Reborn by Stephanie Ellis Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Blood rituals, magick, and monsters take center stage as the rebirth of Cernunnos and the exploration of realms beyond our own lead to a dangerous journey in author Stephanie Ellis’s “Reborn”.

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The Synopsis

Return to the Weald, the world Stephanie Ellis introduced us to in The Five Turns of the Wheel.

Reborn is the story of Cernunnos, the Father of all, who has risen. Born of blood offerings, he travels to the Layerings—one of those places, like Umbra, which sit just beyond the human veil.

Reborn is the story of Tommy, Betty and Fiddler, the infamous troupe whose bloody rituals were halted by Megan, Tommy’s Daughter. Rendered weak by Megan’s refusal to allow them to hunt in the human world of the Weald, they seek their rebirth and forgiveness from the Mother and Cernunnos.

Reborn is the story of Megan, who follows Cernunnos and Hweol’s sons on a pilgrimage of hope—one that would see her husband restored to her and the dark presence of Hweol removed.

Ultimately, though, Reborn is the story of Betty, the most monstrous of the three brothers. He is Nature, red in tooth and claw. He is what the Mother made him. And who are we to judge?

With Reborn, Ellis delivers another powerful tale of folk horror that will captivate the reader from the first page until its final bloody climax. 

The Review

As a longtime fan of the mythology of different cultures, I loved the author’s extensive use of Welsh mythology and culture in this folk horror read. The haunting imagery and terror the author infuses into the atmosphere and tone of this novel kept me present and engaged with the narrative. The rich settings and intimate details of the mythos allowed me as a reader to become immersed in the story fully and completely, feeling every twist and turn the story brought as the grim reality of these ancient beings came to life.

To me, character development was the true heart of the narrative, both for the heroes and the villains of this tale. The hopeful pursuit that Megan goes on in hopes of restoring her husband clashes brilliantly with the destructive nature of the ancient deities, especially the three brothers, whose bloodlust and animalistic tendencies prove equally dangerous and disturbing. Yet the author’s ability to capture not only that folk element of the horror genre but showcase that these characters all reside in very deep shades of gray and no one character is wholly good or evil showcases the complexity and engaging elements of this novel.

The Verdict

Twisted, captivating, and harrowing, author Stephanie Ellis’s “Reborn” is a must-read folk horror read of the 2022 season. The perfect spooky season read for fans of ancient mythology and chilling horror novels, the gripping character development and thought-provoking themes the author explores make this a one-of-a-kind read that cannot be missed. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Stephanie Ellis writes dark speculative prose and poetry and has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her longer work includes the novel, The Five Turns of the Wheel and the novellas, Paused and Bottled. Her two new folk horror novels, Reborn and The Woodcutter are due out soon!

She is an active member of the HWA and can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on twitter at @el_stevie.

Note: I am no longer leaving a star rating for my reviews – wherever possible.

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