Reviewing ‘The Age of Apollyon,’ drunkenly: Bottle #2

****SPOILERS EVERYWHERE ‘CAUSE I FEEL LIKE LAYIN’ IT ALL OUT*** (That better, Mark?)

I had to take a nap after the second bottle. Guys, I do not have the constitution for drunk blogging. On the bright side, two bottles per book may not have been as bad a guess as I thought. The tropeage lightened up once Carver quit expositioning and got the plot fired up, so I was able to make it through all but the last few pages, and I finished those anyway.

Carver finally started playing with tropes and reversing expectations. Yay, he is not as shitty as I feared! I instituted a new, non-drinky category, which I called cookies, because he gets a cookie for doing story good.

And we have a new character, a so-far-nameless woman in black whom I picture like this:

I think that’s all that needs to be said about her, because she didn’t break that character at all. And I have a sneaking suspicion she’s the possessed Isabella, Tourec’s presumed-dead love. Yes, the suggestion was helped because of Lust’s backstory in the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime, even though it was Scarbro and not Scar that she was shipped with.

Anyhoozle, plot happens because Patric is threatened with his unborn baby’s death if he doesn’t find his brother and bring him to Paris, which for some reason is the epicenter of Hell on Earth. Blahblah, he goes to the still-mostly-Christian rural parts of France to see his mother, from whom he hopes to learn the location of his brother, and we have some run-of-the-mill tropes of Christians being grandmotherly and good to everybody including Satanists even as they scorn them. Though there is this one priest who is smoking and drinking, whom Patric tries to blast for hypocrisy, but the priest says drinking and smoking for him aren’t sins, because they’re not practiced in rebellion of God, while Patric’s indulgences would be sins because he does practice them in rebellion. That is so fucking Catholic, I love it. Why can’t we have this guy for more than a few pages?

Probably the best cookie comes after Patric visits his disapproving mother and is reluctantly given the name of the monastery where Tourec took his education. He has a Satanic religious experience that mirrors a Christian religious experience with delicious, delicious irony.

Second-favorite cookie comes when Lust-lady murders a Satanic priest and his consorts in order to frame the Christian extremist assassins like Tourec, bringing more chaos and murder that is Satan’s real objective rather than Halloweeny Satanic bullshit that is bullshit. Which happens to be the point at the finale when Tourec kills the Voice of Satan and is later killed himself.

As I said, I know you’re trying to go beyond Satanic Panic bullshit, Carver, but it really doesn’t help that you grounded your story on that bullshit. If we’re supposed to be able to suspend our disbelief enough, Satanism should look like enough of a real threat, right? It just doesn’t. Satanism thus portrayed is too derivative of Catholicism/Christianity to seem like a valid ideological threat. It has no legs beefy enough to run us down with a chainsaw, so to speak.

Drink breakdown, while I was still drinking:

Satanic tropes: 38

Run-of-the-mill Christian tropes: 16

Sexist, racist, -ist tropes: 1, and this is more of a cumulative one because all the virgins to be deflowered at their “consecrations” [drink!] are all girls. That and the priestess consorts just really underline that most of this Satanism is just a flipped parallel for the Catholic church. There is pretty much nothing original, just reversal.

Post-drinky breakdown:

1 more Satanist trope, also we may have Satan Baby in the next book(s) [drink!].

Cookie tally: 8 drinky, 1 post-drinky

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3 thoughts on “Reviewing ‘The Age of Apollyon,’ drunkenly: Bottle #2

  1. Haha, that was fast. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. Not being as shitty as the reader fears is the best most authors can hope for 😛 And I’m glad you started to get an idea of what I was getting at. I wasn’t trying to make any grand evangelistic statement – it’s just a book (my first one; I’m working on my sixth now). And I can tell you’re going to be quite surprised by the other books in the trilogy.

    A little bit of trivia: my primary inspiration from the smothering melodrama and Satanic campiness came from the heavy metal band Powerwolf. Check ’em out, it’ll probably put a lot of things in perspective.

    Oh, one more thing: could you please put a spoiler alert warning before giving away the end of the story? It’s such a major twist, readers deserve to find out for themselves.

    Like

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