Well, it’s been a little while since I last reviewed any books on the site but you know what they say about falling a horse . . . I guess this is me getting back on (don’t call it a comeback). Our subject today will be a little book entitled The Unholy, by Paul DeBlassie III. Let’s get started.
Things I enjoyed about this book:
1) Setting – In terms of the setting, this book touches a lot of ground. Indeed, the vast Aztlan desert might seem a wasteland, but as we traverse its expanse, we find it to be a solid foundation on which to build a story. DeBlassie himself, has a background in psychology so immediately I was interested to see how this might show through within the novel. I wasn’t disappointed. DeBlassie takes us back in time, just a skosh, into the era of sanitariums and electro-shock therapy. An asylum supported by religious fanaticism is a trope we’re familiar with but DeBlassie employs it effectively and it doesn’t feel tired. Then we add some Native-American Medicine Women and we’ve got our drama.
2) Dream Sequences – I mentioned DeBlassie’s background in psychology, and it is clear from his writing that he is extremely interested in dreams as a portal into the psyche. There are many scenes within the novel which rely upon dreams for foreshadowing but also (I think) for misinformation. Any way you view the scenes, it’s fun to read them and try to puzzle out what exactly is going on. What does the symbolism mean? Why are some characters represented in this way? How are others represented? etc.
1) Klunk – There is no doubt that DeBlassie is a vivid and descriptive writer; however, I felt his writing style sometimes got in the way of itself. Mostly, I’m speaking in terms of mechanics. Some phrases seemed to bear too much punctuation while others not enough. Also, the multitude of repeated descriptors was sometimes tiresome and had me thinking “Wait did I just read this section?” I think that one more round of editorial would have smoothed this out. Really a minor hindrance.
2) Give me 25 more pages! – Normally I’m never in favor of books getting longer. Most things I read could have a three quarters the page length and still be too long. One of my favorite things about The Unholy was that it was an easy (and quick) 200 pages. However, it could have used a few more pages at the end. My reasoning?
I didn’t feel it. The penultimate scene in which the tension of the entire novel will be resolved (for good or evil), was like 3-4 pages. Give me more DeBlassie. Give me more!
I certainly recommend this one. I always feel a little bad when the cons portion of the post takes up more space than the pro’s because I like talking about the good things authors do in their writing. Indeed, The Unholy has more good things going for it than bad. I think I was just looking for an excuse to write CATHARSIS! in all caps (got it in there again!).
Can you blame me?
Give this one a read if you’ve got the time (which you do). I’ve posted the links below: