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For We’re All Agreed That All We Need Is Sitting There In Your Head

The Song of Hadariah  (Dybbuk Scrolls Trilogy, volume 1)

By Alisse Lee Goldenberg 

26 May, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction


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To quote her online bio :

Alisse Lee Goldenberg is an award-winning author of Horror, Young Adult Paranormal Romance, and Young Adult Fantasy fiction. She is currently working on three series: The Sitnalta Series, The Dybbuk Scrolls, and The Bath Salts Journals (co-authored with An Tran). She has her Bachelors of Education and a Fine Arts degree, and has studied fantasy and folklore since she was a child. Alisse is also a voice actress living in Toronto with her husband Brian, and their triplets Joseph, Phillip, and Hailey. 

2017’s The Song of Hadariah is the first volume in Alisse Lee Goldenberg’s Dybbuk Scrolls Trilogy: Book 1

Seventeen-year-old Carrie has a lot of important decisions to make; her choices could shape her entire adult life. When she saves a beleaguered fox from her dog, she does not think that she is making one of those Big Decisions. Yet her impulsive act of kindness turns out to be not just Big, but the Biggest. 

The fox is not an ordinary fox; he’s a talking fox named Adom. After rescuing Adom, Carrie and her friends Lindsay and Rebecca are drawn into a struggle to save Adom’s world. Road trip! 

The master dybbuk Asmodeus has silenced the divine music that powers Adom’s world. Without that music, the realm is cast into darkness, dying a slow death. Mortals from our realm may be able to recover the missing strings from the mystical instrument that Asmodeus has sabotaged. 

Armed with half-remembered folk tales, the trio travel to Adom’s realm. They head for Asmodeus’ stronghold, facing many dangers along the way. They also need to figure how they are going to: 

  1. get into the stronghold; 
  2. find the strings; 
  3. escape from the stronghold. 

Fail on any of those points and their mission will have been pointless. 

They may be able to figure out a winning strategy if they can answer one question: why would Asmodeus doom the world, when his very existence is dependent on the continued survival of that world? 


Given that portal fantasies are supposed to be dead, I sure am encountering a surprising number of them these days. 

This book is not advertised as YA, but I am going to assume it is. Young protagonist, no explicit sex scenes, no gratuitous violence, straight-forward characters. Except for the ones who are lying through their teeth. 

Reading this, I was strongly reminded of Clifford Simak’s Out of Their Minds … although I would be pretty surprised to find that Goldenberg had ever encountered that venerable novel.In both books, the mundane world (or its representatives) have to deal with myth come alive. The characters in the myth may have strong feelings about how they have been treated at our hands. I hope it is not giving too much away if I note that a good drama needs conflict and conflict does not arise from happy feelings. 

The trio of adventurers are blessed with pluck, useful skills, and a remarkable propensity for striding boldly into traps. In their defence, the folktales shaping their journey are only half-remembered and none of them remembered to bring a handbook of lore. Nor have any of them grown up in settings that would have given them a healthy dose of paranoia. Something that turns out to be useful when the world is out to get you. In the real world, one does not have to worry about demonic possession. Or the possibility that the tasty looking produce in the supermarket is actually poison (at least if you don’t shop at NAME REDACTED ON ADVICE OF LAWYERS). 

Although this novel can be read as a standalone, it is also an enticing introduction to the series.

The Song of Hadariah : Dybbuk Scrolls Trilogy: Book 1 is available here (Amazon) and here (Chapters-Indigo).

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