Saturday, January 21, 2012
Review: THE KINGDOM, by John R. Mabry
The Kingdom is an odd tale of blasphemous priests, likable demons, self-loathing, death and humor, all taking place in the San Francisco Bay Area. The characters are unique and interesting, as are the events, which had me engrossed from beginning to end. As the story moves forward, the stakes continue to rise, and not everyone makes it out alive or unchanged. In fact, the fate of Richard, one of the main protagonists, angered me, and I hope that future volumes rectifies what I feel was an unfair end, even if I completely understand what Mabry did and why. Maybe it hits too close to home for me personally, but it really bothers me a lot.
But it says something that I would feel this way at the end of this book. If it was bad, or boring, or if I simply didn’t care about Richard or any of the other characters, obviously I wouldn’t be upset. That’s my issue with the book, along with the strong Christian message and difficult-to-read phonetic Southern accent of one of the other characters, but otherwise it’s a well-written and intricate tale involving the hazards of arrogance, abuse, and summoning demons.
It’s difficult to explain why the book is so engaging without giving too much away about the plot, characters, artifacts and situations, but by the end, I found myself wanting to see what would happen next. I believe there are going to be more volumes forthcoming about the Berkeley Blackfriars, the strange group of misfit religionists who find themselves saving the world with the help of strange bedfellows.
Mabry must have some very interesting occult and arcane knowledge to be able to pull off this tale in a realistic manner. And, as long as he fixes what happened with Richard, I’ll be reading future Berkeley Blackfriar novels.