Review: Astrum Divinus by John D. Christopher


Publisher: John Dobija
Publishing Date: August 20, 2014
ISBN: 9781925029406
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 2.4/5

Publisher Description: All his life, Dr. Peter Northcott has been plagued by disturbing dreams: apocalyptic scenes of angels and demons, and visions of fire and blood. As a historian and scholar, he discounts these to concentrate on his academic life in Rome. He is approaching his thirty-third birthday when a mysterious priest makes contact.

Review: Really bad cover art. A cabin in the woods….

I had a hard time fighting through the first few chapters due to the extended self-indulgent situational banter. The British upper crust approach to life wears thin and you develop no concern for the main character when he has “dream visions” of demons etc. When a person can avail themselves of familial advantages it’s hard as a reader to feel any sympathy. “Wahhhh, baby had a bad dream…righty oh, time to go to Rome or drive around in Daddy’s Morgan”. So Asshat, er…..Peter is finally introduced to some weird people that may help explain his even weirder dreams and this innate ability to influence people with mere words strung together into sentences which may create a paragraph or two.

This novel hints at wanting to be a movie. The character development is sacrificed for the story-line and subsequent plot. Novels that are designed with the reader in mind, couple character development with the movement of the story-line so there is a better sense of what the character is made of. This creates depth and empathy. In this novel the characters seem removed from the story-line, until they are suddenly thrust into a culmination of uncontrollable events. Here the event takes over and we are still left not really caring what happens to Mr. Penny Loafers. When Peter is finally elevated as an Archangel he is not in any real jeopardy as he cannot be harmed by Satan (according to Azrael).

This is a much used Dan Brown shtick where Super Dr. Phd. uncovers historical remnants of secret sects with dodgy types running around trying kill Mr. Smart Pants. Why not make the guy, hmmm, a plumber in Basingstoke. Rough around the edges yet with a deep respect for life. You know, hidden sensitivity. Now let him discover that he has a mum he never knew about and away we go. This novel was very dialogue heavy and the towards the end this dialogue got more and more stilted. Almost like the action (movement) just couldn’t kiss the characters.

Although I didn’t like the characters, I liked the writing and the scene descriptions. But that’s about it.


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