Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Soul City by Mon D. Rea | A Book Review

Soul City by Mon D. Rea | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this book from Goodreads. I joined a book club for all Filipinos and the author is a member of the same book club. He was giving away paperback copies of his two books in exchange for review. I signed up to review this book and he included the other one which is just to my liking.

This is my first time to read a book by the author. I did not know what to expect but if the blurb were any basis, I was in for a trip to the underworld. 

The story is about Nate Cuervo who suffered from depression and committed suicide. Morbid and creepy, right? But like everything else, regret is always after the fact. Nate regretted what he did. He missed his girlfriend, Samantha. Just when he thought he is going to undergo endless torment as punishment for what he did, he was given an assignment by the Grim Reaper, Septhemus Rex. But it's not all that, Septhemus has a secret and he wanted Nate to help him.

The story reminds me a lot about the Greek mythology. The description of the underworld complete with the creatures that were in the Greek mythology like Kharon, the ferryman of the River Styx and Kerberos, the three-headed dog. It was nice, feeling a familiarity with a few characters of this story. And, I love mythology so this book just hit my weak spot. The story is very detailed and descriptive. I can easily picture out how the underworld looks like through Nate's eyes. If you are faint-hearted, better be careful because the vivid descriptions are gory and unpleasant. Make sure that you are not eating while reading this because I am pretty sure you will lose your appetite or you will likely puke. That's how disgusting yet appropriate the descriptions are. The story started with dark and sad thoughts which brought our character into the underworld. But it turns out, even in hell, there is a sliver of light or hope, if you prefer. It was not that grim for Nate, apparently.

The Grim Reaper falling in love with a mortal girl is not a very new idea. This same idea is even in a Korean tv novella. But what I liked about this is that Septhemus does not know how and what it is. Why it torments him and why he has this indescribable and illogical need to talk to the girl. So, Nate Cuervo to the rescue and gives Septhemus lessons in "how to court a girl 101". This amused me. I can imagine the Grim Reaper's face trying to figure out this alien feeling he is experiencing. This also reminds me how it was like falling in love for the first time. This feeling of being in love makes the Grim Reaper a little bit human. It's cute and at the same time, I feel sorry for him having to make sense of it all. Like it was beyond his comprehension and like an incurable disease that he wants to be rid of.

The revelation of Nate's history and birth, how he ended up in the orphanage and how different he is from all the other kids was a very brilliant background story. It was so incredible. Very creative yet not so outlandish. I really like the author's interpretation of the storks and the crows. It does make sense. It somehow fits nicely into the whole story.

I also like the ending. Redemption. And the message that LOVE is really a force to be reckoned with, even those purported to be heartless or those who have no feeling at all, are not even immune to it. No one escapes the power of love, even the Grim Reaper was helpless to it. Yes, though this story started out grim, dark, and sad, it ended beautifully. 

I give this book 4.5/5 crows. I did enjoy it, though it was a bit dark for my taste. The ending did make up for it. I keep saying that this is dark, because it honestly and truthfully laid out how depression could envelop a person and drive one to desperation. In a way, I can relate to Nate. I can feel what he is feeling and I understand how he ended up making that horrible choice. I know some people would wonder why a person would try to end his/her own life. You won't know what goes through inside a person's head. You can't judge that person just by the act. A lot of reasons could spur anyone. And admit it, each of us are not made the same way. Some of us are just not as strong as we try to make everyone believe. Sometimes, death is just the easiest way out. I am not advocating death as the answer to end everything. I am just trying to point out that depression is a serious concern. If you know someone who seems to be going through this, help him/her. And don't judge. Be thankful you are not going through a mid-life crisis, a major self-esteem breakdown or a severe case of being lost--loss of direction, inspiration and motivation. Some of us are just more broken than others and sometimes, it takes so much more to get all the pieces back together. Some just thought they don't have anything to live for. It's unfortunate that some can't seem to find the basic strength to even wake up each morning. It's a sad fact and the least we can do is be sensitive and to always be kind. You never know what the other persons is going through and how you treat him/her might actually just make a whole lot of difference.



Once in your life you'll find the perfect love and it'll be everything you imagined, whether or not you stayed a believer. You'll find it at the most unexpected time and in the most unassuming place. It masquerades as something commonplace, neither remarkable nor memorable. It just happens.
- Mon D. Rea, Soul City -



Thank you, Mon D. Rea, for the paperback copy.