Wednesday Books — Roberta Cheadle, Through the Nethergate #RRBC #Bookreview

Wednesday, January, 29, 2020

Crystal n Robbies Nethergate
Crystal had to hide under the covers to read a “supernatural fantasy” story.

Welcome to the first installment of Wednesday Books!

This post begins a new quarterly feature for Teagan’s Books.  I’m not a book reviewer.  Although I post a few at Amazon and Goodreads, I never do “real” reviews.  However, when I recently bought my membership to the Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC) I agreed to do four book reviews, of books from their catalog. So I’ll do my version of a “review.” 

You may ask why I say I don’t do real reviews — 1) I don’t do the book summary or tell much about the book, beyond some things I liked or thought were important.  2) I do not rank books with stars, hearts, mermaids or anything else. Why? While reviews are essential to sales and to morale, ranking is harmful — because it is arbitrary.  I saw how absurd it can be when someone wrote an absolutely glowing review.  The words were so positive that I didn’t even notice that it was only four stars. …Until they apologized.  “I’m sorry, but I only give 5-star reviews to ____,” their favorite, long-dead author.  From that moment, I realized the rankings were meaningless. Now I’ll step down from my Julia Sugarbaker soapbox and get back to the point.

For the first book in this new feature I stepped somewhat outside my preferred fantasy genre and went to a horror “supernatural fantasy” book.  You might already be familiar with Roberta Eaton Cheadle — known to many of us as Robbie, from her blog about children’s books and baking, Robbie’s Inspiration.  Since I’m not a real reviewer, I thought it would be fun to ask Robbie a couple of questions along with the required review.

Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Roberta Cheadle, background by Pixabay, altered by Teagan

Questions for Robbie

1) Why ghosts? Of all the horror and/or supernatural beings and critters, why did you choose ghosts?

I have always liked ghosts as they have a sophistication and elegance that you don’t find in demons, werewolves, and other mythical creatures, which are quite crude in their killings and often eat their victims. I like the fact that they were previously human and usually have interesting and often tragic back stories. I am a big history buff so I enjoy finding out the little bits of information about each ghost’s past and the putting it all together as a fictionalised story.

The other reason I used ghosts is that it is reasonable to believe that a good person who dies badly, and chooses not to ascend to the afterlife, could later seek redemption and regret their choice. This is the concept I exploited in Through the Nethergate. It is also reasonable to assume that bad people might enjoy their ghostly life and not wish to make changes. The idea of the ghosts reincarnating is not a concept I can recall coming across anywhere else, but that is not to say that it isn’t out there somewhere. I enjoyed the idea that the ghosts could regain certain human characteristics allowing them much great and more deadly powers while still retaining some “ghostly” powers. 

2) I like it when books with young protagonists have some “parental” or familial guardian character.  What inspired you to use Margaret’s grandfather?

That is actually a good question, Teagan. I do believe that Steve Baker is a lot like my father, Dean. He has the same open mindedness about unusual activities and circumstances. My father introduced me to Wicca and astral travel as a young girl. Dean is not my biological father, but he has been there for most of my life and I am very close to him. I do think I see him as a strong and stable force in my life and I built my supporting figure for Margaret around him.

When my mother and I were involved in a home invasion in 2010, my father saved us. He was very brave in a confrontational and aggressive way, just like Steve’s character in Through the Nethergate. Interestingly enough, I have written a few characterisations for this book, but I have never done one for Steve. This is the first time I have actually thought about and captured his character in this way.

Wow. Robbie, thank you for sharing that very personal answer. It’s so much more than I expected. Dean sounds like a wonderful man.

Little girl in creepy garden
Rudy and Peter Skitterians at Pixabay

Now, despite being outside my comfort zone, I’ll get to this review business.

Here’s the blurb from Amazon

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.

In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.

With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

My Review

Not a ghost story, but a ghosts story — emphasis on the plural. What might happen if a teenaged girl, encountered terrible evil? Ah, but Margaret is not the average teenaged girl.  She sees ghosts — and they see her!

Robbie Nethergate wine
Through the Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Image, Teagan R. Geneviene

I’ve read several of the author’s books for children, and found them delightful and imaginative. I was surprised when she began writing much darker stories, although I could imagine the need for “balance” that must have taken her from stories for young children to the horror genre.  As children grow up, so might one’s genre of writing.

In Through the Nethergate Robbie bravely dives into the scary, ghostly stuff right away.  Her love of history is evident. This adds positively to all aspects of the story. As a self-proclaimed research geek, I can tell that the author put considerable effort into her investigations.

Through the Nethergate takes place in a variety of settings. It also includes an abundance of vivid characters, from the girl and her grandfather, to ghosts and demons, to priests.

The Biblical aspect to the story was unexpected. Personally, this was neither positive nor negative for me, as I don’t tend to associate ghosts with religion. However, I think it will add to the story for many readers. There was a surprising detail with one of the otherworldly settings, which I thought was a terrific touch, but I don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun by describing it here.

Some descriptions are gruesome, but it’s horror supernatural fantasy — so to be expected. The Kindle version is 270 pages, if that helps you. Whether it is listed as “young adult” or simply “horror supernatural fantasy” I don’t think one can be too old to enjoy this otherworldly tale.

So, pour a glass of wine, or pull the covers up over your head like Crystal, and enjoy this read.

Robbie, I appreciate the time you’ve spent here today. I always say that true to the name of your other blog, you are an inspiration. Wishing you huge success with Through the Nethergate and all your books.

