Friday, August 06, 2010

Book Review - The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell

The Reapers are the Angels
Alden Bell
(Advance Readers Copy)
Holt Paperbacks 2010
Trade Paperback
240 pages

In light of the wealth of post-apocalyptic stories like The Book of Eli, The Road, and The Passage, now filling book shelves and movie theatres all across America “The Reapers Are the Angels” by Alden Bell turned out to be both a pleasant surprise and a real treat to read and in some ways is better than the others I’ve mentioned above. I had never heard of this book or the author before so had no preconceived notions concerning any hype or advertising that might be attached. I delved into it without pause and found that I literally could not put it down. Perhaps its my penchant towards post-apocalyptic fiction (you’ll notice I used the word “wealth” above for good reason) which goes back to my early readings of book like Deus Irae, A Canticle For Liebowitz, and Dahlgren. So, I knew I had to read this as soon as it appeared in the mailbox.

And I did, and was quite pleased to find what I believe might one of the year’s best sub-genre releases. Remarkably, Reapers fits snuggly into the mold set by the Science Fiction classics mentioned earlier. The character development is extraordinary, the antagonist(s) (and yes there are more than one), and the main characters, and even the zombies, known as meatsacks, are believable and well-written. One character, and I won’t spoil the story here, gets into an almost impossible situation. Later in the story he appears again with no explanation given of his escape. One wonders if another book set in the same universe from this particular characters’ POV isn’t in the making. I’d pay to read that one, too.

4 out of 5 stars

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

More on “The Reapers Are the Angels”

AV Club Review

Goodreads Review

Blog Review

Graemes Fantasy Book Review

Author’s Website

Alden Bell is a pseudonym for Joshua Gaylord, whose first novel, Hummingbirds, was released in Fall '09. He teaches in a New York City prep school and is an adjunct professor at The New School. He lives in New York City with his wife, the Edgar-award-winning mystery writer, Megan Abbott.

Praise for Joshua Gaylord’s HUMMINGBIRDS:
“Hummingbirds is a sly, charming novel about the students at a Manhattan girls' school and the adults who sometimes remember to teach them. Those of us who love Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie will now have to make room next to it on our shelves for Joshua Gaylord's inning debut.”
— Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England

No comments: