January 7, 2007
I wouldn't find it easy to recommend this book to anyone either, as a couple have already mentioned. To be fair, this isn't an easy topic for a novel, much less any religious discussion (if one were to lecture on it, for instance), but there were too many problems in the book for it to be all that enjoyable a read. I'm used to overlooking such issues and giving books a better review than perhaps some have deserved, even if I keep those opinions to myself. But I've decided to give my first amazon review on this book, mainly as a balance for all the positive ones it's received so far...it deserves some more constructive cricism.
If you're one to be bothered by the unbibilical events and the like in the book, then I definitely wouldn't recommend it. What happens in the book doesn't make it so terrible, but I was not pleased with the way the angels seem to run everything in Heaven, as some other reviewers have also mentioned. I tried to get past that so that I could at least finish the book, but also what I found a hindrance and often an annoyance as well was the excessive descriptiveness of the environment and even the adornments and garments of the angels and places in heaven. I don't say it to be picky, but as a warning, just the way the author uses such words to describe everything in heaven, (often it seems everything has a jewel on it), to attempt to portray the beauty of the place or to make for better richness of her description of it seems that she's overcompensating for a lack of delivery in other areas, or just that there's too much emphasis on these material goods because she has no other way to describe the beauty of that realm. It helps that another review said that the book was originally a script for a movie, which would have helped with the descriptivenss of the text, but much of the detail could have actually been left out for the book itself. I got really lost in just trying to imagine these really fantastical places, in and outside of heaven. It really came across to me as highly materialistic, as if the emphasis should have been more on the visual and material wealth of heaven, as if all that was the beauty of that (hope that makes some sense). Some readers might not be annoyed by that at all though. And I agree with one review that mentioned the lack of continuity or even a certain connection between the prologue and the epilogue.
*Some spoilers* Though the story does have a few good points, just events or explanations that I kind of liked, such as painting Lucifer as the "author of death" when he killed his pet panther, it seemed to me that the characterization wasn't always that strong, not of Lucifer the deceiver, he didn't yet come across as the kind of mastermind I'd imagined him to be. And it wasn't too pleasing to read Gabriel as one who wavered in his loyalty to God and the Christos. Sure, the book's about the familial relationship between the three "brothers" and even does well enough in portraying Gabriel as the youngest of the three and therefore one to look up to Lucifer, and one to find it the most difficult (at times) to eschew Lucifer's advances and offers after the fall. But Gabriel did not at all come across as the strong, loyal and pure angel that he was even when he delivered the message to Mary before she was to conceive Jesus.
As was mentioned in some other reviews, especially the ones that gave the book fewer stars than most, which I do not disagree with, one problem I had with the story was the emphasis on the importance of DNA in the human race and the corruption of that DNA as the cause for the flood. It could make sense in some other ways, for one to kind of explain the cause for the Nephilim away, but it strays too much from Biblical truth, I believe, and that makes it less enjoyable, if not in some ways slightly disturbing. And the book had the angels handling way too much activity and decision-making processes in Heaven. Whenever there was a problem in Heaven or with the human race, it was always the angels who decided the solution for every situation, not God. God was nearly nonexistant. It was good that Christos had a place, but not as often as I would have liked or as would have made sense. And the angels had a place for science. It perhaps demonstrates the author's use of Enochian texts (as another reviewer mentioned) since there isn't much to go on from the Bible in regards to what angels knew of the practice anyway. It might be there to explain the origins of science (might happen later in the series), where humans might have obtained the knowledge from, but that the angels were working out specific equations even for the building of the ark (completely took out the part where God Himself gave those directions to Noah), and even with the DNA of Man shows too much of their involvement with the workings of the Universe, as if God were never even needed. It was all very weird.
I found the "Chronicles of the Host" series, by Brian Shafer, a much more enjoyable read. It covered the stories in the Bible from the perspective of the angels and had really great moments. I think it's a much better read if one wants to imagine what it might have been like amongst the angels, etc. That's the kind of book I'd recommend.