Well, I had to take a couple days to write a review of this book, because it implies too many important concepts. The most important, in my opinion, is how this book DISTURBS you. But not in a regular way. Not in a bloody, gore way. Duke made a Black List of the most painful human feelings (guilt, regret, reproach, resentment, thirst for revenge) and turns the knife in each one of them to make you feel them, one by one. Slowly, enjoying himself.
Sin and guilt, the foundation of Hell. Can you possibly be redeemed after sin? If someone forgives you, if the Gods forgive you, will you be free? What about your own regrets? Can you forgive yourself? Duke finds a terrifying concept of Purgatory and “Hell” in between those lines. Not being able to fix things, go back, clean your soul and face it alone, only you and the Eternal Darkness, eternal torture. It is, indeed, terrifying.
Characters are all “LOW”. The worst of them blooms in all its splendour. Drugs, infidelity, betrayal, self-harm, lies. No superheroes in here. No matter if men or women, the author doesn’t make any difference, he just purges them in their own personal flames.
Duke worked hard, obviously, to create a web of different dimensions (real, unreal, physical, paranormal, awake, asleep…) in which characters don’t even know where they are at. He perfectly pictures in your mind, exactly, what he wants. Lots of fights (where the author shows his previous experience in the field), races, blood.
Characters are constantly tested, questioned, played, tortured. They run in this world, in the story, as if nothing happened, while their soul is being ripped open.
His writing is excellent. You can’t just close this book. It’s massive and I read it in two days (because life gets in the way, of course), but it could have perfectly been one. The book grabs you as you read, it just gets worse and worse (in an amazing way), it speeds up in the darkness. The end is completely unexpected and brilliant. You know I don’t like talking about the plot in my reviews, because it always ruins the reading. I will only say, the main character is already one of my favourites, by far, because of his depth and philosophy.
Lots of hard work behind this book make it a splendid little piece of Hell, where your prejudices and confidence will be dislocated and disrupted, to the point you will just stare at the wall, in a blank gaze, with only one thought in your mind: “I am doomed.”
I can’t say with words how much, how deeply, how honestly I have enjoyed this book. This slice of psychological horror will now, always be with me.
All my appreciation and recognition for the author. Your work is a proof, extreme horror is still alive.