Friday, May 13, 2011

The Reapers Are The Angels- Alden Bell

And you could say the world had gone to black damnation, and you could say the children of Cain are holding sway over the good and the righteous-but here's what Temple knows: She knows that whatever hell the world went to, and whatever evil she's perpetrated her own self, and whatever series of cursed misfortunes brought her down here to this island to be harbored away from the order of mankind, well, all those things are what put her there that night to stand amid the Daylight Moon and the Miracle of the Fish-which she wouldn't of got to see otherwise.

See, God is a slick god. he makes it so you don't miss out on nothing you're supposed to witness firsthand.

From the very first page of this book, you know you are in for something special.

The Reapers Are The Angels is not a book I would have picked up on my own. I really have no interest in the subject matter, finding it to be too goofy and gross, ridiculous and repulsive, foolish and foul. I saw some reviews on the internet, reviews so positive I had to check it out for myself and for this I am forever grateful because this is perhaps the most beautiful, poetic, emotionally ravaging book ever written about a post-Zombie apocalypse world.

When we first meet Temple, she is living in a lighthouse on a remote island, alone with her memories of an older man who gave her a home for awhile and a younger brother she loved, both of whom are long dead, both of whom she couldn't save. Forced to return to the mainland and human interactions, we follow her on a journey through the remains of a world she never knew (having been born after the slugs took over the world). One the way, she makes enemies who want her dead and friends who can only do so much to keep her alive. She is tortured by the mistakes she made which led to the deaths of those she loved and she is tortured by her guilt at the evil she feels she now wreaks upon the world. And she is able to relish the moments of beauty in the world made ugly beyond imagination

Temple watches. The god she knows is too big to need the supplication of the puny wanderers of the earth. God is a slick character, with magics beyond compare--like the lights that tempt you into the belly of the beast, or sometimes other lights, like the moon and the glowing fish, that lead you back out again.

I never wanted this book to end. I loved the ending and, yet, I wanted so much for it to be otherwise. Temple gets her happy ending, but it isn't one where she gets her brother back, and though the whole point of the book is that it is a bad thing when people come back from the dead, I found myself wishing it could be otherwise. Because Temple really deserved a life free from that pain. Yet if she had had it, she may never have been able to see all the miracles of her world.

She is thinking how he died once in her mind already, and how he came back to life to sit here talking with her here in this abandoned little town in Texas. And that leads her thinking about the nature of all things, about how dead things have trouble staying dead, and forgotten things have trouble staying forgotten, and about how history isn't something from an encyclopedia- it's everywhere you look.

You have to read this book. The beauty of the language will make you swoon, the ugliness of the world in which Temple lives will make you despair, and her pain will make you cry hard tears which burn your skin. And every page is filled with truths spin you around and then smack you right between the eyes.

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