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Who Wants to be The Prince of Darkness? Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2016
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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"Michael Boatman writes like a visitor from hell. Someone out on short term leave for bad behavior. I love this stuff. He's one of the new, and more than promising, writers making his mark, and a dark and wonderful mark it is." - Joe R. Lansdale; "Reading this book was definitely an interesting experience. If you are a someone who likes to read about gods, gods fighting, zombies, parallel worlds, voodoo and so forth, this is definitely a book for you." - Open Book Society --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Michael Boatman spends his days and nights pretending to be other people. For a living.
He’s acted in television shows – China Beach, Spin City, ARLI$, Anger Management, Instant Mom,The Good Wife – films – Hamburger Hill, The Glass Shield, Bad Parents – and Broadway plays.
After many years in his chosen profession he’s decided to chuck it all and seek his fortune as a writer. (Just kidding. He secretly dreams of changing the world as a talkative mime.)
Michael Boatman Online: www.michaelboatman.us | @MichaelBoatman_ on Twitter | Facebook | IMDB.com
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Thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot Books for the advanced copy which I voluntarily reviewed. This exact review will also be posted on Goodreads.
Goodreads Teaser: "Lucifer is enjoying his retirement in an obscure corner of Limbo when he learns of a plot by Gabriel, the current ruler of Hell, to use humanity's greatest weapon against it - Television!
Cue the hottest reality game-show ever conceived:Who Wants To Be The Prince of Darkness? Gabriel orchestrates an "Infernal takeover" of Earth by stealing unwitting mortal souls and sending them to a mostly empty Hell, hoping to reinvigorate the Infernal Realm.
Now Lucifer must find a champion to seize control of Hell and free millions of stolen mortal souls before the theft becomes permanent. But who would ever want to be Hell's champion?"
Upon reading this book I rapidly came to the conclusion that the teaser is misleading. Lucifer doesn't look for a contestant to participate in the game show, but he does find a champion. The problem is the champion is completely clueless and for some of the time an unwitting player. But of course we are talking about Lucifer, so it's not much of a surprise that things aren't as they seem.
Gabriel is bitterly angry at Lucifer, and channels his anger into completely revamping Hell once he is the uncontested ruler of the realm after Lucifer's retirement. One of the more popular aspects of his overhaul is in modeling Hell after Earth. And since demons want to experience living on Earth more than anything, Gabriel finds a way to start slipping more in. Through the agency of an obscenely popular TV game show his nefarious plan works brilliantly. It begins with a trickle of demons replacing the human souls, but rapidly becomes a flood when they see how oblivious humanity is to the growing threat. Without doubt this is a not so subtle commentary on the mind numbing, thought-deadening qualities of TV.
Quite the creative and entertaining story, filled with ridiculous quirks of all kinds, as well as characters of all kinds - quite literally. The story begins in such a way that it seems it may be a parody of a parody, functioning as a way to set the stage for the story to come. After the first few chapters we meet one Manray Mothershed, self help guru to the modern world, though he prefers to refer to his teachings as self actualization. It's through Manray that the story is brought into the present and begins to move forward. As he stumbles into some sort of understanding of his new situation he begins meeting other characters that also become pivotal to the story.
The characters are entertaining, though sometimes a tad confusing. With everyone from Hell having a reversed morality and thus reversing things like swearing and blaspheming it can be challenging to figure out which sentiments belong to who. But those few bumps aside the concept of the book is more than solid, and the creativity is delicious. As Manray and company become fleshed out so to does the plot, both pulling the other forward and flinging the story along, rather like being the whip at the end of an ice skating line. And there are plot twists aplenty, though the tale is strange enough not to really need them. Certainly not your average tales about Hell!
I will admit that I was hesitant to request this book because I was not particularly fond of <em>Last God Standing</em>, author Michael Boatman's previous book. But I think it's only fair to give an author more than one read, and I typically really like the books published by Angry Robot.
In <em>Who Wants to Be the Prince of Darkness?</em>, Lucifer is in retirement when he hears that Gabriel (the current underworld ruler) wants to model hell after earth and he starts recruiting souls through the mind-numbing medium that is television. More specifically, through a game-show.
To fight back, and to keep his precious hell the way it was meant to be, Lucifer seeks out a champion to fight for all that is hellacious. But Lucifer's Chosen One doesn't seem to know that he's in a fight, or if he does, he doesn't seem to understand what it's all about. But it does seem that maybe Lucifer has something up his sleeve.
My first issue with the book is the humor. Every comic or humorist has a 'voice' - a specific sound that is unique to them. And as an audience member/reader, I'm going to react differently depending on how that voice works for me. Boatman's humor voice does not work for me. It just didn't feel natural. I felt that I could hear the author and not the character, trying to say things just to be funny or clever. When I come across something like this, it usually has the opposite effect on me. I'm annoyed that someone keeps trying to be funny when they are not.
My second issue with the book is focus. I could tell that the story was making sense to the author, but it was pure labor for me, as reader, to follow the characters and to make sense of what was happening (and often I didn't care to). Different chapters have a different character's view-point. This is okay, it's not a unique device. But it does challenge the cohesive nature of the story-telling.
It doesn't help that the characters tended to sound the same. If you aren't paying close attention to the chapter headings, you will become more confused, not quite sure who is telling the story. Normally you should be able to tell based on the characters and their speech habits and patterns. Good luck with that.
The characters here are familiar, in a caricature sense, but otherwise dull. There was no one that I wanted to care about or to root for.
Typically I really like well-written humor in my fiction. Subtle, dark, devious ... even better. But humor is really hard to pull off, especially at a novel length. Think Richard Hooker, or Joseph Heller, or, closer to home in the fantasy/sci-fi genre, Ron Goulart or Robert Aspirin. But if a book relies on its humor to carry it, and that humor doesn't flow, then the book will struggle to find its footing. Such is the case here.
Looking for a good book? Michael Boatman's Who Wants to Be the Prince of Darkness? is a darkly humorous fantasy set in and around Hell, but it fails to grab attention or truly entertain.
<h6>I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.</h6>
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Unfortunately, the blurb on this one is rather misleading, and I admit I was...Read more