Reine, S.M.: Paradise Damned (The Descent VII) (2013)

Paradise Damned
Cover art by S.M. Reine
Model photo on cover by Marcus J. Ranum
Paradise Damned is the last novel in The Descent serial. Like all the rest, Paradise Damned is dark. We get plenty of violence. Part of that violence involves abuse of Elise in the Garden of Araboth.

SEPTEMBER 1, 5509 BCE

In the beginning, there was the earth, formless and empty. Darkness hung over the surface of the deep.

And then there was light.

It spilled over the waters, vast and powerful, and its creation severed the unity that had come before. This light was a separate entity from the darkness. Something novel and cruelly different.

The spirits called it “day.” Its opposite was called “night.” Between them was evening and morning – the First Day.

This division marked the end of peace in the universe.

Everything has been pretty much fucked up since then.”

S.M. Reine’s humour seems to fit mine just fine.

Half the fun of writing reviews is the preparatory work I do. This time I felt like checking out the ancient dates in Paradise Damned and ended up with the info at the bottom of this post.

I want to give S.M. Reine a special thanks for coming up with the old women of Oymyakon, Russia. No wonder these ladies are so tough. Oymyakon is so cold that it has the lowest recorded temperature of any permanent village (- 71.2 C). Brrr, not my kind of winter. Here, indeed, “Winter is coming”. Nothing phases these matriarchs. Give them hybrids or Malcolm, and they won’t hesitate to shoot either if they have to.

Paradise Damned is divided into four different stories that tie together. The first is from the good old ancient days, the next is from the good old days, the third is from Limbo with James and the last story occurs in Araboth 2010.

Longevity or immortality is a concept that I have found a lot of people would like to take part in. How would you stay sane? It seems to me that all the people around you would have to be immortal as well. Otherwise, you would have to watch loved ones die over and over all through “eternal life”. I see how people react to such losses already, and have to wonder how you could deal with it on such a time-scale.

Adam seems to stink at it. His one major loss gave him a liking for mayhem. Yatam and Yatai didn’t deal well with it either. In the end they got the release they sought. What about Adam? Will someone relieve him of the burden of life?

Elise is now back to her job of being a false Eve. She isn’t taking to it. Fighting against it brings grooming/training her way in the form of severe mental and physical torture. I wonder if her lifetime of abuse and pain is aiding her or hindering her in keeping hold of who she is?

Sometimes when I read stories about real life people who have gone through stuff like this (not the impossible things but the rest), I wonder how they managed to hold on to themselves through it all. I know it messed up my grandfather who was tortured during WWII. The post traumatic stress was so strong he tried to self-medicate to deal with the mental pain. The face he showed me as a child was that of a gentle and loving man who brought joy to my life. He managed to stay away from alcohol in his meeting with his grand-children.

Granted, Elise is make-believe, but not really. There are people out there who go through grooming/torture in order for another person to achieve some kind of result. Each and every one of these people will end up changed forever. While a lot of them will be able to hold on to themselves, some will not. The question in Paradise Damned is whether Elise manages to stay true to herself and her ideals in spite of what she goes through.

On a lighter tone for me (maybe not for the rest of you), Elise’s arrival at Oymyakon was amazing. I liked what she did and how she did it.

Once again S.M. Reine has done an excellent job.


Review:


  • File Size: 458 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Red Iris Books (June 3, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CWG91QE

My review of:

  1. Death’s Hand
  2. The Darkest Gate
  3. Dark Union
  4. Damnation Marked
  5. Dire Blood
  6. Defying Fate

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p>5509 BCE: The Byzantine calendar dates creation to 1 September of this year.

4009 BCE: ” placing the creation of Adam no later than 4009 B.C.E.”

3504 BCE: Eve’s creations, angels that are about to hatch, are killed. (Paradise Damned)

3242 BCE: Adam’s need for human replacements for Eve comes about. (Paradise Damned)

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