Thanks to everyone for visiting. I love your comments, so be sure to stop and say hello. I hope you will also visit Robbie. Hugs on the wing!

 

Copyright © 2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

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147 thoughts on “Wednesday Books — Roberta Cheadle, Through the Nethergate #RRBC #Bookreview

    1. Thank you kindly, Robbie. I’m happy you enjoyed the chapter. I got stressed out and had to close comments. Though I try to keep an upbeat blog-face, I’ve been having a difficult time the past several weeks. Don’t worry. All will be well. Hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Excellent interview with Robbie! I absolutely applaud how you feel about reviews, and how you choose not to rate or give stars. When I write about the children’s books I love, it never occurs to me to do that, either. And your review is great!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You wrote a great review, Teagan. I don’t think there’s a particular way they need to be written and I like reviews that feel genuine and thoughtful…like yours. I enjoyed this book too. Robbie’s such an eclectic writer – she amazes me. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That is important to me, Robbie. Thanks so much.
        And now, ironically, trying to move my writer-brain from chilling to heartwarming… For once I remembered Valentine’s Day in time to try and write a special story for it. Or maybe I’m procrastinating working on a novel. (Eye roll) I have the idea — but can’t decide on the characters.
        Anyhow, thanks for all the time you’ve spent here this week. Congrats on a great launch for this book. Hugs!

        Like

  3. I like your verison of a revew, Teagan. I’m not a fan of the rating part of reviews either, but its a part of it so I do it. Great idea to add the questions to the review!

    Dean sounds like an amazing man, Robbie! A home invasion would be terrifying so glad he was there for your family!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is a lovely book review and interview. Teagan gave a great peek at what and why she liked the book and I really loved the questions and getting to know more about Robbie. I’m not a fan of horror or ghosts, but this makes it tempting for me. Kudos to you both!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s good to see you, Brad. Horror can be so varied as a genre. This is not a story with a touch of something scary. It’s definitely horror to my way of thinking. But it is an imaginative, detailed story. I’m happy you enjoyed the post. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I think you do an EXCELLENT review, Teagan, if this is a typical example. I, for one, prefer reviews that don’t summarize an entire book, but rather focus on whether or not it was enjoyable and why, with just some hints about the story line to guide a potential reader.You did this perfectly, and gave us a short interview with Robbie to hear her thoughts on the hows and whys of it all. Most interesting and entertaining! Lovely job, ladies! And Robbie, best of luck to you with this one. I’m truly looking forward to reading it. I happen to love ghost stories, myself, and I just know I’ll enjoy Through the Nethergate. Sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Welcome Marcia! You are so very kind. Thanks for your encouragement. (Not seeing myself as being good at anything was a topic with my therapist yesterday. I started consulting someone for my agoraphobia…) I think this book might be right up your alley — multiple ghosts and their stories, plus a great dose of history. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure I’m going to enjoy the book, Teagan, and I’m glad to hear you are consulting someone for help with your agoraphobia. I have a milder form (MUCH milder) but even that hampers my plans now and then. (I mostly just try to avoid leaving the house, but when I can’t, I go and I do fine. It’s just that I’d rather stay home.) At any rate, I have plenty of phobis and semi-phobias to keep me busy, so I know how cumbersome a severe one could be. Yay, you for working on it! Good luck!

        Now when it concerns reviews, I think you are doing JUST fine, and I love your approach. (And I remembered to follow your blog this time, too! 😀 )

        Liked by 1 person

          1. True, but I’d be lost without them, so on balance, I feel more positive than negative, and do love blogging here, overall. 🙂 Hmmm. I think I could probably say the same thing about life in general–far more positive than negative, in the long run. 😀 ❤

            Liked by 1 person

  6. It doesn’t get much better than snuggling up with a cat (and she’s looking adorable), a book, and a glass of wine – even if you have to hide under the covers to read. This one’s on my TBR. Congrats to Robbie on the review!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL, Crystal is a much more cooperative model when she’s on her electric throw blanket. She wasn’t very happy about me putting “Brother Love – a Crossroad” on her scrubbing brush to get her to pose with it! Thanks for taking a moment to comment. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful review and Interview with Robbie Teagan and Robbies talents are enormous from her writing, poetry, and baking skills, I often wonders how she manages to juggle everything in her busy schedule..
    Well done on your review… And I understand your conclusions on the rating system,
    Have a great rest of the day and week… ❤ Take care dear Teagan.. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Teagan, you underestimate yourself! 😀 This is a brilliant non-review review! I like you approach very much. Your two questions to Robbie added extra insight into her thought process of writing the book and the characters. You’ve given interesting details in your review of what the reader can expect without giving too much away. I too was surprised at first by Robbie’s latest writing genre but shouldn’t be … she’s a gifted eclectic writer with much to share! As for the very scary parts of the book, can I join Crystal under the cover?! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Annika. I thought parts of this book were quite scary but my publisher says it is supernatural fantasy and not horror. I don’t really read grisly horror so this is in line with the other books in the genre I have read. Thank you for your lovely comment.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. No worries, Robbie. I meant that I should have done due diligence about how it was listed — to help people find it. So many things about categories and rankings are arbitrary, self-defined, (whatever term) it’s hard for anyone to know what they really mean. I’m relieved to know that I had the book where you thought it should be. 🙂

            Like

    2. Haha! I think Crystal pretended to be scared just so that I would turn the electric throw-blanket back on. 🐱
      Thank you for your encouragement, Annika. I didn’t get everything right with the genre, but hopefully that doesn’t do any harm. I agree that Robbie is wonderful — and so are you. 😀 Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

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