Kephera Rising by Nerine Dorman


Strong Characterisation
Good pacing
Fascinating Characters
Strong sense of place


A bit too much exposition in places

Full Review

Part crime thriller, part supernatural realism, and part character study, Kephera Rising, by Nerine Dorman is a tale of James Edward Guillaume, a black magician, occult bookshop owner, and self-proclaimed "Wickedest Man in South Africa", as he encounters a group of militant Christian fundamentalists, heaven-bent on removing any kind of occult influence from South Africa.
With all this, Jamie also has to deal with the results of a magical working gone wrong (or possibly right?), as well as the other people that get pulled into this fascinating story.

This is Nerine's first novel, and it shows in places, but it is nevertheles impressive. The character of Jamie is complex and nuanced. He has a very strong moral core, although it is one that many people would not approve of, or even understand. Through the course of the novel, his life will be broken down into the tiniest of pieces, through the many twists and turns of the narrative. He comes up against his own limitations, and does not always come out on top. There is a very real and human feeling to the character. He does not exist in a vacuum, but in a human network of friends, enemies, acquaintances and lovers.

The other thing that comes through very strongly in the book is the sense of place, and it brings across a very accurate feel of Cape Town as a city. The Cape Town Goth scene shines through in the pages, with most of the main characters being parts of, or involved in it.Having been a part of the scene for a long time, it made me both homesick for it, and glad that I had moved on, although more the former.

Nerine's famliarity with occult traditions, also comes out in the novel, sometimes adding depth to the story, at other times they feel like out of place infodumps.

The story is not for everybody, since it does include sex, violence and the occult, but all of it hangs together very well, and is integral to the story.

In Closing

I would consider Khephera Rising to be a great addition to anybody's collection. It is a breath of fresh air, and provides a unique story and experience. The story moves at a good pace, and provides some unique and insightful characters.

The sequel, Khephera Redeemed has recently been accepted for publication, so that will be coming soon.