Tag Archives: Nathaniel Faulkner

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)

Reine, S.M.: Defying Fate (The Descent VI) (2013)

Defying Fate
Cover art by S.M. Reine
Chapter one of Defying Fate reveals exactly who James Faulkner is and has been since 1993. Whereas Elise became a demon, James ended up an angel instead.

There is a need in me to try to understand something about the characters I meet in various fictional and non-fictional works. In Defying Fate it is easy to understand a person like Zane St. Vil. Zane is a kopis with the Union. He is of average intelligence and pleased with the power and firepower the Union brings him. He is a coward at heart and bullyish on the outside. Zane will always do what makes him seem bigger and badder than the rest and if he meets resistance he will use the greatest force possible.

Then we have a person like James. Ultimately, I know that James will do what serves James the best. But what route is he going to take? We are talking about a highly intelligent man with a devious mind and lots of power at hand. He is perfectly willing to harm the people he loves if he thinks it will serve them in the long run, in spite of him never having had the gift of prescience. A person like that is difficult to predict.

I won’t pretend to understand James. His personality has so many twists and turns that I cannot follow along. I imagine part of that personality has come about because he has had to hide his nature from Elise and every other person he has met since his change. Part of it has been with him all along, but as we tend to be the sum of our parts, being an angel would have influence on some of what James does.

Nathaniel is the perfect son for him. This is one powerful kid. James needs a person who exceeds his own abilities so he can stop seeing himself as the epitome of witchcraft. In addition Nathaniel is a 12-year-old in the way that only peeved-off and disappointed 12-year-olds can be. He’d practically worshipped his father ever since he discovered who his father was. Then Nathaniel met the person behind the myths and found that James was not as glorious as he had been made out to be.

Nathaniel is like Elise in many ways. He is fiercely loyal to those he attaches himself to and he will do just about anything for them. In this case that means saving Elise. James says he cannot come along and Nathaniel pretty much says that James has nothing to say in the matter. In the end James brings Nathaniel along because a coming together of choices leaves Hannah dead. Poor Nathaniel.

Gary Zettel is a dedicated and driven leader of the local unit of the Union. He and Allyson are probably the two worst people the Union could have made kopis and apsis. The two of them together are a nuclear bomb waiting to explode. Their potential for destruction is enormous and, like James, they don’t care who gets hurt along the way. Well, James cares, but he still does it. Gary and Allyson on the other hand follow the teaching of “ends justifying the means”. They are also unpredictable.

With a group of people like this Defying Fate can only be one thing – full of thrills. My goodness, Reine writes action well and her descriptions of Malebolge are a delight. Dark, violent and crazy is what Defying Fate is.


Review:


  • File Size: 415 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Red Iris Books (April 4, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C7EPL42

My review of:

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

Reine, S.M.: Dire Blood (The Descent V) (2012)

Dire Blood
Cover art S.M. Reine
I’ve had some strange and terrible things happen in my life. Most people have. I grew up in a home with parents who had managed to stray from the original paths their lives might have taken. Instead they changed what they had grown up with into a new type of family life. But the consequences of the lives they had grown up with were there. And let me tell you, their growing up years were extremely difficult. But they changed the script of their lives.

Maybe this is why I prefer Elise over James. Elise continually tries to change what life throws at her into something that will keep the balance between different types of people. James, on the other hand, is driven by his ambition. Both grew up with challenges, although Elise’s seem much more extreme than James’ challenges.

When James was a kid it became apparent that his talent for magic was extreme. At nine years old he taught three girls who were older than he. He thirsted for more knowledge of magic. Conquering magic became his goal in life, no matter what he might end up sacrificing to get there. Sadly, he was good at everything he tried his hand at. I say sadly because in James’ case all of his success turned out to give him a skewed sense of morality (at least it seems that way to me). That affects his relationship with Elise and just about every other person he meets. To him demons are dirty, filthy, evil creatures who deserve only death. Humans are the important breed to him, the ones he needs to protect.

James’ coven has been under the rulership of the angel Metaraon for years and years and years.

Metatron: (Metatetron, Merraton, Metaraon) A great angel honored as the angel of presence, chief of ministering angels, chancellor of heaven, and whom maintained the world.

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p>The coven has provided Metaraon with girls who are taken to a garden to be with Adam (or Him / God). While James was young Metaraon came to the coven to take away a young girl (Ariane). Metaraon’s ultimate goal was to create “The Godslayer” (yes, you are catching on now, huh? ;= ). Ariane was matched with Isaac Kavenagh in order to create a baby. Ariane became Isaac’s apsis so the two of them would be bound to each other. When Ariane was 16 and Isaac 20 years old Elise was born. And who is Elise supposed to be????

One of Ariane’s co-students was Hannah Pritchard. Hannah later became involved with James and she and James had a son – Nathaniel. If you remember, James found out about Nathaniel in Damnation Marked. James now discovers that Hannah has kept the knowledge of their son from James because of the kind of person James is. That’s got to hurt. James is the god of rationalisation and so manages to keep on finding justification for his actions and ways. Some of the choices he makes bring him and Hannah into great danger. Danger from which Elise is going to have to save them.

As you discovered at the end of Damnation Marked, Elise survived her death. She was changed into a demon of the kind that Yatam and Yatai were. For a kopis that had to suck. All of a sudden she has become what she has fought against her whole life (ever since she was able to hold a falchion). Part of that change has brought confusing urges and a look into other people that she isn’t understanding. So, she is confused, angry and worried.

When Nathaniel turns up, what does she do? Well, in true Elise style she drops everything and goes off to help James. Anthony has stuck with her through thick and thin, but this time he says no thanks and leaves Elise and Nathaniel to the job. And what a job this is turning out to be. Throughout Dire Blood I am reminded of why I like Elise so much (and now Nathaniel as well). Sure, she is a mess, her life has turned up-side-down and she has no idea what is happening to her. So what. Life has to go on and a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. If that means saving James with his magically talented son coming along, then that is what she will do.

Action. Is there action in Dire Blood. Oh, yes. Plenty of that. I had fun with both the action and the background information on our main characters. As usual I loved S.M. Reine’s writing. She does an excellent job with this kind of fantasy.


Review:


  • File Size: 482 KB
  • Print Length: 428 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Red Iris Books (December 23, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ASDEHLM

Source: Angelology


My review of:

  1. Death’s Hand
  2. The Darkest Gate
  3. Dark Union
  4. Damnation Marked