Sigh. I simply can’t express how much I hated this book. Of course, as I will now enumerate many of the things that made me so intensely dislike the book, that is sort of a silly statement, but you get the point, right?
Let’s see, where do I start. The good. The cover is terrific. The art is beautifully done, and it makes you want to read the book. You are expecting to find a strong, paranormal female heroine inside, and in some ways that is what you get. The main character, Reya, is a Redeemer, basically the last entity you see before the Grim Reaper comes to sweep you away to where you are going.
While it sounded like a Paranormal/Urban Fantasy thriller, what you get instead is a mishmash of Christian mythos and crystals, New Age philosophy and lei lines as Angelic power points, Atlantis and six dimensional physics, all rolled into a snarled bundle of “let’s put in a little something for everyone” that was, well, absurd. The Christians will hate it for the new age philosophy; the New Agers will hate it for turning their beliefs into a joke; and the scientists will just laugh uproariously. Of course, I did run across a New Ager once that said that anything bad that happened to you (she was talking to a cancer patient at the time-a cancer patient with small children who would be without their mother soon) “brought it on herself because she must have been putting bad vibes out into the universe.” Yes, I did slap her silly.
I won’t go into the actual storyline, as it is a rather basic ‘good (sic) guys chase the bad guys’ mystery/action adventure plot. What I do want to talk about is the underlying thesis of the story which is, in short, no matter what atrocities you have committed in life, all you have to do when Reya shows up is bat your eyelashes and say something to the effect of “Aww! I wuz a baaad little boy, I am sooo sowweee, weally I am!” and you automatically get trotted off the Heaven to decide if you want to be a sadistic, baby-raping murderer all over again. Or maybe play the role of Hitler or Pol Pot all over again. But hey, that’s A-OK with God, cause it’s just a learning experience. And hey, you over there, you chose to be an infant who is sodomized to death, cause you just had to learn what that felt like. Can anyone say “Let’s Blame The Victim?”
The “let’s blame the victim” attitude of the book is what really made me find this book to be the worst kind of psychological abuse. The whole story arc takes the blame away from the worst dregs of society and dumps it right onto the victim, premising that the victim chose their own abuse, that they brought whatever happens to them into their own lives. It gives sanction to the worst that humanity has to offer, assuring them that, whatever they do, no matter how heinous, they just have to say the equivalent of “Oops, my bad” and they are off scott free. There is no judge or jury in Heaven. So, does that mean when Jews get to heaven they get to share a meal and a giggle with Hitler and reminisce about the good old days?
As a Redeemer, she offers the soon-to-be-departed one last chance to atone for their sins. I didn’t really give that line all that much thought, and I apparently should have, because when I got into the book I came to a point of wanting to gouge my eyes out with a dull spoon. If this is the author’s concept of “God” I will take the courts any day. They may not always get it right, but at least they try.
All in all, the book mouthed platitudes about “loving one another” and still managed to make it perfectly acceptable to do whatever you want, no matter how depraved, with impunity. If you have ever been a victim, of physical, mental, emotional or even financial misconduct of others, I encourage you not to read this book unless you are into self-flagellation and blaming yourself for your treatment at the hands of others.