The Fallen Paperback – 15 Sep 2007
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Top customer reviews
The plot and premise were very strong, and the writing style and dialogue convincing. The main issue for me was that there were vast tracts of waffle about nothing of any interest. Unusually for my tastes I have to say 'way too much show, not enough tell'. It was a bit like reading "Wind in the Willows" but with drug addicts instead of moles.
If these troublesome sections were meant to sow seeds for later development, I'm afraid the crop was buried under a surfeit of fertiliser. For example, it is made clear very early on that there is some heavy and dangerous drug use going on amongst the protagonists, however the author's recurring discussion of drugs and their use (and names, and how to take them, and their effects ...) was simply tedious. In one scene the group of friends are eating out, and drugs are taken during the meal. Irrespective of how significant this is to plot or character development (although the 'lifestyle' has been made abundantly clear by this point) the scene - as much of the novel - plays out like a six-year-old's diary : first one naughty boy does drugs (with associated commentary from peers, then the next one and then, yes, one by one the reader has to sit through a repeat. The reader simply does not need this level of detail or repetition.
There are some interesting discussions about relationships and philosophy, but like the plot these communications from the author also suffer from the generally poor 'signal to noise ratio'.
Another reviewer likened the style to Douglas Adams. As a long time fan of that author (and I realise that having met the guy at book signings and thereby acquired multiple copies of his work only paints me as an erstwhile stalker rather than lending credibility as as reviewer of literature, but having virtually destroyed copies of his novels through re-reading I can claim more than a passing familiarity with his style) I didn't see this. If you took a Douglas Adams work and replaced his wry observations and absurdities with entire episodes of Panorama you might get a bit closer in terms of length and levity.
There is a good novel in here somewhere, but I grew tired of digging for it.
Written with a brilliant, humorous style reminiscent of Douglas Adams, original and intriguing as Clive Barker's stories, sensual as Storm Constantine can be, this novel, is certainly worth reading!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I can see how this author can deserve the criticism of being extremely wordy and needing tighter edit in some places for both books. But no, I am not taking the stars off for this. I am not writing a review as a professional literary critique, I am writing a review as a reader, and ESL reader at that, so while I can notice some glaring linguistic problems, my main issue is whether the book satisfied me. And this one and its sequel "Demon's tears" delivered such satisfaction and more. I love the books that play with fallen angels' mythology and do some creative spin on it, I especially love the books which dare to be sympathetic to fallen angels, it is appealing to me. I love how human boys (Nick and his friends are portrayed), how compassionate this author seems to be to basically all of his characters. It is a wonderful thriller that as other reviewer noticed just happen to have gay characters as main players, it is a love story too, story of understanding each other, your good and bad sides, story of wanting to grow, to redeem oneself, I loved it.
The prologue involved a demon and a human. Then we jumped to the first chapter, and it began with a party boy leaving a club to find a place to be sick to his stomach without making (more of) a spectacle of himself. And he encountered a different demon, and they struck up a conversation. Our protag did however think that the creature was a product of his drug-fueled mind. At this point, I was intrigued and eager (despite some bizarre conversation about which designer made party boy's trousers). The writing was crisp and flowed well, and I enjoy the combination of the supernatural with gay protagonists.
Then we jumped back to the club and met several characters that this young man hung out with. And for about 30 pages, we learned about how vapid those friends were, and about recreational drugs, their use and abuse, their code names, what a particular drug felt like as it started to manifest it's high, how much to take without getting too wasted, the best strategy for buying them, that alcohol is for wusses, what L.A. club culture and pecking order is like, and on and on about freaking drugs.
Then we were back with the demon and club boy #1. Their conversation was less ranging this time, and we heard a lot of party boy's internal dialogue about how his body felt under the influence, and again whether or not this conversation was real. Then we flipped back to the club, where the topic turned to ... no, I won't spoil it for you. Can you guess?
If you are intrigued by hip, edgy, trendy (not) drug culture and the people who can afford to throw away money on such extravagant and dangerous recreation (and of course if you like some supernatural mixed in with your gay protags), you could find this book delightful. If I had any idea that this was going to be such a major theme, I never would have bought the book in the first place. But again, the description and the downloaded sample were just not indicative. So ... now you know.
Its basic assumption is fine and fairly original: the interaction between a powerful Judeo-Christian age-old devil and a modern-day group of gay young men in a dissolute Los Angeles. The potential for interesting plot and character interaction is undenyable.
That said, Mr Dagon (is this a pen-name? Dagon is the name of a powerful philistine deity of fertility) seems to be rambling rather aimlessly among rather heterogeneous pursuits. Is he attempting a portrait of contemporary life in LA with a special focus on the city's immoral ethics? Or is it the depiction of the LA juvenile gay world and underworld? A new kind of fantasy? A new-agean essay on religions? Or perhaps a medical short essay on the effects of recreational drugs?
I am being intentionally strict here, of course, but this author seems in serious need of disciplining his literary efforts and of a good editor.
Page after page is dedicated to a rather terse description of several drugs and their effects on the human psyche. What is the goal of so many pages? They are useless to convey the sense of young people idling their life away to escape a harsh reality and a quite necessary search for their real self; they are not judgemental but at the same time they do not make allowances.
What is the author's opinion of his characters? He seems constantly uncertain whether to depict them objectively, leaving the reader to judge for himself, or whether to express his own.
This indecisiveness involves every theme in this book.
Mr Dagon seems unable to pursue a narrative goal consistently. As a result the pace of the action falters and characterization, supposedly the driving force of the narrative, is unconvincing.
The potentially rich supernatural element is far from fully exploited which is a real waste.
So much more a pity because the writing is not bad at all.
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