Review–The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell
January 16, 2012 § 5 Comments
Title – The Reapers are the Angels
Author – Alden Bell
Narrated by – Tai Sammons
Length – 7 hours 25 minutes
Publisher – Blackstone Audio
Audio Release date – August 3, 2010
I have read so many glowing reviews of The Reapers are the Angels that I simply had to see what all the fuss was about and even though I was warned ahead of time about the bloody bits, I still wanted to read this. I decided to listen to this on audio and I think the narrator did an amazing job giving voice to the conflicted and unique character that was Temple. I would certainly recommend this audio to anyone who is planning to read this.
Temple was an intriguing character, so full of contrasts, she was kind and considerate but with the capacity to become extremely violent if provoked which made sense considering the dangerous world she grew up in. She was also extremely intelligent, logical, and self-aware but at the same time illiterate and simplistic in many ways. Her character fascinated me and reminded me, in a lot of ways, of Saba from Blood Red Road except Temple was much more complex. I was fascinated with the way she accepted the world for what it was and did her best to work within it instead of fight against what she could not control. I have to say, Temple is one of the most interesting characters I’ve read.
The writing was vividly descriptive and unapologetically raw. It brought to life a bleak and desolate world overrun by the undead who were themselves more pathetic and sad than scary. The pockets of survivors that Temple came upon showed the best and worst of humanity. It was interesting to see the many ways that desperation and hopelessness may cause people to react. There were some people and situations that pushed the boundaries of believability, even for a zombie book but for the most part, I could realistically imagine that this is what the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse would look like.
For some reason, I felt really disconnected from the story. I’m not sure whether it was the third person narration or the philosophical and highly allegorical way this was written, but while I could pick out a hundred beautifully phrased quotes, I was never truly engaged in the story. At times I felt that the writing was almost a bit pretentious and that it tried so hard to be literature as opposed to genre fiction that it overreached and ended up just being absurd. Or it could simply be that I am more interested in being entertained by a story than in trying to ponder life’s mysteries or decipher allegory.
I definitely enjoyed listening to The Reapers are the Angels and, while it wasn’t really my thing, I can certainly see where other people would appreciate the writing style and depth.