on Aug. 27, 2012 :
I picked up this book due to the tags it had on Smashwords. It sounded like it would be an interesting read, despite the fact that I had twice before passed it over by the character set it had described in its extended description. Still, in the end I picked it up because of the five star reviews it had received both here and on Smashwords.
To be fair, this book hovers around the 3-4 star range throughout its pages. The characters are interesting, each with their own set of issues and problems. The interactions of these characters are realistic and understandable, and their struggle to survive is one that manages to capture your interest relatively easily. Williams does a good job with family dynamics and as each character has their own personal revelation, certain things click together in a satisfactory way.
Yet there is a problem with more than a couple of the characters. Having so many people present in the house creates a jumble of personal issues, and despite more than a few being fleshed out, many are simply stated, then drop off the face of the pages. Yes, you had this severe thing happen when you were a kid, that's sad. We'll mention it, and then you die. No real revelation, no real redemption, no real point. Other than dying, these characters serve no real point in the story and a couple of them could have been combined with others to streamline the story.
Then we come to Dr. Saxton, the villain.
We know this because from the moment we meet him, that he is nothing but evil. The fact that he is a villain is hung around his neck in neon lights, plainly obvious from every single thing he does in regards to his family.
There is no sympathetic parts to this character. Nothing to cause the reader to relate. There seems to be a couple moments where Williams tries to create some sort of sympathy towards Saxton, but even that just furthers the fact that he is evil and nothing more. Then, when the end comes, it's unsatisfactory, quick, and seemingly pointless.
Yet despite that, Williams does present a lot of interesting history, both real and mythical (Saxton's forte) to back up what is happening in regards to the black water. Generally the themes he draws upon are wonderfully put together. The relation to Heaven and Hell is there, sometimes glaring, other times, subdued. This creates a nice backdrop to the multiple myths of creation, something even Saxton comments on, but this is also where we run into a glaring problem.
Saxton studied religions and creation myths and at one point, compares what is going on to various creation myths. Yet when he comes to Christianity, he refers to the flooding of the world to destroy the race of Giants that had existed there to lay with mortal women. If indeed Saxton studied his myths, he'd know that it had been angels who had laid with women and begot the race of giants. They weren't some previous race that had existed prior to the religions of the Book that God wiped out with the flood so his faith and people could remain. His faith existed prior to that, and the angels creating these giants had been the cause of a lot of mankind's issues at the time. Hence the flood, so he could start over again. Had Williams not tried to use this example to further prove all of his previous examples, Saxton's speech would have been mind blowing and an epic moment in the story.
In the end, this is an okay read. I enjoyed parts of it, and a couple moments captivated me. But all in all, I won't be reading this again. I paid 0.99cents for this story, and I think Williams should charge a bit more for it, as there is a good story there and he's under charging himself. But that said, I also wouldn't recommend it to many. If you like battles between good and evil that are blatant and in your face, this might be the book for you. If you want touching family stories, this might even be for you. But as I said above, it's just an okay read.
But that's just my opinion of course.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)