Lost Gods

Brom. Harper Voyager, $27.99 (496p) ISBN 978-0-06-209568-8
Fantasy artist and author Brom creates a fascinating vision of the underworld in this sprawling dark novel, but the quest story that crosses the landscape is unsatisfying. It’s 1976, and 24-year-old bumbler Chet Moran has just served seven months in county prison in rural Alabama for drug possession. He reunites with his pregnant girlfriend, Trish, and they elope to Chet’s ancestral home, Moran Island, S.C., where his grandmother Lamia welcomes them with open arms. The island is not the haven it appears to be, though, and when Chet is murdered, he must cross through purgatory, which is currently in a state of perilous upheaval, to save Trish and their baby from a bleak fate. Brom clearly wants to show off his worldbuilding and much of Chet’s journey through the afterlife involves him stumbling into situations that could have been compelling, but Chet treats them as mere obstacles impeding his quest, which dulls their impact. The momentum is entirely driven by plot, and many characters seem more like puppets than people. The prose is evocative and the settings are brilliantly crafted, but unwelcome surprises (including upsetting things happening to the baby and many of the other female characters) and confusing, contradictory metaphysics (which both draw on and disparage non-Christian traditions) detract from the experience. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/15/2016
Release date: 10/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-06-209569-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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