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Biblical Drama

By Robert Rodgers, author of The Last Skull

Aug 12, 2011: A Rosary of Stones and Thorns tells the story of Asrial, a recently ‘de-graced’ Judeo-Christian angel who was cast to earth for the crime of speaking in favor of forgiveness for Lucifer; with the help of a Jesuit priest and a handful of others, she’s slated to prevent the apocalypse.

Readers expecting either a gritty, subversive tale of Christian mythology gone violently wrong (ala The Prophecy)—or a bouncy, fun End Times satire (ala Good Omens)—are likely to be disappointed. The story is about relationships, divine or otherwise—and it treats its subject matter seriously.

The prose is sometimes over-indulgent (particularly when describing Heaven, Hell, and their various denizens), but if a smidge of purple doesn’t scare you, there’s still meat on the plate. Fans of emotionally driven pieces concerned with how people respond to each other will probably enjoy this. The narrative is entrenched in its characters’ heads, and rarely leaves—we’re given brief-but-clear glimpses of how each of them sees the world.

Its characters are the story’s primary strength: the naive Asrial, the self-deprecating Mephistopheles, the kind-hearted Jesuit priest, the merciless Michael. As an additional bonus, each chapter includes a piece of artwork at the top, which is a pleasantly refreshing touch. The pacing is slow, but doesn’t slog—we’re given time to make ourselves comfortable in each character’s skin. However, the language sometimes gets a little fuzzy; there were a few moments where I had to stop and reread a sentence, started to skim, or found a word that had wandered out of its paragraph and started messing up the place. Otherwise, things ran smoothly.

If you’re looking for a dose of literary peppersauce, look elsewhere; this story moves slow, deals with relationships, and has nary a single giant robot fight (coming soon to a theater near you: A Series Of Explosions Directed By Michael Bay). Not my kind of pop-stand, but maybe it’s yours. Recommended for anyone who likes Biblical drama.

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