Saturday, July 28, 2012

{Review} "The Book of Paul" by Richard Long

Title:  The Book of Paul
Author: Richard Long
Publisher:  Open Eyes
Publication Date:  June 3, 2012
Genre:  Thriller / Paranormal / Romance / Horror
Format:  Kindle 798 KB  |  Paperback 488 pages

Buy this book on Amazon:  Kindle Edition  |  Paperback
Author's Website: 
Author's Goodreads Profile:  Richard Long

Synopsis from Goodreads:

“Never alive…and never dead.” 

In the rubble-strewn wasteland of Alphabet City, a squalid tenement conceals a treasure “beyond all imagining”—an immaculately preserved, fifth century codex. The sole repository of ancient Hermetic lore, it contains the authentic alchemical rituals for transforming thought into substance, transmuting matter at will…and attaining eternal life.

When a lusty, East Village tattoo artist has a torrid encounter with a battle-hardened loner, they are overwhelmed by the intensity of their feelings. Rose and Martin soon discover they are unwitting pawns on opposing sides of a battle that has shaped the course of human history. At the center of the conflict is Paul, the villainous overlord of an underground feudal society, who guards the book’s occult secrets in preparation for the fulfillment of an apocalyptic prophecy. 

The action is relentless as Martin and Rose fight to escape Paul’s clutches and Martin’s destiny as the chosen recipient of Paul’s sinister legacy. Science and magic, mythology and technology converge in a monumental battle where the stakes couldn’t be higher: control of the ultimate power in the universe—the Maelstrom.

The Book of Paul is the first of seven volumes in a sweeping mythological narrative tracing the mystical connections between Hermes Trismegistus in ancient Egypt, Sophia, the female counterpart of Christ, and the Celtic druids of Clan Kelly.
Diving In...
I don't even know where to start with this review.  I suppose I should start by saying that this isn't the type of book I normally read, but the synopsis intrigued me and I was not at all disappointed.  I will also say that in taking these chances with books that are out of the norm for me, I am actually finding some really great new, to me, authors.

I should warn you right up front that this book is going to take you on a wild and crazy, dark and dirty ride. I am having trouble even putting my thoughts about this story into words.  It's just that crazy, I was struggling to describe it to a friend yesterday!  It's not romance, but it does have a thread of a love story throughout it that really has the potential to change the course of history as Paul sees it.  It's doesn't feel paranormal or supernatural, but really, in essence it is when you take into account the whole of the story.  There is an underlying horror like feel to it, but it's not a scary horror, more like a creepy serial killer like horror.  Suffice it to say, I can't really classify it other than to say that it has a little bit of everything in it.  I also have to say that while it has a little of everything, if you aren't really prepared for the worst you probably won't enjoy it.  If you have a weak stomach or you can't handle a torture, body modification, etc...then this probably isn't the book for you.

There really is no way to explain the story without giving anything away and I really dislike to post spoilers especially in a case like this, where every twist and turn of the story is so significant.  The characters are really quite complex and while it seems like they are doing bizarre things most of the time, everything that happens really does have a place.  There is someone pulling the strings here and it's not hard to figure out who it is.

I must say that Richard Long is a tremendous and unique story teller.  I was immediately pulled into the story from the very first short chapter.  I love that most of the chapters are really short, they are like short little story bursts. This book is also really different in that it's told in 1st person part of the time and the rest is in 3rd person.  One of the characters is the narrator and his part is obviously told in 1st  person.  We don't find out who the narrator is for quite some time, but he plays a very significant part in the story.  The other parts of the story are told in 3rd person from one of the other characters perspectives.  What I think is super cool is that the narrator really is omniscient even though he is a character in the story, that is one of his "gifts" and it's not always a fun one to have in his case.

Let's talk about some of the characters.  Paul really is a gross and deeply disturbed character, probably one of the worst I have read!  He really has no redeeming quality except for maybe Martin.  As unlikable as Paul is, I found Martin to be a quite the opposite.  It will seem weird (that I like him so much) especially as you first start reading the book, but really from the minute Rose enters the picture you can see a light in him. It may be hidden under layers of icky residue left there from how he was raised, but it's there nonetheless.  I really like Rose, I think that she sees something in Martin that no one else does.  She feels something for him that she doesn't really understand especially since she has really only known him for such a short time.  They are both pretty damaged people, but together they have tremendous potential to change everything.

From the time the story starts until it ends only a couple days pass in reality, but a lot of back story is given in  Martin's suppressed memories and the narrators journal entries.  This part of the story, that I like to think of as "Martin's Story" really starts when he is a boy.  The overall story goes back thousands of years, though, all the way to the beginning of time really.  We get a sense of this part of the story from the narrators journal entries, he is giving us a pretty clear view of all the things that he is learning as he learns them from a number of sources.  He is really the main character in the whole of the story, but since he isn't revealed for so long it's hard to think of him as such.  This is just the beginning of the story and I can't wait to see what comes next.

This is such a unique story, at least it was for me.  The whole time I was reading it I couldn't help but wonder where on earth this came from.  It's a puzzle from the beginning, but once you hit the halfway point the pieces start fitting together in a beautiful if not psychotic way.  There are still things that I wonder about, but I have every confidence that my questions will be answered as the story continues.  At it's heart it's a supernatural thriller, but it's deeply psychological as well.  It will make you re-think what you think you know about the "beginning", science and even religion.  It will take you on a wild ride for sure, so buckle up!

Content Concern:
I am just going to sum it up by saying there is profanity, some explicit sex, pretty gruesome torture scenes, body modification, etc... just be prepared!

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book, courtesy of the author, in exchange for my honest review.

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