"I may not know how to fly but I know how to read and that's almost the same thing."-- Gregory Maguire, Out of Oz

"...while finding true love was one of the most splendid things that could happen to you in life, finding a friend was equally splendid." -- Felix J Palma, The Map of the Sky

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Devil's Lair by David Wisehart

A friar, a poet, an epileptic psychic, camping on a battlefield. Searching for a knight to guide them through the gates of Hell... The book starts dark and mysterious and quickly pulls the reader in. Pestilence is ravaging the countryside and three friends on a mission from God, are looking to descend into Hell... But here the book loses steam.

The prose is decent, dark and to the point; but David Wisehart makes a couple story-structure errors. First the Latin; no translation is offered with the Latin, and the sentences don't necessarily arrive at "Those Moments". You know those moments, the ones where the characters could speak any language they want and the meaning would be perfectly obvious. So if the book had been written without the Latin it would be almost exactly the same as the book with the Latin, except maybe a few sentences shorter. Second complaint about structure is in the poetry. Its cheesy. I skimmed the first few lines of each poem before moving on. Poetry adds nothing more than the Latin.

I did like the characters. I did like the first half of the book. There were things that were more shocking because of the author's quick, to the dark heart of matters, way of writing. Nadja's attacks, the bodies, the sickness and the suicides. But his writing style neglects to outline a decent reason for the going to Hell.

In the start, it's implied by the friar that they plan to stop the Fourth Horseman and spare humanity the end of the world. But then all this stuff with the Templar Knights and then the Holy Grail gets name dropped. Then when they're in Hell, the Monsters as are suspiciously easy to defeat, and there are a lot of famous dead people down there...And we stop. to talk. to each of them. Why? What purpose does it serve? Is it just to distract the reader from the fact the characters are speed walking through Dante's Inferno? I mean, I can see how the four, reuniting with people they knew could prove to be a trial; the temptation to reclaim those we love or something along those lines. But why did we need to converse with everyone's whose name we ever heard in Ancient Pop Culture?

And then, the character proceed to commit some odd acts in Hell, that might actually get them sent to Hell if they weren't already there. Peeing on, stoning, cursing, the already damned. Which doesn't quite fit with: "God is love. Hell is the absence of God. The torments you see are born of fear. But love drives out fear. We must carry love with us, like water to a desert, for we go to a place where there is no love." It doesn't sound like they entered Hell with love, it sounds like they entered with vengeance.

And then end was rushed; the author figuring out with only a few pages to go, that he needed to tie all these odd elements together and answer the dangling questions. This story started strong, with intriguing concepts and characters, but fizzled out when the story lost direction.

Rating: 2/5
Review's original post date:
Feb 23, 13

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