Five strangers awaken on an otherwise uninhabited tropical island–callous bully Gabriel, his lackey Michael, sensitive Raphael, calm and observant Lucifer, and annoying misfit Alpha.
There are some ostensible plot holes that readers may find perplexing, although common to creation myths. For example, how the five settlers of the island awaken like blank slate amnesiacs just barely aware of their own names and little ability to name basic objects around them, yet those names come quickly to them as they begin foraging for food and start using tools. Also, where did they come from and how did they awaken there without any memories? It’s possible though that some of these perplexities will be addressed in a later installment.
The tale is timeworn in general plot, as many alternative takes on biblical stories have been told, with similarities especially between this story and Paradise Lost. But Kellett’s version of the world’s creation is arresting in its dramatic suspense, well-done narrative arc, and exemplary character development.
It’s rare to find a story in which both plot and characters are thoroughly compelling, but Kellett excels in both. The five naïve newcomers develop by disturbing leaps and bounds, with Alpha’s ascent to godhood being partly predictable and yet often shocking in his savagery and deception. Conforming to a misotheistic conception of Christian mythology, Lucifer turns out to be the good-hearted one, unjustly and irrationally the target of a sociopathic and sadistic god’s wrath. Making Lucifer even more of a sympathetic hero is his tender and tragic romance.
The story continues from the creation of humanity to Lucifer’s efforts to escape from exile and rescue Earth from God’s despicable designs. While many scenes are violently disturbing, there’s always a feeling of purpose in the development of each finely crafted character, unifying all of their individual paths into an intricate and mesmerizing whole.
The ending is abrupt and inconclusive and this is perhaps the most disappointing part, as Kellett’s novel is an increasing joy to read until it stops. One can hope the unfolding of the tale will continue, as Kellett’s literary evocations and characters are the sort that linger in the mind with their pains and passions.
~Christopher James Dubey for IndieReader