SciFi / Fantasy / Horror
by Criss Velazquez
Plot: Velazquez's intriguing novel would certainly be strengthened through a more streamlined focus and reorganization. Overall, the work is weakened by convoluted plotting, while its narrative pacing lacks consistency – the world takes too long to be interrupted from its norm, and then proceeds with relentless action, resulting in a somewhat imbalanced narrative structure.
Prose/Style: While the dialogue is lively and sincere, the prose is rather basic in execution, lacking descriptive qualities to bring the reader into the atmosphere of the book.
Originality: Bringing Hell to the reader, this book’s premise is fascinating, but lacks in delivery, losing its promise between a confusing plot and flat characters.
Character Development: The protagonist, Landon, is ultimately overshadowed by the complementary characters, who are provided greater internal development. More attention given to the cast as a whole would better allow the rich machinations of the storyline to resonate with invested readers.
by Steve Meddaugh
Plot/Idea: The concept that biblical angels and demons intervene in the lives of individuals to drive them to heavenly redemption or the damnation of hell is ambitious. The work’s premise is not developed convincingly, however, and has very little traction for the story’s contemporary characters and its setting in modern Tacoma.
Prose: Meddaugh’s prose is solidly crafted and workmanlike. It gets the job done for the story it tells, but neither style or language usage allows the work to stand apart. The theological discussions of religious faith that punctuate the story’s dialogue eventually become repetitive and distracting.
Originality: This novel is a Bible story for adults and thus part of a long-established tradition of tales in which heavenly and infernal entities battle for the souls of humans. Its most original stroke is misdirecting the reader to believe initially that Dante, the being characterized as a demon who wants his human victims to give up their religious faith, in fact depends on them to believe in God.
Character/Execution: The characters in this novel have potential for growth, but are not well developed. Lucas Daniels is a predictably fallible husband and father with a wife and family that don’t effectively materialize. The angels and demons are not convincingly anthropomorphized and their direct interactions with the human characters at the novel’s end are wildly improbable.