Tag Archives: supernatural

The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

 

“To know ourselves and, in turn, to endure the perpetual reminder of our solitude. To be cast out. To wander alone.”  ~~Andrew Pyper in The Demonologist

From Lauren’s Perspective:

Oddly enough, it was the advertising for this book that drew me in.  This doesn’t usually happen to me, as I am not usually the type of person to notice advertising without it being thrown in my face.  But the truth was, this book was sort of thrown in my face.  The advertising wasn’t particularly clever, but it was everywhere.  Every time I walked onto the subway I would see this bright red book cover staring back at me.  Every time I walked into a book store I would see a poster exclaiming “coming soon from Andrew Pyper”.  So finally, after having been bombarded with images of this supposedly amazing book, I took the time to read about it, and in a simple blurb about the book, I knew I had to read it.  I even knew that I would love it.

The plot was perfectly complex without being too hard to follow.  The books premise is based around Professor David Ullman’s strange encounter with a “thin woman” who sends him on a journey that results in the disappearance of his daughter.  The premise is, of course, much more complicated then that, but that sentence essentially sums up the plot.  The intricacies that follow this story, including the ever present link to Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as the texts religious overtones are more than enough to keep you turning page after page after page.  From the first chapter, I couldn’t put the book down, which is exactly how I enjoy my books.  Intriguing, interesting, intricate.

The characters were as interesting as the plot.  Professor Ullman, our stories protagonist, was a doting father, studious professor who excelled in all things Milton while remaining a devout atheist, and a generally likable guy.  He suffered a few tragedies that sent him on a misguided mission which resulted in his whole world being turned even more upside down than it already was.  His faults gave him character and his strengths gave him charm.  Ullman’s main counterpart, O’Brien, was a likable know-it-all, who came off in a pretentious manner, but one that you could relate to and even wish to have as a friend in your own life.  She was the antithesis of Ullman’s cheating ex-wife, and the romantic undertones of their relationship was a pleasure to read because they didn’t detract from the books main message, but instead added to the depth of the characters and their need for comfort in times of fear, rather than their need to be loved.  Even the books secondary characters were well written.  Tess, though she appears very briefly before being lost to a mysteriously “unnamed” dark force, is a precocious eleven year old with a brain as big as her fathers.  She seems like the perfect daughter, if at times slightly moody.  My only complaint would be in the character of “the pursuer”.  He was mysterious to a fault.  His purpose in the story never fully grasped.  Who did he work for?  Why did he do it?  Was he human or other?  What made him care so much about the life of David Ullman?  These questions were skirted around but never directly resolved, so I found his presence slightly frustrating.  All other secondary characters in the book were well used and in some cases, incredibly creepy.  No one was there without purpose.

Moving on to Pyper’s writing style, I would call it more than adequate.  There was nothing spectacular or mind-blowing about it, but there was nothing disappointing in it either.  Sometimes a book can’t be all about perfecting the English language, sometimes it has to be about the story first and the words second, and in a book that entwines Paradise Lost with demonology with a cross-country spiritual journey to find a missed loved one, the story had to come first.  This is not a fault.  If the language had been too convoluted, the reader would have easily gotten lost among the words and been unable to follow this fascinating, and actually terrifying story.

Pyper’s tale has been related to Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code, but I think this is doing him a disservice.  Pyper is a much better writer than Brown, in my opinion, although both can surely tell an interesting story.  To me, Pyper’s writing is more similar to that of Steven King, in style and in story line.  There was just enough horror and scenes of spine chilling terror that fans of King would feel right at home within Andrew Piper’s words.

All in all, The Demonologist was definitely a good book and definitely worth the quick read.  Just be prepared to sleep with the night light on.

Rating

Plot – 4/5
Writing/Style/Form – 4/5
Characters – 4/5
Enjoyment/Entertainment Value – 4/5

Overall Score – 16/20

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A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

It begins with absence and desire.  It begins with blood and fear.  It begins with a discovery of witches.” – By Deborah Harkness in A Discovery of Witches

From Lauren’s Perspective: 

A Discovery of Witches is the first novel in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.  It follows the life of Diana Bishop, a would-be witch, who is against using her magical powers ever since her parents death.  A series of odd occurances and chance meetings turn her world upside down until Diana becomes the most wanted person in the supernatural world.

