Katie's Reviews > The Kingdom: A Berkeley Blackfriars Novel

The Kingdom by John R. Mabry
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's review
Jun 18, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, horror, religion
Read in June, 2011

The writing is really bad. Like, hilariously bad. The style of the first few sections creates the characters as caricatures -- goofy lgbtq drama queens with enough issues to fill hours of therapy, with complete irreverence for but curiously solid mastery of their art. The majority of the exposition is "tell" instead of "show", so you're nearly always completely aware that you're reading a book, and it's hard to get a real feeling for what's going on and whether or why the characters care. It's a total shame, because the story idea itself (the case they solve) is completely compelling. The author lives directly in the community he's set the story in; he shouldn't need to use so many 2x4s to open that world to the reader. There is some real power in many of the character interactions, and in what the blackfriars' church is able to do for people in the story who thought that a church would be the last place they'd be able to find solace. It's just drowned in bad dialogue, mechanical descriptions of rituals and mealtimes and emotional states, and heavy-handed two-dimensional faggy stereotypes.

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