21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Oh dear God!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Shadowmancer (Paperback)
I have to confess that I hadn't realised that this book was supposed to be a children's book. That aside, I anticipated something like H.P Lovecraft meets Philip Pullman from a more mainstream Christian perspective.
How wrong can you be? Unfortunately the religious overtones were about as subtle as a brick, with no attempt to explore deeper philosophical questions, it makes CS Lewis look like Kafka.
There is a story hidden somewhere in there, it just isn't worth getting through the staid prose to find it.
The book also lifts too much from the pulp fantasy and horror genres, and they don't fit well together. One minute it is unnameable horrors from beyond this world, the next magical swords. It would have worked better in the historical setting if real folklore had been drawn upon, rather than these rather crude Harry Potterish charicatures. The supernatural is reduced to the mundane, the horror of black magic is more Dungeons & Dragons.
There is little consistency, the evil Priest starts out practically omipotent and ends up almost comically powerless, while holy places keep out fallen angels, except for the main fallen angel who can enter precisely because he used to be an angel! Milton this ain't, you get a more consistent portrayal of the Fall in Gaiman and Pratchett's 'Good Omens'!
The main characters are poorly developed, and, presumably as a result of the single novel format, shunted around the terrain by a succession of more powerful/wiser/supernatural individuals with very little autonomy.
And finally, it ends on an anti-climax, with nothing really at stake after all.
If you want preternatural horror try H.P. Lovecraft, fantasy and a twisted take on Christianity try Philip Pullman, a straight forward children's fantasy-as-Christian-allegory read CS Lewis. But don't read this.