Book: The Reapers Are the Angels
Author: Alden Bell
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Rating: 5 Stars (FB's Top Ten of 2010)
Release Date: August 3, 2010
August 4, 2010-Joshua Gaylord (aka Alden Bell) will be conducting his book launch (Reading & Signing) at B&N 150 East 86th Street (at Lexington).
The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell starts off like a lyrical melody that both fills your head and packs a wallop all in the same breath-a spicy Southern feast wrapped up in soft vowels and a wayward twang. For such a small tale (a mere two hundred and twenty or so compact pages) Reapers has more punch than The Passage, simply because of its soul and its enigmatic lead, and for its finality.
Reapers tells the story of Temple, who grows up in the aftermath of a global epidemic that lays waste to the world and morphs a portion of the population into zombies. While she has no recollection of any world before the epidemic, she has mastered a life for herself and has done so from an early age. For Temple, it has and always will be, a struggle to survive, to keep moving and to keep slaying. And it appears she has an affinity for it. But Bell has managed to build many layers to Temple. Underneath that steely exterior lies a vulnerable girl who, when peeled back, is surprising, and troubling.
There are remnants of influences from other sources, in Bell's work...it has a familiar feel of "The Stand" and "I am Legend" but the creation of his heroine is what makes The Reapers Are the Angels a truly amazing piece of work. Temple is a tragic lead and those who are pulled into her sphere know that the outcome cannot be good but will go along for the ride anyway.
It does not have the overwhelming derivative feel of Cronin’s piece. The difference between The Passage and Reapers is that Temple, Bell’s heroine is the lost heart and soul of humanity and even she does not know it. Temple, sometimes, an uncompromising stoic, is also an unknowing angel of death in the vacuum of a forgotten wasteland. Her ferociousness coupled with her fragility, is what makes her engaging to readers. We cleave to her vulnerability as much as we embrace her ferociousness, which has singularly been borne out of guilt.
Temple is endlessly running from herself, and from her humanity. Bell’s grisly tale of gore and zombies serves as the backdrop, the purgatory she must endure as she races from one corner of the abandoned country to another…shunning a home, real companionship, endlessly engaging in the “meatskin tango”. It is why she welcomes the chase from Moses. As long as she is fighting the slugs and winning, she staves off the feelings. In Reapers, those who have survived, struggle with going on, persevering. To what end? Never has this been more pronounced by Temple’s journey-The Reapers are the Angels reads like a hell-bound Natty Gann and Temple cannot help but be its incandescent slayer. Unforgettable in its finality and riveting in its soulfulness.
From the Book-Blogosphere:
Read what Speculative Horizons says about The Reapers are the Angels.
Read what Graeme’s Fantasy Book Reviews says about The Reapers are the Angels.
Read what Read In a Single Sitting says about The Reapers are the Angels.
Read what Steve’s Fantasy Book Reviews says about The Reapers are the Angels.