Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Review: Afterlife - The Resurrection Chronicles by Merrie DeStefano

Afterlife is a bit of a schizophrenic book. The cover is all neo-Twilight urban fantasy, but the premise is definitely more psuedo-science than traditional fantasy. To explain: Afterlife is set in New Orleans some time in the future, where science has found a way to instantly transport your dead soul into a cloned body. Up to nine times, which seems somewhat arbitrary, and the whole resurrection process was never really explained to my satisfaction (probably should have left it in the realms of urban fantasy, I think). Cue a philosophical sci-fi thriller dealing with cloning, immortality and religious faith (yes, there are nominally Christian characters in there, puzzling these things over). From the blurb:
Chaz Dominguez is a professional Babysitter in New Orleans, helping to integrate the recently deceased into their new and improved lives. Though Fresh Start has always been the only game in town, resurrection isn't all it's cracked up to be. Nine lives are all a person can get—and a powerful group of desperate, high-level Nine-Timers will stop at nothing to possess the keys to true immortality. Now the only hope for Chaz and his family—and the human race—lies in the secrets locked away in the mind of Angelique, the beautiful, mysterious Newbie he must protect . . .
Afterlife presents (insufficient science notwithstanding) an interesting premise, an undoubtedly interesting world, and what should have been an interesting and action-filled plot, but then, at times I just didn't get it. The multiple POV characters I can cope with, for instance, unless you make one of them a dog. And I'm not sure where the 'Resurrection Chronicles' thing comes from, as it was all wrapped up mighty neatly at the end of this book!

So much for the quibbles though; is it any good? Well, it's actually not bad, unless you were expecting Twilight, in which case you'll likely be baffled by all the science-fictiony stuff that sneaks in. If you ignore the cover and take my word for it that this is actually a dystopian story in which the 'ideal' world, where near immortality is available to all, has gone horribly, terribly wrong, then you might get a kick out of it.

A Christian sci-fi/fantasy reader looking for something thought-provoking but non-threatening to recommend to a friend might find the subjects of immortality, faith and science gone bad as covered in this story will provide good copnversation starters. Afterlife is definitely something different; I'm still not quite sure what it is, but it's different, and that's got to be worth something.

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