Tag Archives: review

A Brief Comment on Book Reviews

While most self-respecting authors refuse to admit how much they enjoy reading customer reviews on Amazon, I don’t mind telling the truth: everyone does it and everyone enjoys it. Let’s be real here, it feels good to see what people say about our writing. I find it thrilling whenever a reader really gets what I’m saying. Earlier today I checked out my Amazon page for But the Angels Never Came, and I found a new review that really got it. In my excitement, I wrote this blog post and then pasted the review below. Check it out:blur-old-antique-book-medium


But the Angels Never Came, by Eric James Olson, is a multi-layered tale that takes the Bible story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son, and sets it – with some significant changes, in two time periods in the future.

It’s important to read the introduction, which is part of the story. It explains that this is a 400-year old manuscript from the late 21st century, written between 2070 and 2117. It was also banned. Like many a scholarly presentation of an ancient manuscript, this one is annotated, with notes appearing in brackets at various points in the story. My favorite note explains that all errors of wording, spelling, and punctuation have been retained in the annotated version as part of the editor’s quest for verisimilitude.

It’s also important to be familiar with the Bible story, since the author uses elements of it all the way through the book. According to the story (Genesis 22: 1 – 19), God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac (though many Muslims assume it is Ishmael). Abraham agrees, though he loves his son, preparing the altar and tying his son on top of the wood. When he takes out his knife to kill Isaac, an angel stops him and tells him to sacrifice a ram instead. It’s a puzzling story usually interpreted as a test of Abraham’s faith. The crux of this book, as the title explains, is what would happen if the angel didn’t show up.

The main story features a group of survivors escaping the post-Apocalyptic anarchy of the city and trying to reach the relative safety of Church Peak.

The inner story, told by a man originally identified as the Storyteller, concerns the flight of Abraham, his wife, Sarah, and their son. The more you know about the book of Genesis, the more you’ll enjoy the many references.

The Storyteller uses elevated diction typical of the Bible: “Thou shalt not steal. Would you be as Adam Lot? Would you sacrifice your life for the theft of another’s morsel?”

Sarah, though, uses very casual language and seems to be the only who sees people as they really are.

The Storyteller has a recurring vision, where he is a younger man standing on a field of grass. He sees a ram with the face of a boy. “The dagger found its place,” the boy said in the voice of a ram. But the second. The second can be prevented. Abraham,” the boy-ram said, “Do this and you are absolved of your sin.”

At the center of the story, the two stories overlap. Both groups are headed to Church Peak, and talk of faith and sacrifice abounds.
The ending is powerfully fierce.

This book is a treat – a layered, engaging read that never loses its intensity. Highly recommended.


And that’s it. Thanks for reading. And if you’d like to read it, click the title: But the Angels Never Came


Sorry for the Shameless Self-Promotion

Normally, I don’t spend time reading book reviews. But earlier tonight I read a review of But the Angels Never Came, one I hadn’t seen before, and had to post it here on the blog. As writers we get all kinds of criticism. Some of its good. Some ain’t so good. Some of its fair. Some of it makes us wonder if the reviewer actually knows how to read.thG0CMNJK9 I’m posting this because the review I read earlier tonight is the most generous critique of my writing thus far. I added pictures to make it even more awesome. Check it out:

I’m not a huge reader of apocalyptic ci-fi, but every once in a while something comes along that catches my fancy. This was one of those books. For one thing, how the near-future comes about had a scary sense of realism to it, as if it were a straightforward, logical extrapolation from news making the headlines today. That, of course, makes the tale just that much more disturbing, as if this could well be something many of us will be living through down the road. It’s a very dark future that I don’t want any part of, so in that vein, these kinds of books serve as a great wake up call to snap us out of our lethargy and make what small efforts we can today to see that this destiny is not carved in stone.

Despite the clear biblical references, this is in no way requires a fan of Christian-based fiction to enjoy the story; its audience is much broader. There is a Book of Eli feel to the novel, for those of you who saw the film, but this is far deeper, and more profound to my thinking. And you don’t have to wait until the end for the profound and prophetic material to click into place; it’s there from page one. As sci-fi based on religious parables go—not that I read a lot of those either—this has become my new favorite.
The writing style is smooth, polished, and flowing, making this a fairly effortless read at any speed. The pacing with the plotting is thSYV17UMFquite good, just enough to balance character development with action, and leave the right amount of room for the infusion of the philosophical ideas. While this is arguably thinking man’s sci-fi, it’s not so heady as to be off-putting to folks just looking for a fun story.

While we have a lot of staple scenes that are de rigueur for this genre, I like the extra layer of polish the addition of the double timeline gives us, with the old storyteller conveying to the young lad the apocalyptic happenings early on that leads to an even greater and protracted downward spiral.
Pound for pound, I enjoyed this foray into a dark future world much better than the one that won the Pulitzer Prize for covering much the same subject matter, The Road. Maybe there’s no allowing for taste. Or is there?



You heard it folks. The book rocks. Thanks for reading and sorry for the shameless self-promotion.



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