Aeon Sophia Press (self-published), 296pp Limited Edition hardback (500 copies), €40
Reviewed by R A Bardy (@mangozoid)
[This may not be easily available anymore, but that’s probably a good thing, sorry!]
Blood From Heaven is yet another uninspiring example of why would-be authors shouldn’t try and go the self-publishing route without a decent editor, and they should also know at least one person, somewhere, who will be honest enough to appraise their work and objective enough to give a frank opinion of it, before it gets published.
I cannot fault the physical production quality of this attractive, strictly limited, 500-run ‘Templum Rouge’ edition of Blood From Heaven (complete with attached black silk ribbon bookmark), or the fact that the author is apparently a genuine, practising priestess of Magicka and the occult, part of the Templum Babalonis, a Thelemic Mystery School. However, after that I’m afraid the gloves are well and truly off. As a story this simply doesn’t work, and due to some quite atrocious layout decisions and grammatical errors, and truly awful writing in places, I can only hope that the author has enough friends and family to make 500 copies a worthwhile investment.
The story, as told, concerns the body of a lost spirit being kept alive by an angel whose main source of ‘life force’ can only be obtained through sex. Enter the investigating Officer and a psychiatrist Doctor who are charged with the job of helping to solve a few murders surrounding this strangely compelling, incredibly attractive woman, and ultimately trying to determine what’s wrong with her because she spends the first part of the book in a catatonic state. Between the two of them, they take on the responsibility of ‘servicing her’ whilst also attempting to return the lost spirit to its original body. Needless to say, they do eventually succeed, and supposedly learn a lot about themselves as people, and also become initiated into the strange and mysterious world of Magicka rituals and spirit/devil binding. And everybody lives happily ever after.
Alas, this is a very poor story – there is never any conflict between the two protagonists, both of whom have about as much character and personality as a wet cardboard box, all the women, angels, and spirits are beautiful and stunning, and every conversation sounds like it’s come out of one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books (and there are plenty of these conversations to be suffered I’m afraid). Even the initial, promising premise of the Officer and Doctor taking their first steps into the scary world of Magicka rituals, etc. is ruined by the author treating the subject as though they are taking an afternoon stroll through the park on a Sunday morn, with the relevant research being done seemingly every time one of them pops out of the house.
Conveniently, both the male protagonists also have failed or failing partnerships, Officer Paterson seems to be able to pick out and bring home the correct ritual book as easily as wandering down the shops for a loaf of bread, and when the pair of them agree to move in, we get a classic line from Doctor [One-] Liner: “At least, when we go to Chicago, we can study together and do rituals.” And that truly is the level of writing quality we are dealing with here, and it’s embarrassing – the majority of the book is ‘all tell and no show’, the characters and situations as hollow as last year’s Easter Bunny chocolate figure, and those couple of murders that happened along the way? I’ve no idea, indeed I’m not even sure they get another mention or look-in towards the end of the book.
This is a truly awful book, and yet another example of the idea, often muted, that not everyone was meant to be a writer, and proof positive that a good editor is invaluable in the modern world of publishing. Investigate at your peril.
* This review originally appeared on the British Fantasy Society website here