Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Hope is a merciless tormentor... It laughs at mankind's embrace of it after millennia of disappointment."

4 out of 5 stars

Wow. I mean, wow. This has been described as a rollercoaster ride and that is so true. However, this is a rollercoaster which comes out of the loading dock straight into a free-fall drop and never slows down until the very end. Take The Da Vinci Code, add few more octanes of amphetamine-fueled energy and you get Comes a Horseman. And that's the problem. As much as I love exciting, grand conspiracy-fueled action-thriller novels, I also like a bit of breathing room to take everything in, to allow my heartbeat to slow and my adrenaline to drop back to its baseline level. I don't mind the action getting a running start from the get-go, but, like any good rollercoaster, you need some flat sections, some gentle curves before your brain gets scrambled and your insides get rearranged by the next loop-de-loop. Right up until the very end, Liparulo keeps the action at a break-neck pace and by the time the finale rolls around, you as the reader are just so damned tired you're more numbed than relieved when the bad guy gets it and the battered yet satisfied main characters return home. However, the story itself is so well-told, so well-researched, with enough gruesome killings, conspiracies, and misdirections, when that ending does come, you don't care that you have the energy level of a beached jellyfish. You're just glad that it's fiction (or, at least, one hopes it's fiction) and can set the book aside for something a little more upbeat at the end of the day. And I have to say that even though the plot does concern the advent of Antichrist (that's right, just 'Antichrist', no 'the' involved) and the Christian mythology which revolves around such a person, there's a level of realism involved which makes the concept not only plausible, but downright scary, as there're no metaphysical elements involved. No appearance of the Devil, no singing of angels, just men who believe so much in a particular destiny that they will do anything, kill anyone in order to bring it about. And let me tell you, that's the scariest thought of all because you know there are people out in the world today psychotic enough to do just that a million times over. Hell, history is full of such megalomaniacs and the advent of bigger and more destructive weapons has made their quest for glory that much more bloody and deadly.

Read November 3-7, 2011
Originally reviewed on Goodreads November 11, 2011  

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