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Book Review: The Sibyl by Cindy D. Witherspoon

Book Review: The Sibyl by Cindy D. Witherspoon

It's Book Review Wednesday, my favorite day of the week! Today, we're mixing a bit of Greek mythology with TV and ghost hunting. Say what?

The Sibyl

Some tragedies are best left forgotten. Eva McRayne wanted a steady paycheck, not a television show. But when Elliot Lancaster hands her the opportunity to discredit his paranormal findings on camera, she finds it impossible to turn him down. Her life changes in more ways than one after she goes to New York to learn more about the theories she will be shooting down on television. Eva McRayne encounters a Sibyl desperate to be free of the shackles which bind her to Apollo. Shackles she binds onto Eva - a disbeliever who learns the hard way just how real the paranormal can be. unnamed

My Review: 4 Stars

This is not something I say often, but I will say it here: I was quite captivated by this book. While I was skeptical going into the story, by the time I reached the third or fourth chapter, I had a hard time putting it down. I wanted to know more about this "sibyl" thing, how the Greek mythology (I'm a huge fan) tied into it all, and more. The ending was a bit disappointing, without any sort of satisfying climax. This seemed like the first 50 to 75% of a longer novel, and there was no real villain or threat to speak of. The character just discovered her powers, but there was no real danger in the entire book. I think it took too long to get to the main part of the story--the passing on of the Sibyl power. Had the power been introduced earlier, it would have given the story more time to build up and perhaps would have allowed for a better climax. The characters are solid, the story is very well-researched, and it's got a very good plot. The writing style is a tad simplistic, but there are only occasional typos and errors--I'd give the writing a solid 4 stars. It is clearly a Book 1, but it was one that left me with only mild interest in reading Book 2. There was nothing that made me think, "Ooh, I want to know more about THAT!" Still, the quality of the story and the interesting theme may convince me to get my hands on Book 2 when it comes out.

Here's a Taste

“Eva, is it? That’s nice.” Kathy reached over to the table to pick up a heavy hand mirror. “The spirits are telling me you don’t believe in them. You detestthe paranormal. Is this true?”

“Honestly?” I looked to Elliot, then to the scryer. “No, I don’t detest the paranormal. I just think you are all here to make money.”

“And you? Isn’t that why you are here as well?”


“I really need to get going.” I tried to ease away from her, but this woman was quick. She grabbed my arm again to hold me in place.

“Then look into this mirror. If you see nothing, then I will release you.” She handed it to me with the care one would preserve for a child. “Yet if you see anything – anything at all – you must tell us at once what you see.”

“I am going to see my reflection. Nothing more, nothing less.” I shrugged. “I hate to break it to you, but that’s how mirrors work these days.”

“Indeed.” Kathy pushed the mirror against my hands. “Well, then. The sooner you take a look and do as I say, the sooner you can sit back down with your love over there.”

Love? Who did this lady think she was? Her assumption made me angry. I couldn’t explain my sudden anger, but I felt defensive towards her. I wanted nothing more than to snatch the mirror from her hand and smash it against the carpet. Yet, just as I wrapped my hands around the handle, I remembered thecontract I’d signed saying I would put myself in these exact same situations for money.

Damn it.

“Alright, but only if I get to leave after this.”

I was surprised at how heavy the mirror was as Kathy Carter released her grip. It was obviously old with carvings along the rim and handle. I flipped it over so the glass was facing me. I saw what I always see in a mirror.

“I see myself.” I handed it back to her. “I’m not sure what you were trying to prove, but I don’t think it worked.”

“Tell me you are willing to do this.” Kathy Carter was shifting from foot to foot, locking her hands in front of her as she refused to take it back. “You must be willing.”

“Well, I’m not.” I thrust the mirror in her direction. “So take this back.”

“Please,” The scryer closed in the distance between her and clasped her hands over mine holding the mirror. “Just try. Be willing to try.”

“Try what exactly?” I frowned. “You’re not being very clear.”

“I can’t explain it. No human can explain what happens with mere words. Just please, say what I tell you to say.”

Kathy glanced at the audience and I got it. She was using me to make her little presentation more dramatic. The scryer was probably making such a scene to fill in the time gap since I broke her laptop and subsequently ended the PowerPoint she would have shown to us. I was so relieved I almost laughed.

“Alright, fine.” I tugged my hands free from the woman. “I’m willing to play along with your act. What do you need me to say?”

“I take thee, mirror, to be my own.”

I turned towards the audience and waved the mirror like a flag. “I take thee, mirror, to be my own.”

The scryer clapped her hands together with obvious excitement. “Apollo, bless my eyes to make me see. Allow me to hear the words unheard by the living to learn from the dead. I am your daughter. Your messenger. Your servant for time immortal.”

“Ok.” I faced her and repeated her mantra. When I was done, I tried to give her the mirror once more. “Can I go now?”

“Close your eyes, child. Your world will change the moment you open them.”

“Whatever it takes to get this over with.”

I let out an exaggerated sigh as I closed my eyes. I felt the woman grab my hands, holding them so tight against the handle it was hard for me not to cry out as the carvings cut into my palms. Kathy Carter started whispering, her words getting lost to my ears as my hands began to burn. This time, I did cry out. But the woman had a grip on me. One she wasn’t going to let go of easily.

I felt the heat rising up from my hands as it traveled up my arms. I was so focused on getting away from the scryer I barely heard the applause erupting through the room. The fire engulfing me didn’t stop until it reached my eyes and my ears. The horrible woman started cackling like a witch in a fairy tale just as the pain from the heat become unbearable. She released my hands as she called out so that the entire room could hear her.

“It’s over! Thanks be to the gods, my time is over.”

I opened my eyes trying to seek out Elliot’s familiar face in this sea of strangers. Instead, my gaze was trapped by the mirror glowing red. The glass seemed to be reflecting the fire engulfing my mind. I wanted to look away. I needed to look away. Yet the color captivated me as a strange white noise filled my ears.

Elliot pushed Kathy Carter out of the way. He took hold of my chin to force my eyes away from the strange shades of red and black. I could see his lips moving. I knew he was asking me if I was alright.

I couldn’t hear him. I could hear nothing as the white noise shifted into a furious whispering much like what the scryer had done. I turned my attention ontothe mirror as a face formed in the darkness. I knew this face was the one whispering to me. It was a man; young and just as beautiful as Kathy Carter. His golden eyes shimmered as he smiled. This was the voice filling my ears.

“Your soul is now mine, Sibyl.”

I dropped the mirror just before I passed out.

About the Author

Cynthia D. Witherspoon is an award winning writer of Southern Gothic, Paranormal Romance, and Urban Fantasy. She has been published in numerous anthologies since 2009. Her work has appeared in several award winning collections including Dark Tales of Ancient Civilizations (2012) and PellucidLunacy (2010). Get the book from Barnes and Noble: Or from Amazon: Cynthia posts regularly on her website: Hook up with her on Facebook: