Beyond Redemption – Michael R. Fletcher

About the Book

Faith shapes the landscape, defines the laws of physics, and makes a mockery of truth. Common knowledge isn’t an axiom, it’s a force of nature. What the masses believe is. But insanity is a weapon, conviction a shield. Delusions give birth to foul new gods.

Violent and dark, the world is filled with the Geisteskranken—men and women whose delusions manifest, twisting reality. High Priest Konig seeks to create order from chaos. He defines the beliefs of his followers, leading their faith to one end: a young boy, Morgen, must Ascend to become a god. A god they can control.

But there are many who would see this would-be-god in their thrall, including the High Priest’s own Doppels, and a Slaver no one can resist. Three reprobates—The Greatest Swordsman in the World, a murderous Kleptic, and possibly the only sane man left—have their own nefarious plans for the young god.

As these forces converge on the boy, there’s one more obstacle: time is running out. When one’s delusions become more powerful, they become harder to control. The fate of the Geisteskranken is to inevitably find oneself in the Afterdeath.

The question, then, is: Who will rule there?

512 pages (paperback)
June 16, 2015
Author’s webpage
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I borrowed this book from the library.

I’ve been having a bit of a time recently. Life has been kind of rough in health aspects, and I’ve been hanging on and just waiting for things to calm down. Sometimes when I get like this, I sort of lose myself in paranormal romance. It’s light and fluffy and it gives my brain a vacation. Other times when it all seems like too much, I just want a whole bunch of things to die in very creative ways.

I’ve fallen into the second camp. I looked up a bunch of books on Goodreads, and put them on hold at my local library (I love libraries) and read them. This one blew me away. You guys, why in the hell didn’t I read this book sooner?

Beyond Redemption was published in 2015, and if you haven’t read it and you enjoy grimdark, you really need to use this review as some motivation and get your hands on it. The premise is amazing. Faith shapes the land. Delusions are powerful, and they become reality. The big religion is creating gods through the power of the faith of worshippers. On the one hand, you have some people who know they are delusional, but they also know their delusions are powerful and they are shaping reality. On the other hand, you have three people who are looking for quick ways to get a buck by doing some dirty deeds. Forces collide, and dark, interesting things happen.

Of course there are a bunch of secondary characters, a scientist, a creative assortment of religious people, others with various sundry backgrounds and more. They are all so well crafted, and so creative within the context of this world and it’s incredibly clever, sort of tongue-in-cheek magic system.

The plot moves really quickly. I was hooked from the first page due to the dialogue, which is out of this world delightful. I enjoy a book that is both thought provoking, but also manages to make me chortle as I read, and this fit that bill. Even if this book had no plot, the dialogue is wonderful enough to keep me hooked. However, the plot, as I was saying above before I distracted myself, is rip-roaring, a sort of heist/exploration of reality that left me hanging on by my fingernails and lamenting the fact that the book had to end.

Fletcher is one hell of a writer, and he had a great way with shifting the voice throughout the book so each character really stood out to me. They all spoke differently. They all treated reality differently, and all of their perspectives, thoughts, actions, motivations were different. Now, this might seem like a “well, duh” moment, but you’d be surprised by how many third-person-multiple-perspective books I read where each character’s “voice” sounds like every other character, and the only way I can tell them apart is by knowing who is telling their story in any one section before I read it. So, this matters, and it’s wonderful.

Beyond Redemption is dark. People die. A lot of people die. And I’m not ashamed to say that some of the death’s had me laughing and nodding in approval. Bravo, Fletcher. You managed to kill enough people, creatively enough, with an undertone of dark humor that you slacked my literary bloodlust during this stressful time in my life.

Beyond Redemption is probably one of the best books I’ve run across so far this year. It did everything right, and exceeded every possible expectation I had. I honestly can’t think of one thing to complain about in this book. It put Fletcher on my auto-buy list. I absolutely need to read everything he writes. I have to. It’s a compulsion. Beyond Redemption did it to me, so go read it so it can do it to you, too.

 

5/5 stars

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