Monoland is not heaven or hell. It’s a place somewhere in between. The World with no colors, but full of possibilities. Events that are changing the perception and paradigm of existence for ones who step into this plane. The monochrome world where newcomers break bonds with past life, apprentices study the crafts of three factions working for the good of Grey and Colored worlds. We step in at the last minutes of man’s life, but that is where his journey begins.
The rendition of the afterlife put forward by this author is one of my most favorite. I have to admit that at first I was a bit disappointed that the afterlife described in the book replicated that of the one we live in. I pondered, why would one want to replicate the life before death and the dull routines and ineffective hierarchies thereof when the opportunities to build anew and better are plentiful? I got to realize that it is because we are immersed into the realities of the purgatory level, the grey and the dull, in this particular story. My suspense was that there is more to come and there is indeed; I can't wait to read the second book in the series -- Monoland: The Shimmering Mist. If the renderings of hell and paradise are in the making by this author, I am impatiently awaiting to get immersed in them as well.
If you find the story to be a bit slow for you, make sure to keep on reading. I developed a dear appreciation of the Owen-Dizz duo by page 100 or so. With each page and chapter, the story and narration get stronger and stronger, soaking you in, wanting to know more about the grey world and its inhabitants...
I loved all the death impressions and clever use of words - "the ever-grey trees", "liquid darkness", "warmies" and "stay warm a little longer" and many more.
What is death? In this new book by E. A. Minin, we follow a young recently deceased soul named Owen through his lessons in Purgatory, the Gray Horizon, where things are neither colorful as in life, nor light or dark as in what’s above and below. The best, most vibrant souls who lived life to the fullest go up when they die, while the ones who’ve been dead shells walking and caused others to have less joy fall below. Everyone else ends up in the Gray Horizon.
Minin does an amazing job of expressing his immersive world of the dead. The world is shown to us through the lessons Owen must learn as he follows his ‘curator’ Dizz. We learn the Gray Horizon is a place where you take on tasks given to you by a colorless bureaucracy in order to ‘level up’. It’s particularly sad seeing Owen have to help his mother let go of him once he’s died. Afterwards, Owen gets a stamp on his ‘passport’ and more areas of the afterlife open up to him and he moves to level two. Owen learns about the various jobs and abilities that members of Purgatory have. Owen has a difficult time navigating relationships and understanding the motivations of the souls he encounters. In many ways, the land of the Gray Horizon isn’t much different from our own.
Owen makes various pronouncements throughout the book, such as “Death is Absurd”, “Death is frank”, “Death is bureaucratic”, all the way to the final one: Death is the boss. The book does start off a bit slow and takes about three chapters to pick up pace. I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to those who enjoy metaphysical and philosophical questions about death and the afterlife.