Thursday, June 8, 2017

This Way To Death . . . .

I hate being redundant but here goes:

Whenever I tell people that I'm a thanatologist, I get several responses:

The Blank Stare

The "you need a boyfriend" look

The throwing of holy water on me (okay, that's never happened . . . yet)

In any case, thanatology is a subject that most do not want to talk about. What happens to us when we die? Do we just become worm food, or perhaps we reach the Pearly Gates? Are we stuck in Limbo until we are born again?

Brom, may the Dark Gods adore him, has created an answer that made me want to believe in it. Welcome to Lost Gods. This story transcends the Dark Fantasy subgenre and becomes something else, something more tangible and fearful than we can ever imagine.

The story is thus: average guy Chet Moran has just left jail (again), yet this time, he wants to do the right thing. Trading in his old clunker for something more reliable, he makes his way to pick up his pregnant girlfriend, Trish, in the hope that she will run away with him to become his wife. She does, and the two travel to his grandmother's home in remote South Carolina. They are welcomed by the loving(?) grandmother named Lamia and given a place of refuge as long as they need it. Yet, all is not right in this pretty picture, and soon Chet must literally die to save the life of his wife and child.

The majority of the book takes place in the netherworld a la Brom, filled with mysterious robed women who are protectors, bottles of alcohol that will make you forget everything, a rising group of souls who want to free themselves from the gods of old, and battles fought between darkness and "not as dark". The netherworld that Chet encounters welcomes him with poison drenched hands and tongues that are black and rotting. Chet rises up to the challenge, proving that it takes more than Death to keep him from the ones that he loves. I loved the fact that Chet was a flawed hero. I honestly did not expect for him to succeed in his task. Not only did he succeed but he also changed to something harder and more mature. He becomes more human than human (thank you White Zombie!) because he risks it all for the woman who loves him.

This book grabbed me from page one and did not let go of me, even after closing the book once completed. Brom extended his mastery of the Darkness from art to words and it shows. I completely forgot at times that Chet was in the LAND OF THE DEAD, that everyone he encountered was dead. The "life" that exuded from the netherworld reminded me of the film The Corpse Bride - how the land of the living was dreary and dull, while the land of the dead was simply not. I've been a fan of Brom's art for years, yet now I want to read all of his other works. I know I won't be disappointed.


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