3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Better than it sounds, by far,
This review is from: The Edge of Reason (Hardcover)
The Edge of Reason is captioned with the words, "A novel of the war between science and superstition". To be honest, even though I'm interested in a skeptical bent towards religion and science, et cetera, I was hoping that The Edge of Reason wouldn't be a book that hit its reader round the head with a anti-organised religion message, and instead delivered a good story, while making the reader think... The Edge of Reason met most of my hopes, and I'll definitely be picking up the sequels.
When I read the cover quote, "a novel of the war between science and superstition" I expected something set a while back, perhaps having something to do with Galileo and Kepler and other scientists of that time -- or maybe something later, with the Inquisition. For some reason, I did not expect it to be an urban fantasy -- but Melinda Snodgrass' The Edge of Reason shows that that fight is still going on, and is, if anything, even more relevant in the 21st century. This is a work of fantasy, though, so you can expect certain twists...
The forces of light just happen to be headed up by Lucifer -- or, as he prefers to be known, Prometheus or Kenntis (German for knowledge), as it saves any confusion with the Satan image. Over the eons, he has fostered science and reason, and been the man behind Lumina Enterprises, a "company that is apparently worth more than Microsoft". On the opposite side, are the Old Ones, beings who forced their way into the fabric of our lives when we first walked upright and were little more than howling monkeys; they fed on our emotions, and we worshipped them: they created all the religions. Of all our emotions, the harsher ones, fear, anger, and hatred, are easier to evoke and thus, easier for the Old Ones to feed upon. As they gained in power, they open more rifts, and more and more are coming through. Armageddon is arriving.
The only hope, it seems, is Richard Oort, a cop in New Mexico. He's a genetic freak, of sorts: a being without any magic at all (the Old Ones hard-wired magic into our blood, millennia ago, as a way to keep a foot/claw into this realm). He also seems a bit too perfect to be true, at first. One of my pet hates in (especially fantasy!) fiction is the Adonis type hero. The Halo Effect always seems to be true for them, and apart from being gorgeously handsome, they are incredibly clever and wise and ultra-noble and good. (Or very evil; never in-between). Richard is a bit different; he is a good person, and reasonably intelligent, and an extremely gifted musician ... and a disappointment to his father who he has never really gotten on with, he blames himself for his mothers descent into insanity, and has had several very serious past traumas that would break most people into several pieces that you wouldn't be able to fit back together again unless you were a schizophrenic deity (called Cross...) fighting for the cause of knowledge against your fellow Old Ones... (That may or may not make sense once you've read the book)...
I'm not sure how well this book will do, considering its anti-organised religion/superstition theme, but I really hope it does well. It's a good story and the first time in a long while that I've been so eager to read a sequel. As George R.R. Martin says on the cover "this one will delight thinkers" and I definitely agree. Whether you agree with some of the things it says or not, it's a book that makes you think, and the quality of the story is clear; it's also a book that kept me entertained and intrigued for hours.
This is not a criticism as such, and I admit that I haven't read Lovecraft in quite a while, but I wasn't aware of that many Lovecraftian themes or elements within The Edge of Reason, regardless of what it says on the cover. The Old Ones, of course, who are every, and any, god that has ever existed, have a link to Lovecraft through their name, but other than that, I don't really see that many similarities.
The Edge of Reason does have flaws, however. Some of the characterisations felt a little weak for me. Richard's character was one that I really enjoyed reading, with a good (or rather, bad and very sympathetic) back-history, and plenty of intriguing stuff going on -- some of the other characters, though, didn't work half as well for me. I found Rhiana a little false and unrealistic, in her dialogue, and in some of the things she did at the end of the book, and I didn't care enough about her to be that affected by what she was doing. While I enjoyed the characterisation of Mark Grenier, it seemed slightly typical to me. Being in the same room as Grenier was a rather melodramatic affair -- the bad guy who tells his victims lots of what he's been planning, and seems rather shocked when anybody actually disagrees with him, the type of person whose eyes "suddenly turn cold".
Those few flaws aside, there are enough questions left unanswered, and enough possibilities for the sequels, that The Edge of Reason has stayed fresh in my mind this past week, and I expect it's a book that I'll think about and re-read quite often this year. Highly recommended.