of what she is doing. In the beginning of the book she is living her religion as child would, but by the end she is a true practitioner.

Along the way she also discovers the danger of labeling people; the boxes which you can put them into are much more fluid than solid, and the reality of them is usually much broader than you would imagine.

At the same time, she ventures into the intersection of classical mythology with metaphysical reality. And the reference to religion and mythology are detailed within the novel, rather than footnoted.

There are minor logical errors, but the beauty of the whole easily outweighs them. The descriptions of the religion could only have been created by someone who knows it well. I was struck by the accuracy of it, as well as the depths of knowledge displayed in it.

I have been teaching metaphysics for quite some time and concepts which sometimes drive my students crazy, or dying from boredom, while I try to explain them outside of path-working are portrayed effortlessly in this book. At one point in the book a description of the gateway to the Summer-lands was so beautifully rendered that I found myself crying; which was actually a little embarrassing as I was riding a crowded bus at the time.

Any teacher who has younger students would do well to recommend this book to them. I do intend to pass it on to mine. But definitely prepare a guide beforehand as you will get questions on the concepts contained within. As I say quite often, teaching is always a learning experience.


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