Gichi Manidoo

Fiction - Fantasy - General
186 Pages
Reviewed on 08/31/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Gichi Manidoo is a fantasy novel written by Charles J. Musser and illustrated by Nancy Aphroditae. Federico couldn’t help but feel the simmering animosity of Carl Mulligan, the homeowner of the house he was to sell. As he inspected the old house, Federico encountered a woman standing in the shadows of the dusty boiler. At first, Federico thought she was a trespasser, but she claimed to own the house. Her name was Marie, and she was Carl’s wife -- not his daughter as Federico had initially thought. Federico and Marie swiftly became friends, people who genuinely enjoyed each other’s company; however, he couldn’t help but worry as the anger and controlling nature of her husband became increasingly apparent. Then, one morning, Marie failed to appear for what had become their pre-work ritual of drinking coffee together by the lake they both loved. Instead, a young girl appeared. Her name was Elizabeth, and she gravely told Federico that Marie was in the hospital and was dying. She said that Marie wanted him to listen to her story and to believe. Federico could save her. Torn by doubt, fear and confusion, he agreed to listen to Elizabeth’s tale.

Gichi Manidoo held me captivated from the moment I found myself vicariously living Federico and Marie’s first meeting in that dusty boiler room. This is a book one can read again and again and still find so much to discover and delightedly revisit. Musser’s characters make it hard to resist getting caught up in their lives and adventures, and his plot works on so many levels. While this is a fantasy, Musser addresses real-life issues, especially abusive and controlling spouses and the plight of those who allow themselves to be caged by their partners or family members. The intensity of this work increases as the black orbs seem poised to destroy all of nature, and the underlying suspense kept me on edge and unable to put the book down. Gichi Manidoo has something for everyone. There’s adventure, magic realism, classic quest fantasy in the school of George MacDonald, and romance. I was awed by this book. Nancy Aphroditae’s masterful pen and ink illustrations put the crowning finishes on this unusual and compelling read. Gichi Manidoo is most highly recommended.

Kathryn Bennett

Gichi Manidoo by Charles J. Musser takes the reader into the world of the supernatural where it and forbidden love collide in a compelling novel that speaks in metaphor and beauty. Gichi Manidoo is a modern take on a fairy tale and is meant for adults to enjoy, but one thing all adults can use a little more of in their life is fun, magical fantasy that can be found in fairytales.

I was drawn to read this book when I saw it was a story of fantasy and love and the main character was a veteran. I have a personal soft spot for veterans as my Dad is one. I have to say this story did not disappoint - it is everything fantastic that it promises and more. At first, it might seem like a normal love story, but once you really look into it you will find that it is anything but a typical love story. It is amazing and challenges the reader to explore their own ideas of what the world is truly like and their own idea of love and how far they might go for it.

This book may ask you to suspend disbelief a little bit but it does so in such a way that it is a true joy to do it. Is love truly the strongest force in the universe? Can it really conquer everything? Well, I think you will have to read this book to get the answer to that, but I know what I think. Gichi Manidoo by Charles J. Musser is beautifully written and has a lovely lyrical flow to it that is sure to delight any reader.

Joel R. Dennstedt

One will find himself quite hard pressed to classify, categorize, or even adequately describe the incredibly artful work of fiction, Gichi Manidoo, written by Charles J. Musser, with beautiful cover and interior illustrations created by Nancy Aphroditae. The exquisitely designed cover features a radiantly feathered dreamcatcher with blue butterflies, and this might suggest one difficulty for pinning this book down. With its story comprised largely of a surrealistic quest through a dreamlike, magical realm of reality beyond but somehow proximate to our own, yet founded on a plot firmly grounded in contemporary daily life, with a too familiar theme of jealousy and attempted murder, and also true love between a woman and a man, one may be at a loss – or simply unable – to offer any concise synopsis.

There is far more going on in Charles J. Musser’s magical/realistic book, Gichi Manidoo, than jealousy and love, than a woman and a man, than this realm or the next. First, the reader must absolve himself from maintaining any linear understanding of the plot (which often becomes quite immaterial, literally) and surrender to the spiritually resonating elements of those interrelated beings from both sides of reality. In other words, quite often the best way to appreciate this truly unique, deeply impressive work, is simply to let go and float upon the spellbinding words propelling this mostly transcendent story. Musser will bring you back to Earth. He does not leave you dangling in ambiguity. You may never quite nail down what occurs, but you will experience resolution. In all, perhaps a book best experienced than simply read.