Bechdel Test: PASS
Deggan's Rule: PASS
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL
An easy but deeply metaphorical read. Nobody in this story is without guilt or shame, and this is the basis of the narrative - when a jealous and petulant god is seeking to rebirth her kingdom, she needs to acquire jealous and petulant souls to transform into her new archangels. How are these new archangels supposed evaluate a life, by the joy and wisdom it's created and shared or the violence and misery it has inflicted?
The similes between the physical realm of the humans and the spiritual realm of the gods felt a little out of sync to me; not unlike looking at a reflection through a poorly manufactured mirror. Perhaps I was reading it wrong. Once the protagonist's transcendence occurred, however, the story really started to bog down on itself. I felt myself thinking, "Yes, I get it, can we please move on to wrapping up the storyline now?" about 70% of the way through the book. Finally, once we'd reached the finish, there were a series of one page chapters. I didn't like that technique at all, I kept thinking I was done with the story and WAIT! There's More! If you keep reading, we'll send you free of charge One More Detail! Yes, that's right! Even though you've been through 280 pages already and know where this is going, We'll Spell It Out For You!
The book is very well written, with a good vocabulary and control of the cadence and pace. The characters are, for the most part, rounded out enough to make the story work and they each have their own voices. The earlier part of the book kept the plot moving, but as I mentioned above the latter third of the book felt like it started getting too self-involved with itself.
This isn't a bad book, and I'm willing to read more of Mr. Etheridge's work. It's tilting a bit farther towards "high literature" than what I usually read, but I enjoyed it all the same. If you like The Cannibal Within I suspect you'll like this book too.
Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.