By reading Eternity Embraced I was hoping to finally finish the series with Ecstasy Unveiled. Unfortunately, dipping my toes back into the Demonica universe again with Eternity Embraced wasn't the motivator I was hoping it to be.
I expected too much, for starters. This is a mid-series short story - those can be notoriously unfulfilling. Adding 'paranormal romance' into the mix can result in tired cliches, which I've apparently outgrown. On the positive side, the couple were together before the events in this story take place, meaning there's no 'love at first sight'. On the other hand, these characters are completely new and hail from an Aegis Guardian cell in Portland, bringing little to the Demonica universe which is primarily based in New York City, though the main couple featured in the debut novel do appear at the end.(less)
On paper, the effect of this Returnee's reappearance had the potential to be h...more*Cross-posted on BookLikes and Wordpress.
A great idea poorly executed.
On paper, the effect of this Returnee's reappearance had the potential to be heart-wrenching as a 37-year-old man attempts to solve a life-changing dilemma: to continue with his present life with a wife and child, or leave them for his 17-year-old first love who disappeared, and was presumed dead, 20 years ago.
I really wanted to like it but the writing is rushed and choppy. (view spoiler)[The inclusion of his wife's affair was incongruous, over the top and seemed like it was added at the last minute to lessen any guilt Peter might feel if he decided to leave Samantha for Tracy. (hide spoiler)]
The Choice ended (view spoiler)[logically (hide spoiler)], the way I thought it would, albeit in a rough and rushed manner. However, unlike in the other prequels, we experience nothing from the Returnee's perspective except the effect she has on her mother via her anxious phone calls to Peter.
From the quality of writing in The Sparrow, I know Jason Mott can do better. I just hope The Returned embodies the skill I know he possesses.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The Sparrow is a huge improvement over its predecessor The First. Whereas The First serves as an introduction to a world where the dead suddenly return alive, The Sparrow delves into the moral issues that arise from it. Are the Returned human? Are they still the people they were when they died? How is this possible: Is it magic or can science explain it? And do we sacrifice our humanity in seeking the answers to these questions?
Married couple Heather and Matt face these questions when they discover Returned little girl Tatiana. Heather embraces the child, accepting and caring for her while husband Matt treats the Returnee as a thing to be exploited:
"These things aren't people. They're something else. And if there's a way for us to capitalize on this, then I'm all for that."
Heather is appalled at his reaction but replies with compassion, hoping to change his mind:
"If I could see my mother again... If my mother somehow shows up in all of this, if I get a call that she's been found in some far-off part of the world, I'd pray to God that the person who finds her would take care of her, that they would get her back to me, that they would have the decency to let me decide whether or not she was real, whether or not I could love her again."
Fear and uncertainty in the face of this bizarre phenomenon is to be expected, but the actions taken driven by these feelings have shown to be, in some cases, unaccountably violent and homicidal. In an attempt to understand Matt's rejection of Tatiana, Heather believes that since he's never experienced loss, he's unable to reconcile what the Returned can mean to those left behind in their grief:
'Heather was certain that Matt's problem with Tatiana stemmed from the fact that he had never lost anyone. Both of his parents were still alive. His brothers and sisters, even his grandparents, were all still alive. He had never known the loneliness of waking in the middle of the night from a dream of spending time with a mother who had been dead nearly a decade.'
The object of contention, Tatiana, is shown to be a normal human child and nothing indicates that she is otherwise. She possesses memories of her former life with loving parents, who took it in turns to make up bedtime stories to entertain her. Unfortunately her short life, and that of her mother's, was cut short when violence came to her home in what I assumed to be the Rwandan genocide in 1994, leaving her father bereft and alone (who was away at the time, helping those in need).
I'm definitely looking forward to the next installments of this series.(less)
Realistic portrayals of the bureaucratic response to an unexplainable event and the emotional turmoil experi...more*Cross-posted on BookLikes and Wordpress.
Realistic portrayals of the bureaucratic response to an unexplainable event and the emotional turmoil experienced if you were to find out a dead loved one was in fact alive, drew me in as the scene was set for the rest of the series.
However, upon finishing, I was left feeling a mild mixture of indifference and curiosity, reminding me of the way short stories in anthologies are written; leaving what comes next, or reasons for what takes place, up to the imaginations of readers. Although the last sentence is ominous, indicating a not-so-happy ending.
As I own the other currently published installments in this series, I'll definitely be continuing, especially as there's a TV series based on it in the works.(less)