What’s news for horror writer Paul D. Dail
As I am trying to get finished with my teaching year, this past week (and then some) has been pretty busy with final grades and unfortunately pretty light on the writing front. It’s been everything I can do just to keep up with the blog.
[I’m hoping this will also serve as a reasonable excuse as to why many of you haven’t seen me around your own blogs. I’ll be back soon.]
Otherwise, I’d like to announce that Blaze McRob was the winner of the autographed copy of Forest of Shadows that Hunter Shea was offering in his guest post two weeks ago. While it was a random name drawing, Blaze is a regular commenter here, so I was pleased to pull out his name.
What does the future hold?
Next Friday may be my last post.
As I may have mentioned before, the annular solar eclipse (pictured here) will be best viewed in the United States in my small Utah town of about 300 people. Law enforcement officials are predicting as many as 40,000 people will travel to southern Utah for the event. If the end of the world doesn’t happen (I’m hosting a Solar Apoca-clipse party) or I’m not killed by some crazed fanatic, I plan on posting something about it next Friday.
But without further ado…
In a time long before humans walked the Earth, a mysterious being known only as The Lost Aetelia crafted an elaborate series of Watchtowers, along with their resident guardians, the Aetelia, to watch over the operations of the Universe. In time, a rebellious group of these Aetelia came to Earth in an attempt to challenge the established structure of the Universe. A bitter war ensued, and these rebels, who had come to be known as Watchers, disappeared from human history.
The time of the Aetelia – now known as angels – is returning. After a fateful night of violence, Artist Matty DiCamillo finds herself drawn into this world by a mysterious savior, who becomes a driving force in Matty’s new life.
Both driven by and fighting the words of prophecy that lay out her destiny, Matty, her lover Kristy, and her best friend Daniel, follow this mysterious savior on a journey from Northern California to Las Vegas on a path that crosses through the boundaries of time and space.
As Matty struggles to understand her new destiny, she discovers that her mysterious savior may not be who she seems to be, and that even the denizens of the twilight world that she has entered have no idea what lurks behind the stage dressing of their reality. Matty finds herself not only racing to rescue the woman she loves, but learning that she herself could be the cause of the Universe’s day of reckoning.
Even though Urban/Dark Fantasy is not normally a genre wherein I dwell, overall I enjoyed The Corridors of the Dead, and I look forward to picking up other books related to this series. A good story can break out of the boundaries of a genre, and Allen has succeeded in crafting a fascinating premise.
I’ll expand on that shortly, but first I did have a couple of difficulties with the novel. This is a little tough seeing as I know the author (I interviewed him last November-click here), so please excuse me while I excessively justify my opinions.
The first one probably ties in to why I don’t read much in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi genre. There were a couple of moments in the novel that felt like the author was intruding to give the reader an elaborate backstory, and sometimes it was a bit much for me to take all at once.
I have a hard enough time keeping track of the details of my own reality, so I found myself having to check back to see who was whom… and why are they fighting again?
But again, I feel this is common to the genre. I still don’t really get half of what was going on in Dune. And as this was the first book in a series by Allen, I’m sure I’ll see it play out as the series continues. I just wonder if some of the information could’ve waited for other parts of the series.
The second area where I struggled was unfortunately with the main character. But for this, you have to understand that I teach at a performing arts high school, as well as having worked with troubled teens. I see many kids that will be the Matty DiCamillos of the world in not too many years. Some of them are kind of hard to love. And I work with them every day. So I had a hard time wanting to spend my free time with Matty in the beginning section of the novel.
However, whether I liked her or not, she was definitely real (and the early brash abrasiveness either toned down, or I just got used to it). I know that the story has been criticized for voice–and it is heavy–but personally I thought the first person narration by Matty worked very well. Especially when you consider the ending, which I won’t spoil here. And again, having worked with girls like Matty (just in their younger years), Allen captures the personality quite adeptly.
And after the news report early on in the story about the imminent demise of the world via a comet the size of Texas, Allen takes us on a journey that definitely kept me hooked (if a little confused 🙂 ).
Speaking of the journey, props to Allen for providing a very visual journey. When stuff is happening, it is definitely happening, popping off the page (or screen depending on how you are reading it). Several weeks after finishing it, I still hold many images in my head from the book, both scenically and action-wise. I can’t talk about many of these scenes because they are wrapped in spoilers, but I will say that Allen has created a world both familiar and foreign as the characters travel “through the boundaries of time and space.”
I’m guessing on some of these influences, but there were landscapes (and moments along the journey of tense, uneasy camaraderie) which were reminiscent of King’s The Dark Tower series. I also had a sense of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, except for grown-ups. And maybe even hints of ‘The Matrix.’ But even given these potential influences, Allen still makes the story his own.
Hell, there’s even some ‘Seinfeld.’ You’ll just have to read it to get that one.
And that’s my overall recommendation. If anything here, either in the Amazon description or my review, piqued your interest, pick it up. I think you’ll enjoy the trip.
And currently listed at just .99, you can afford the price of the ticket.
What do I want from you?
Have you read The Corridors of the Dead? What did you think?
If not, what have been some of your favorite Fantasy novels? (Be prepared for me to say that I probably haven’t read most of them, but I’m always up for a good recommendation.)
Finally, don’t forget to check back next Friday if civilization as we know it doesn’t end.
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