Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Reapers Are The Angels - Alden Bell

Oh boy! I stayed up way too late last night - I literally could not put down The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell. I have a fondness for post-apocalyptic novels and this one grabbed and wouldn't let go of me 'til the last page.

Sometime in the future, zombies have stumbled about the land for over twenty five years, eating whatever humans they can catch. Temple has been born into this world and knows no other. She remembers living with an old man and a boy who might have been her brother. Now fifteen and with heartache and tragedy her constant companions, she travels what is left of the world that was, seeking something. Her chance encounter with a man named Maury could be her salvation - although she doesn't recognize it as such. And an encounter with a man named Moses could be her downfall.

Reapers was such a great read on so many levels. The uncertainty of what Bell would come up with next in this world and what Temple would encounter had me holding my breath and frantically turning pages. Temple as a character was fascinating. Old beyond her years, born into a world with no compass, she has her own sense of morality and direction. The conversations she has with those she meets in her travels and herself are quite philosophical.
"See it's a daily chore tryin to do the right thing. Not because the right thing is hard to do - it ain't. It's just cause the right thing - well, the right thing's got a way of eluding you. You give me a compass that tells good from bad, and boy I'll be a soldier of the righteous truth. But them two things are a slippery business and tellin then apart might as well be a blind man's guess. And sometimes, you just get tired of pokin at the issue. Those are the times you just do something because you're tired of thinkin on it. And that's when the devil better get his pencil ready to tally up a score, cause the time for nuances is gone. And you think, that's it for me on this world. You think, all right then hell is my home."
The setting is mostly in the Southern states and has a distinct Southern gothic tone. In the cover blurb, author Michael Gruber compared it to Flannery OConnor's style - an apt description. Athough the book has zombies, they are more of a supporting platform than a main focus. How they came to be is never explained. Granted, there is a fair amount of violence and blood spilled, so be warned. But it is Temple and her personal journey that captivated me.

An excellent read for me - definitely 5 stars. This novel would appeal to those who enjoyed Cormac McCarthy's The Road or Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. I can see this being made into a movie as well.

Read an excerpt of The Reapers Are The Angels.

(interesting sidenote - the title seems to be taken from the Bible - Matthew, Chapter 13, verse 39 King James version)  "The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels."


Kerry said...

I've been eying this for a while now - thanks for sharing!

debbie said...

I really want to read this one. Now that you mention the road, it makes me want it even more.

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

I've been dying to read this one! Glad to read you enjoyed it!