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The Corruption: The Age of the Watchers: Book 1 (The Lost Histories of Eden) (Volume 1) Paperback – May 9, 2014
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About the Author
Jason Reinoehl is easy-going, unless the Kansas City Chiefs are losing again. For him, football begins with the draft and ends with the Superbowl. He enjoys traveling and has spent time abroad. Years ago, he lived in France and studied French, but he claims to have forgotten it all. Ancient history, Chinese history during the three kingdoms era, World War II history, and Biblical prophecy are his favorite subjects. Jennifer Reinoehl is a jack-of-all-trades freelance author. When she is not writing, she can be found checking out stacks of books at the local libraries. She obtained both a degree in Biology and a degree in Theatre. She enjoys national and international travel. In her spare time, she volunteers with organizations that teach children and improve their self-confidence.
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It turns out fallen angels might just be a tad jealous of all the transient joys that befall a human being. None of them mentioned doughnuts but I know better.
So, Adam and Eve are exiled from the Garden of Eden and settle in Siriad. Fast forward some generations, cherubim are planning a mutiny whereby they will subject people to servitude. The angels want a lifestyle of power and indulgence, and who can blame them. The plot starts with them persuading Ralaen to kill his brother for not allowing a human-angel wedding, and some dodgy discussions on how to orchestrate a mutiny. Looks like angels are not so angelic after all.
But I am not here to reveal the plot.
I was unable to get engrossed in the story for a multitude of characters introduced one by one. Dozens, if not hundreds, vague mythology-inspired names dot the pages of this novel. I actually quite admired the inventiveness, but it fails to help the reader come out of the confused maze to relax and simply enjoy the story. I secretly dub this phenomenon ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ because I cannot differentiate between the persons mentioned as they all seem as vapid as one another. I’d prefer to get closer to the main heroes, their dreams and misgivings, their internal and external conflicts of character. Here, there is little scope to develop any of them and, consequently, ensure the reader’s emotional involvement. How can you root for heroes that you don’t know? I cannot say I found it hard to give a damn; I didn’t give a damn.
I would expect any novelist not to mention any non-essential characters by name and instead make them ‘part of the crowd’ or ‘some people / aliens / mutants / plumbers / comfort eaters / couch potatoes / leech collectors / pimps’ etc.
On top of that, the reader needs to work out some new invented words which cannot be found in the dictionary, and remember what they mean to understand the story. And believe me, I am the biggest fan of fancy, obscure words, but ones that exist and can actually be useful in some contexts. To illustrate further, let’s take ‘The Clockwork Orange’ for example. I hated the guts of it. The Nadsat speak detracted from the story. It was like trying to figure out the colour of the walls while groping around in complete darkness. There was no reward at the end of the journey, the reward being newly learned words I could actually use in speech or writing.
For the above reasons, I found the plot difficult to follow and felt brainwashed towards the end.
Having said that, this novel has lot of going for it. I enjoyed the basic premise and any locales, landscapes that came to me whilst imagining the scenes. Whenever I managed to ignore the effect of the endless new names, I would notice that the writing style was very nice indeed.
I felt that the authors could accomplish a lot if they only thought about their reader and how not to confuse them.
This new biblical mythology could capture attention and imagination like no other given a bit more editing and some fewer characters.
The review pledge occurred before I understood that this 400 page missive was an imaginative expansion of the first seven lines of Chapter 6 of the Book of Genesis. The book addresses the period after banishment from the Garden of Eden and before the Flood. A series called the Lost Histories of Eden is being created of which this book, The Corruption:The Age of the Watchers is Volume 1. The world building in this book rivals that of the boldest science fiction novels set on imagined faraway planets. Imagination did not limit these authors. Heaven is described as an efficient bureaucracy. The book has angels descending from the heavens to earth on beams of light, talking horses with attitude, elevators, and air ships - all before Noah built his Ark.
The talking horse, Fury, amused me greatly. Here is one of his lines: “'Hey, look, no reason to get jumpy. Classic humans– come to lend them aid and this is the reception you get.' The entire group gasped. In front of them, stood a red steed with an onyx mane."
This book threw me for a loop because I first tried to read it as if it was a novel. While there are characters and a plot, there is no sense of constraint limited plot twists. In conventional novels, it is not a compliment when someone points out deus ex machina in the plot. In this book, our heroes are saved by deus ex deus on multiple occasions. When you know that the good guys will be saved no matter how bad things look, the tension evaporates. When anything can be invented at any convenient time, it is difficult to maintain any sense of suspension of disbelief.
Another key element in my consideration of fiction is the agency of main characters. When I read, I want characters that have a sense of themselves and make decisions and take actions to get what they want. Too many of the fallen angels all have the same motives - enjoy earthly delights. Too many of the humans who are tempted have the same issue - jealousy. The good guys all seem to have the same motivation - to follow the ways of the Almighty.
The only element of tension is how the good guys respond to questions like this one: “What would Enosh have us do? Trust in our ramparts or trust in the Almighty?”
Invention was not restricted to the plot. New words were constantly being introduced. Here is a partial list: okale, uturra, gurmidnum, ninda, opsarap, ushumgal, and gankiri.
The world in this book is Eden, the part outside of the Garden, and its score of cities. Two hundred angels disappointed that they are doomed to serve man for eternity, decide they'd prefer some worldly delights. Halel (Satan) works with them to move to the earthly realm. The 200 then begin a systematic process of tempting the city leaders with knowledge and technology in exchange for women and the right to rule. Siriad, the city of Seth and Goodness, is a hold out. Surrounded by cities that sold out and now have greater technology, the Siriads send a handful into the stronghold of the bad guys to see what they are up against. It wouldn't be giving anything away to say who succeeds but there is no way to guess how.
It is obvious that lots of work went into writing this book. Some of the fight scenes are quite vivid.
For those who might enjoy fantasy based on the Bible, this might be something to read.