By T. David Remonstein
Published on 09/9/2012
I have to admit that I had no desire to pick up or read this book due to both what I assumed to be the religious content (this is NOT a religious book) and the fact that I’ve had little to no luck where self-published authors come to concern. It was thrust into my hand by a friend who happens to know the author and is trying to help her promote the book through word of mouth. I reluctantly promised him I would read it, but I have to admit that it took quite a lot of prodding from him before I finally cracked.
Once I did, I wished I hadn’t waited. It only took the first section of the book to understand that I was going to be hooked.
The author immediately thrusts you into a conversation between the two most powerful Gods where the Creator, Noliminan, has (apparently) just laid out the rules of the Divine Plan (which introduces the idea of reincarnation to the reader) to his second in command, Lucias. Lucias’ temper flares when he learns that Noliminan intends to allow only the mortal races their right to ask for redemption and forgiveness for earthly sins and that the demons and angels (and, to a far more limited extent, the lesser Gods) are to remain enslaved.
There is quite a bit of character build up as we are introduced to the politics and system of the Gods and their Council. There is the Small Council, which consists of Noliminan, his wife, Lucias and Lucias' past lover. Then there are the Gods of the council, which include the likes of the Norse Gods, Loki and Odin, the Egyptian God Ra and both rulers of the seas from Greek and Roman philosophies, Triton and Poseidon. As for the archangels, these are all names that should be immediately recognizable ranging from Michael, who is Noliminan’s steadfast warrior, to the less commonly known Mihr, who in the tale is the youngest of the twelve archangels who make up Noliminan’s Quorum but has yet to provide us with any solid story of her own.
The story can drag as we get to know the characters, but, I discovered, necessarily so. By the time the real action came—which was about 250 pages in—I genuinely cared about the first casualty of the war. Had the author not spent so much time in weaving this character into the story as a seemingly unimportant figure, I wouldn’t have cared or understood why this character was Lucias’ first target.
There are some interesting plot twists that, in retrospect, I should have seen coming but didn’t. I won’t get into those in this review because to do so would give too much of the true mystery of the story away. And there is plenty of humor which is, truly, the gem of this otherwise darkly drawn tale.
• The book, though not perfect, is solidly written in both plot and prose.
• The characters personalities are well defined and written in a manner that you truly do come to care about the majority of them.
• The manner in which the different theologies blend together is conceptually a difficult thing to do, but which the author has managed to pull off without a hitch.
• Noliminan. Hands down my favorite character. He is the perfect portrait of a man who has had too much power for far too long and, as a result, has lost all patience and tolerance. He has clear motivations which are entirely self-serving and just enough power to get away with performing acts that are unspeakable.
• Sappharon. Very definitely my second favorite. She’s intent on trying to do the right thing and always flubbing it up. She’s the epitome of the saying “The path to good intentions always leads you into Hell.”
• Once you get past the first quarter of the book, it becomes an easy read.
• The author developed a language that some of the characters spoke which didn’t draw away from the story.
• The cover is professionally created, as are the photos inside. When I opened the book to the final section of the book, I was happy to see Loki embedded in a puzzle piece looking pretty much the way I had pictured him from the author’s description.
• Sometimes the character development lags.
• There were some typos in the book that really should have been cleaned up before publication (I’m told the ones I pointed out have been corrected.)
• I didn’t like some of the characters.
• There were times when the narrator (the archangel Azrael) interrupted the story to draw us into what was, for him, present day. It was interesting, but distracting. I’m not sure that it added anything other than leaving us with one particular story line that may become mystery. Could have done without it.
• There were a lot of loose ends. I hope they are cleared up in future installments.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that, because my copy was so battered by the time that I finished it, I ended up ordering another to replace it in my library.