Years of covering the antics of End Times cults for The Banner, a religious news magazine, have left Christine Temetri not only jaded but seriously questioning her career choice. That is, until she meets Mercury, an anti-establishment angel who’s frittering his time away whipping up batches of Rice Krispy Treats and perfecting his ping-pong backhand instead of doing his job: helping to orchestrate Armageddon. With the end near and angels and demons debating the finer political points of the Apocalypse, Christine and Mercury accidentally foil an attempt to assassinate one Karl Grissom, a thirty-seven-year-old film school dropout about to make his big break as the Antichrist. Now, to save the world, she must negotiate the byzantine bureaucracies of Heaven and Hell and convince the apathetic Mercury to take a stand, all the while putting up with the obnoxious mouth-breathing Antichrist.
It turned out to be a witty and whimsical take on the end of the world and a fun read. It is full of dry humor, and winks at popular culture, that make you smile and even chuckle out loud. But for some reason it seemed to lack something – at least for me.
I guess it just seemed a little too much fluff and not enough craft. Don’t get me wrong, it is funny. But the constant plot turns and lack of any real tension whatsoever let the air out of the story quite often. It is as if the story is just a vehicle for jokes, and some clear pontificating against bureaucracy and for human choice, rather than the point of the writing.
You never really felt any of the central characters (Mercury or Christine) were at risk or that the conflict wouldn’t be resolved in a positive way – hence the lack of tension. And the characters also felt a little thin – vehicles for jokes rather than three dimensional people. It was never clear exactly what motivated Mercury or what his history was. And Christine was a little hard to read as well. They just kind of get dropped into the story with little backstory or character development.
I know what you are saying. Relax it is just a slapstick comedy don’t critique it as if it were classic literature. Fine, point taken. But good stories, even funny ones, grab you and hold your attention because of the way the characters are developed and the way the plot is structured and resolved.
So, all in all found the book to be fun and entertaining read but I didn’t find it to be quite the “cult classic” so many reviewers did. A lot of potential but without quite reaching the proverbial “next level” for me.