It was the books intriguing back cover that pulled me in and made me a fervent reader of what was held within its pages, but oddly enough, what was written on the back barely covered what actually occurred in this novel.  The novel sold itself as a story of a witch who chooses to ignore her history of witchcraft and instead prove herself without it.  It sells itself as a supernatural thriller about a very old manuscript that makes itself known to the heroine of the story.  But to me, more than anything, this book was little more than a grown up version of the Twilight Series.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoyed this book immensely and plan to read the rest of the series, however there were some definite similarities between the two.  There were, however, a number of stark differences as well.

Similarity:  Matthew, just like Edward, resists his temptation for the heroine at the beginning by trying to stay away from her.  He realizes quickly that he will be unable to.

Similarity:  Both couples abstain from sex.

Similarity: Both couples seem to enlist the rage of every single supernatural force in the known world.

Similarity:  Diana seems to make similar bad decisions as Bella, although not to the same degree of stupidity, that end up putting her in grave danger time and time again.

Similarity:  Every time Diana is in danger, Matthew goes into a rage and immediately blames himself.

Similarity: Both couples are prepared to spend their lives together after only a couple weeks of knowing one another.

Similarity:   The story revolved around the love of a woman and a vampire.

Difference:  Bella and Diana could not be more different in character.  Diana is incredibly intelligent, self-sufficient, courageous and independent   Bella is not.

Similarity:  The story’s hero is a vampire named Matthew.  He is a control freak who wants to keep Diana in line.   He is like this because he is a vampire and it is in their nature.

Difference:  While Matthew is controlling and attempts to tell Diana exactly what to do at all times, does creepy things like breaking into her apartment, smelling her when she’s hungry, and watching her sleep; he does let up of most of the controlling elements by the end of the first novel.  Knowing that Diana is as independent and self-sufficient as she is, he quickly realizes that she will not simply lay down and follow his orders.  He never totally loses his possessive ways, but unlike Edward, they do diminish a lot.  He does allow Diana to grow into her own powers.

Difference:  Deborah Harkness is very obviously incredibly intelligent.  She has a broad vocabulary which she uses to its full potential and she obviously did a lot of research in order to write this book.  She writes in depth about history, alchemy, science, magic, and geography.  She writes in depth about everything.  This is the exact opposite of Stephanie Meyers, who realistically could have told her entire story in one book rather than four had she taken out her overused phrases and recycled descriptions.  While Harkness is clearly a superior writer, she does tend to overwrite in areas.  The 700+ page book could have been told sufficiently in half the pages.  It is still far superior to Twilight in both writing style and intellect.  You won’t feel as though you have lost brain cells after reading this “version” of the vampire love story.

Having said all of this, the book is well worth a read.  While there are many similarities to the Twilight Saga, it is also completely different.  Harkness gives the reader useful world knowledge in the middle of her supernatural love story that are well placed and make you think.  For instance, she writes, “As far as I can tell there are only two emotions that keep the world spinning year after year…One is fear. The other is desire.”  Matthew spends much of the novel proving this point time and time again.  He has spent his life trying to prove this theory, and has had an incredibly long life to do so.  It is these moments of deep thought that take the novel miles above anything Stephanie Meyer could have hoped for.  In the search for the lost manuscript the novel asks “What is the point of life?” time and time again.  

The book is interesting and extremely well written, my only criticism is its length because I feel as though some of the descriptiveness in the story’s intellectual matter was a little dry at parts.  Otherwise, if you like the supernatural, and if you are like me and have always loved a good vampire love story, definitely give this series a read.  Unlike Twilight, you may just learn something.

Rating

Plot – 3 out of 5
Writing/Style/Form – 3.5 out of 5
Characters – 4 out of 5
Enjoyment/Entertainment Value – 4 out of 5 

Overall Score – 14.5 out of 20


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