Ajjiit, Dark Dreams of the Ancient Arctic 

Sean A. Tinsley and Rachel A. Qitsualik

Illustrated by Andrew Trabbold

Published by Inhabit Media Inc. (Canada)

ISBN-978-1-926569-30-7

191 pages

$14.95 soft cover

Reviewed by Laura Hartman

Genre: Fantasy

 

Opening a book of short stories is like opening a box of chocolates. Ajjiit, Dark Dreams of the Ancient Arctic by Sean A. Tinsley and Rachel A. Qitsualik is not your average Whitman Sampler from the grocery store. It is more like an exotic blend of flavors encased in the darkest chocolate that deliciously lingers long after you have ingested them.

This collection of nine short stories is fantasy in nature, based upon the Inuit folklore and culture. They are filled with supernatural creatures and events, yet each story is unique in its own way. Reminiscent of Grimm Brother’s stories I was fond of as a child, these stories are a bit edgier and set in an icy Arctic landscape.

Illustrations by Andrew Trabbold accompany each story. Each one is a unique image that adds life and substance, enhancing the writing by adding an interesting visual element. The hauntingly beautiful woman Trabbold created for Slippery Babies is fascinating.

My favorite story in the book was Drum’s Sound. It is a mystical coming of age story about an adopted boy whose parents are the elders of the camp. He cannot speak, yet must to save his adopted mother and the rest of the camp members after they are turned into zombie like creatures by evil spirits.

The only complaint I have is the liberal use of Inuit words throughout all of the stories with definition. At times it was easy to figure out the basic meanings within the context of the sentences or paragraphs. I understand the logic of adding the real feel of the Arctic, but at times it became difficult to read with so many words added that I had to slow down and go back to figure out.

The authors chose not to add footnotes explaining the terms, which I agree would have interrupted the pace of the stories. Footnotes also give a “textbook” feel that ruins the ease with which I want to read for pleasure. A glossary in the back would have helped me. It would not interrupt the flow of the dialog, yet the option is there if I needed or wanted to look up an Inuit word meaning.

Ajjiit, Dark Dreams of the Ancient Arctic is an icy delicious escape. Pick a shorter story if you have only a few minutes, or one of the longer pieces if you want to take a bigger bite of the folklore folded inside like a creamy caramel center. No matter what your taste is, you will find a favorite in this collection.

Copyright © 2012 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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