Rating: 3 stars
Buy Link: Amazon
When we first meet Allan and Warwick, something seems a little off. They’ve been greeted by a 1950s bombshell and, apparently, an angel. Not a good sign. They are able to gather over the coming day that they’re in the afterlife, though people are pretty cagey about it, and they’re neither sure why they’re there or if it’s a permanent situation. They also have no recollection of their past, only a few memories which will return at random moments.
As the day progresses, they are taken to the Limelight District, where people who are interested in the arts and theater live. Both Allan and Warwick are immediately cast in a pretty terrible play written by a man named Pedro. Very quickly, Warwick becomes involved with Pedro and Allan finds himself mourning his friend and recognizing that he’s been in love with him for a long time. He’s not certain of their relationship before their appearance in the afterlife, but he continues to pine after Warwick and hold hope that they will be together.
Things are pretty off the wall in this novel. There are so many different types of characters since the afterlife contains people from every time period and every vocation, even people from the future. Allan builds a friendship with an angel, Guy, who is best part of this novel. He guides Allan through the afterlife and his confusion over Warwick, all while trying to accomplish his deepest desire of learning to fly.
Warwick and Allan become deeply involved in the theater in the Limelight District. Allan continues to want Warwick and Warwick continues to evade his advances, instead staying with Pedro, which I just didn’t ever really understand. You have to be quite open-minded while reading this book. Pretty much anything goes, including Warwick moving back and forth between two men, consequences be damned, and a threesome involving the angel.
When I started reading this novel, I was drawn in by it’s original premise. It’s different from any other novel I’ve read and, for that reason, I was excited to continue reading. I liked the smart, funny way the main characters conversed. It was a little over the top, not really how people talk, but I was willing to overlook it because it was amusing. And then it got old really fast. In an effort to keep up this breakneck conversational pace and to keep it witty and, in my opinion, pretentious, the author liked to use puns and metaphors, which most often didn’t work. For instance, this exchange between Warwick and Allan after Warwick comes back to him (again).
“Who’s been sleeping in my bed!” Warwick asked. “Papa Bear?” “Well it sure as hell ain’t Goldilocks! And what’s this ‘my bed’ crap? You’ve been straddling the writer’s pen!” “Not anymore” “The ink has run dry?” “No, Allan, I found out you were right.” It was scribbling on a different notepad” “So you’ve come running back to second best. Perhaps the thorns on the roses aren’t the only pricks in the room.”
In this case, the “writer’s pen” was Warwick’s boyfriend’s penis, the “scribbling” was having sex and “the notepad” was Warwick’s boyfriend’s secret girlfriend’s vagina. In an attempt to be literary, the author used a metaphor that didn’t make any sense. You can’t just choose any set of words or scenario and compare it to any other thing — there should be some sort of connecting idea, an actual comparison to be made.
The unconventional conversational style and flowery language that had charmed me in the beginning quickly started to wear thin. I just wanted to understand what was going on, and since the concept of the story was a bit more abstract than you’re used to in a novel, adding in this continuous verbal assault of attempted cleverness only served to confuse me. I have to give the author respect for attempting and sometimes succeeding with it, but it just could not keep up the pace for 350 pages in this much too long book.
Luckily, there were only two sex scenes or I would’ve had to give this book a lower rating, since I was so absolutely disturbed by the description of the two characters making love. Here’s an excerpt.
I crouched and tasted his sultry chasm. My tongue reaching as far as it could, relishing its addictive flavor. Savory, manly, and meaty. A Pandora’s Box to be cherished, both tenderly and ruthlessly. Its demanding nature ready to come to life, once it was no longer tense.
“Allan, stop teasing.”
I entered. Like a snug woolen sock it swallowed me. He pushed back, devouring my knob like he was going to keep it forever. I was in the warmest part; his innermost depths.
A sultry chasm? A chasm? A chasm should never be used to describe that part of the male anatomy, in my opinion, even if it was a sexy image, which it most certainly is not. And to personify the “entry point” with a demanding nature made me actually laugh out loud. Finally, it became a snug woolen sock. It not only was terribly incongruous to the previous chasm description, wool just seems kind of itchy and uncomfortable and, again, not the best description in a love scene.
Overall, I have to give it a less than stellar review even though I do think the writer has a lot of talent if he can dial it back a little bit, give it a good edit and just let his natural wit and humor shine through instead of forcing it. The characters had potential, even though I never warmed up to the MCs and the author has some compelling original ideas. Reading this, though, will only leave you frustrated.