by Michael Paul Gonzalez
My Rating: 3 Stars ***
A note about my rating:
What does a 3 star rating mean to me? Pretty good. Not great but not bad. I would recommend based on certain tastes.
Angel Falls is Hell, renamed appropriately by its caretaker Satan. Angel Falls isn’t such a bad place to be, in fact it’s more like a vacation or a resort and has all the fun and entertainment there that you might want. There are bars, theaters, restaurants, clubs… everything to keep those who aren’t too eager or interested in beginning their Long Walk. After all, Satan isn’t such a bad guy, he’s just misunderstood. He feels like he was tricked into the responsibilities of taking care of Angel Falls and as he puts it:
I’ll be damned if I do anything other than the minimum required of me, which is to watch over these poor lost souls.
It was difficult trying to review this book because there were both some true strengths to it, as well as some significant weaknesses, which is why my rating isn’t higher than it is. At first, I was pretty impressed and enthused about where the plot was going. I was enjoying the characters and really liked the author’s clever use of humour. There were some fantastic one liners. Occasionally I groaned and rolled my eyes but for the most part the humour hit the mark and made the reading quite enjoyable.
While there are obvious biblical references, I didn’t feel as though you had to be super religious in order to follow along and understand. However, it is likely that a deeper understanding of the biblical references, would likely add a more meaningful layer into the story. I do not consider myself ignorant to what is contained within the Bible but I am certainly no biblical scholar either.
Another enjoyable aspect of Angel Falls was how the author used widely known characters, and put his own unique spin on each of them. Characters such as:
- Eve and Adam
- Cain and Abel
- St. Peter at the Gates of Heaven
- The Boss (aka God)
Michael Paul Gonzalez took these well-known characters, stripped away their stereotypes and created alternate personalities for them. In addition, he developed unique dynamics between those characters. This created a lot of interest for the reader.
My favourite character in the book was Eve. The way the author portrayed her was brilliant. We first meet Eve working as a waitress at the ‘Garden of Eatin’, a popular restaurant in Angel Falls. As the story progresses, the character of Eve has the opportunity to reveal herself. Her need to be surrounded by living things, her love of nature, the way she communicated with nature, were some truly beautiful moments in an otherwise lighthearted novel. For example, Eve commands the trees to provide a layer of warm leaves for Satan to spend the night on and the trees out of reverence for her do just that. She is gently rocked to sleep high in the canopy of the forest, the trees cradling her like a newborn child. The respect between both Eve and nature is obvious and these interactions are beautiful and memorable.
However, there were periods of time in the novel when the interest and enthusiasm started to fade for me. I felt like there were events that just weren’t necessary for moving the plot ahead and it made me want to skip pages to get back to the ‘real’ story. It felt as though, there was a bit of ‘filler’ used to extend the story, when it really wasn’t necessary and that is frustrating to me as a reader.
There were times in the story when things simply got confusing. Normally I may have gone back, re-read or tried again to make sense of what the author was talking about but there just wasn’t enough interest in it for me to do that. A bad sign indeed.
Another thing I didn’t care too much for in this book… there were times when I thought the author was simply in poor taste. An example of that would be when a Chihuahua dies falling off of a bridge. Shortly after, a character retrieves the dead dog carcass and ‘plays’ with it and makes it dance. I simply don’t see the humor or value to this scene at all.
So in summary, this novel certainly won’t be added to any of my favourites lists but I might recommend it to a certain type of reader… I just don’t happen to be one of them.
Some of My Favourite Quotes From Angel Falls
“That was beautiful,” The Righteous whispered. “And everything beautiful dies. See?” He held the dog pelt towards her. “It’s done everything it was meant to do,” Eve said. “It’s still amazing to behold. And it has the potential to grow again.” (pg 82)
“There are no such things as mistakes and innocent bystanders. We are where we are and when we are at all times.” (pg 87)
“The air was perfectly still around us, the very essence of time and the universe waiting for the balance to shift, for life to return to the giant or dissipate forever.” (pg 92)
Now would have been a perfect time to faint. Just take a few minutes off, let my system regroup, start all over again. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. This is Hell, after all. Even I must suffer for my sins. (pg 95)
“Flesh is pain. It’s the hardest truth I’ve discovered.” (pg 136)
“You turned gay just to get out of Heaven?” “When you put it that way, it sounds wrong.” (pg 156)
“Why would you create a race of creatures only to watch them struggle and fail? Why would He have me be the fount of the entire human race, and then deny me the right to guide my children? He made me a soul mate and tore him away. Why?” (pg 163)
About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!
Welcome to Novel Publicity’s first ever publishing house blog tour. Join us as three new titles from Perfect Edge–we’re calling them the Perfect Edge Trifecta–tour the blogosphere in a way that just can’t be ignored. And, hey, we’ve got prizes!
About the book:
It’s been rough lately for the Lord of Darkness, with ex-girlfriend drama rearing its head at inconvenient moments, ancient gods returning to take over the universe, and Satan’s own unstoppable laziness. But whatever.
Satan is okay, and he thinks you’re okay, too. This whole eternal damnation thing is all a bit of a misunderstanding.
He runs Hell as a resort, kind of. A vacation spot. The point is, he’s not a bad guy. He’s trying to save Heaven and all of creation, and he only has a dimwitted giant, a surly waitress, and a monkey to help him. So, a thank you might be nice. Maybe buy him a cup of coffee next time you see him. And you will see him.
It’s the Apocalypse, and all that.
About the author:
Michael Paul Gonzalez lives and writes in Los Angeles. He is the editor at ThunderDomeMag.com, an online lit zine and small press. He is at work on his next novel as you read this. Seriously. He probably just rattled off a really amazing chapter, and someday you’ll read it and think back to this moment, and exhale. Connect with Michael on his website, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.
About the prizes:
Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win either of two $25 Amazon gift cards, an autographed copy of Angel Falls, or an autographed copy of one of its tour mates, The Sound of Loneliness by Craig Wallwork or Stranger Will by Caleb J Ross. Here’s what you need to do…
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest
- Leave a comment on my blog.
That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win a $25 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other $25 gift card and the 3 autographed books will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form on the official Perfect Edge Trifecta tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!
Perfect Edge Books was founded in late 2011 to unite authors whose books weren’t “obviously” commercial. Our books tend to sit in various genres all at once: literary fiction, satire, neo-noir, sci-fi, experimental prose. We believe that literary doesn’t have to mean difficult, and that difficult doesn’t just mean pointless. We prefer to cultivate a word-of-mouth approach to marketing, and keep production as simple as we can. Learn more at www.PerfectEdgeBooks.com.