SALVATION DAY is a book that blends together science-fiction and fantasy into a tale that has been told for eons, but never quite in this way. The story focuses on Dr. Mike Faulkner, a man who has lost both his wife and newborn daughter under the most tragic of circumstances. As things grow worse for him, a mysterious figure appears to help him complete his work, but what they want in return is the true story of this book.
This is an ambitious novel in which author RD Meyer shows no fear in trying to characterize some of the most luminous figures from the mythology of the three major religions in this tale about loss and the futility of anger at one’s creator. The first third of the novel takes place in the “real world,” but the story moves on to other realms that are very familiar to readers but handled in ways we don’t often see.
One flaw in this book is that much of the characterization has a forced quality to it. Characters, including Faulkner at times, too often seem to be doing what the plot requires rather than behaving in ways readers would expect them to. For example, Faulkner’s initial superior at work is cruel to him just because he has to be cruel to him. This character, Dillon, both wants Faulkner to get results with his work and fail at it at the same time. This is justified as a kind of bald ambition mixed with a fixation on the “bottom-line” of the business, but it works as neither.
In fairness, this could be by design. Characters and forces are working to manipulate other characters and other forces, and until the final three chapters readers aren’t really sure who to trust. Once the true forces at work are revealed, however, the story takes off in a fantastical direction that ends up working because the setting allows for literally anything to be possible. While the forces of “good” are written in unsurprising and almost cliched ways, the forces of “evil” are given nuanced and unique portrayals, proving once again that mythology’s villains are always far more interesting than its heroes.
This story is ambitious in its scope and ultimately very satisfying. The descriptions of things never seen by human eyes are vivid and feel real. The plot is tightly structured, and the ultimate confrontation is full of action. What’s best about the story is the detail and chapters in the latter third of the book, which shows how the central characters deal with achieving all of their aims. So often, these epic stories end with their climactic third-act battles, but SALVATION DAY also tries to answer the questions about what would happen after that battle is won.
The problems with characterization can be easily explained away if the reader is willing to see them as the effect of the larger forces at work trying to manipulate humanity—or, at least, one particular human—into behaving the way they need him to behave to achieve their goal. With some suspension of disbelief, the reader can take a journey that is both familiar and original, and a lot of fun.
~Joshua M. Patton for IndieReader