Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review [and Giveaway] of The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell

If this this novel were a movie, the humans would beat the zombies and the status-quo of humanity, all of our strengths and weaknesses, would prevail once again. Instead of being an all-or-nothing story of good v. evil, Alden Bell (a.k.a. Joshua Gaylord) allows it all to co-exist. Good sits next to evil; beauty and ugliness can live in the same person and violence is just a stone's throw away from love. Miracles even happen in the midst of turmoil, as Temple, the 15 yr old female narrator, points out on the first page: “God is a slick god . . . because of all the crackerjack miracles still to be seen on this ruined globe.” This novel, replete with all the hope of the human condition in a time of utter hopelessness, is a good read. A really good read.

First, I should probably out myself: I am not a zombie fan and I don't read post-apocalyptic stuff. I teach literature and so, in this book, I dig the extended (and not so extended) metaphors, the allusions to other works (O'Connor, Faulkner and the Bible, just to name a few) and the prose that is, alternately, gorgeous and translucent. Further Gaylord/Bell, in an online interview, has talked about the American-ness of his novel's setting: “the apocalypse in Reapers does destroy America, but it also resets it to its original promise. It becomes, once again, a landscape where you can build things from scratch. So it’s anti- and pro-American Dream at the same time. And the zombies? To me, they’re like cilantro – if I can figure out a way to add them into the mix, I’ll do it.” Deep , isn't it? And he mentioned cilantro—my favorite herb for seasoning food. But, I digress . . .

In particular, I found Temple's voice as narrator the thing I most enjoyed about Reapers. Through her eyes the cynical landscape of the novel just makes sense. She says things like “try not to look so evil of portent” to Maury, her traveling companion, evincing a Southern folk wisdom running counter to her age. She also kicks a** which is where things get gory in the novel. Because Bell creates such a memorable character in Temple, the main criticism about the novel refers to the ending. (Sorry, no spoilers from me.) But any other ending would not have been true to the story and what drove the novel's action.

So, whether you're a reader like me who wants to nod sagely at Bell's numerous literary allusions, or whether you just want to read a good book, I recommend The Reapers are the Angels.

Giveaway

Have I convinced you?

Because you can buy The Reapers are the Angels here.

Or

Because the publisher of The Reapers are the Angels has been generous enough to provide them, three of you will win your own copy of the book!

To earn a mandatory entry, go to the publisher's website for The Reapers are the Angels. Come back and tell me one thing you learned about the book or the author. (Mandatory entry means that if you don't do this first, all of your other entries will be disqualified.)

To earn an additional entry, do one (or all) of the following and leave a separate comment for each thing you do:

Become a public follower of Moana Saves via Google Friend Connect (on the left side).

Follow me on Twitter.

Follow @HenryHolt (the publisher) on Twitter.

Tweet about this giveaway (limit one tweet per day) using the following:
#Win The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell from @HenryHolt and @moanasaves http://bit.ly/abnn78 #giveaway

Subscribe to my feed via RSS reader (right side) and/or email updates (left side).

Grab my button and put it on your blog until the giveaway is over.

Put Moana Saves on your blog list.


Only one person per email/household/IPaddress can enter this giveaway.  He/she must be 18+ years old and reside in the U.S.  This giveaway ends on Tuesday, September 14th at 11:59 PM HST (Hawaii Standard Time).  One winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org.  I will notify the winner via email and he/she must respond to claim the prize within 48 hours or I will draw another winner.


Disclosure: I did not receive any form of compensation from Henry Holt and Company for this book review or to host this giveaway.  Any and all opinions are my own.

33 comments:

  1. I learned that the author's wife is a award winning mystery writer.
    twoofakind12@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mary D
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    This books sounds great!
    I learned that Alden Bell's top zombie movie number 1 pick is: I Walked With a Zombie [ which I've never seen - darn it ]

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mary Ann, i checked your blog and am now following you. you're the zombie expert!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I learned that his first book was about teacher-student relationships, VERY different than this one!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I follow you on Twitter @RazzMyBerry

    ReplyDelete
  6. I follow HenryHolt on Twitter @RazzMyBerry

    ReplyDelete
  7. I subscribe through Google Reader

    ReplyDelete
  8. I learned that his wife is, the Edgar Award-winning mystery writer, Megan Abbott.

    mckelly74(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Following on GFC.

    mckelly74(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Following you on the Twitter @MarcinMD

    mckelly74(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Following @HenryHolt on the Twitter @MarcinMD

    mckelly74(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Tweeted about giveaway:
    http://twitter.com/MarcinMD/statuses/24406202071

    mckelly74(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I learned that his wife is a mystery writer.

    gracemorgan96@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. I follow you on Google Friend Connect.

    gracemorgan96@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I follow Henry Holt on Twitter.

    gracemorgan96@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I follow you on Twitter (Grace96M)

    ReplyDelete
  17. He teaches at a New York City prep school and is an adjunct professor at The New School.

    s2s2 at comcast dot net

    ReplyDelete
  18. I learned that the author's first book was titled "Hummingbirds"

    flufffreebies@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. His wife is, the Edgar Award-winning mystery writer, Megan Abbott.

    ReplyDelete
  20. http://twitter.com/MajaMeza/status/24519875173

    ReplyDelete
  21. I learned that this author appears to be versatile as his previous work included a book for teachers/student relationships whereas this deals with the end of the world. Very impressive!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Follow HenryHolt on Twitter. Fatally_Flayed

    ReplyDelete
  23. Follow you on Twitter. Fatally_Flayed

    ReplyDelete
  24. Tweeted the giveaway here. http://twitter.com/Fatally_Flayed/status/24523894768

    ReplyDelete
  25. The author, Alden Bell, lives in New York City with his wife, the Edgar Award-winning mystery writer, Megan Abbott.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I learned the authors wife is mystery writer Meagan Abbott
    ortizvelasquez at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  27. It's published by Holt Paperbacks.

    clarkmurdock@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
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