Book Review of “Reviver”

reviver

Promotional cover image of Seth Patrick’s 2013 novel “Reviver.” Note: Not the original cover or title.

I probably wouldn’t even have read Seth Patrick’s novel Reviver (2013), but I noticed on the back cover a small review by SF author Neal Asher. I’m familiar with Asher’s work and even share the Table of Contents with him in a recent SciFi anthology, so naturally I was intrigued.

A few weeks back, I was at the local branch of my little public library, and although I was already reading two books, found myself stuck there with my books and my beloved laptop still at home. So I started wandering the stacks. This library is small enough not to differentiate between general fiction, science fiction, and fantasy, so they are all intermixed. I was randomly strolling through, occasionally picking up and reading the summaries of various novels, when I happened upon “Reviver” and noticed Asher’s name on the back cover. I figured, what the heck.

This is Seth Patrick’s very first novel, and I can only imagine he went through quite a few iterations before he arrived at the final product I consumed. It was a terrific mix of horror, mystery, and a hint of speculative fiction. I know there are purists who detest that sort of thing, but I never was one for the extreme blood, guts, and gore of modern horror. Yes, there is graphic imagery in the novel, but nothing I couldn’t handle, and the psychological horror totally hooked me.

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Quoting: Do It Once

When fighting against the evil inclination, use the same strategy he uses. When he tries to prevent you from doing good deeds, tell him, ‘It’s just for this once,’ or, ‘I’m only going to start doing a little bit,’ and similar statements that will enable you to get started. This way of talking to yourself lessens the difficulty of a task.

Think of a good deed that you would want to do, but don’t do because you feel it will be difficult for you to continue doing it. Imagine that you will do it only once. Then take action.

Sources: see Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler – Michtav MaiEliyahu, vol. 3, p.293; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Consulting the Wise”

Quoting: Be Objective About Your Actions

There is a strong tendency for an evil person to consider himself good, and for a truly good person to consider himself bad. The rationale behind this is simple: Their criteria of good and bad differ greatly.

A good person desires to help others, and when unable to do as much as he idealistically wishes, considers himself “bad.”

An evil person considers himself “good” if he refrains from beating someone up after taking their money.

The lesson: Be objective about your actions.

-Sources: Imrai Binah, p.45; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.132

Not sure I totally agree with this person. I think a person can consider themselves good if they use the group’s mindset of good without weighing the pros and cons within themselves. A lot of folks automatically label things “good” and “bad” and never give it another thought because some authority tells them that’s how things should be defined. The truly “good” person will struggle with the moral issues, even when it’s painful, because that’s when they actually take ownership and responsibility for their own attitudes, decisions, and actions.

Descent

feather

© Sue Vincent

The little girl had picked up the carrion bird’s feather, the only remains of her connection to the griffon vulture who had delivered the dire news of the Great Gray God, and tucked it in her pocket. For a few short minutes when their minds met, she had seen through his eyes, had seen the world from six miles up, flown through clouds and smoke, and witnessed the falling of a god to a vast army of demons. Zooey was only five years old, but in the space of a few weeks, she had seen so much of life and death.

“The Quag Lands.”

Dani stopped them at the edge of some unseen boundary. It was mid-morning and they had been walking through a grassy marsh since just after dawn. For the past hour of their journey, the grasses had become darker and the tree branches more twisted. The air was humid and thick with the smell of the dying, not that there weren’t living birds and animals here, but somehow that life didn’t belong solely in their bodies.

“It’s what I saw.” Jake was standing next to the dragonrider. She knew the way into this stinking pit because it was the one area of the Exile she had always been taught to avoid. The seven-year-old also knew by the dubious virtue of his dreams, both waking and sleeping.

“It gets darker ahead. She’s in there, Dani. Shay’s almost dead.”

They all turned as Paris shrieked. She had walked off to the edge of the trail and was gazing into a shallow pool when she saw it. Taylor was the first to reach her.

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The Wraith and the Child

beliefs

Image found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie blog

It must have been his surgery that caused the nightmares. He always found himself in the dark alone. No, not quite alone. There was another presence, something hiding in the shadows. The Wraith.

“What do you want? Where are you?”

He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He was sweating. “Don’t come near me. Leave me alone.”

The Wraith said nothing. It made no sound at all, but he knew it was out there stalking him.

He turned and ran, stumbled over something and fell. Then he got up and ran again.

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Emergence

hand from grave

From the video game “Plants vs. Zombies.”

“He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

The Fourth Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

The beast clawed its way up through the moist, cool soil. It couldn’t breathe, and while that added to its desperation, it did not dampen strength, will, or determination.

It was filthy as its hands broke through to the air and then heaved itself up from the grave. Mud, parts of roots, bits of gravel in its matted hair, under long, pointed fingernails, around the mouth and eyes, covering its pale, chilled skin.

Light! It shielded its eyes for a moment, but the faint illumination was glaring only because it had spent the past three days and nights in total darkness.

A room, a large room. Earthen floor, concrete walls. Electric lamps on stands at the far end near the door.

It licked the dirt from around its mouth. The taste was not unpleasant, but it did nothing to quench the insatiable, maddening hunger it felt deep in its gut.

Emptiness. All it felt was emptiness, ravenous hunger, unquenchable desire for…

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The Ghost in the Bathroom Mirror

ghost

Found at mp3ringtone.info

“I saw the ghost again, Grandpa. I saw it when I was taking a shower.” Little Josh dissolved into tears in front of his grandparents.

“It’s okay, Josh. We’re here.” Grandpa hugged the sobbing child.

“I’m right here, little one. It’s going to be alright. We won’t let any ghost hurt you.”

“But…but how can you stop it?” His voice was muffled against the old man’s chest as Josh tried to stretch both arms around Grandpa and Bubbe.

“We’ll find a way, sweetheart.” Bubbe kissed Josh on the top of his head.

“That’s right, Josh. We’ll find a way, I promise.

Grandpa and Bubbe sat their six-year-old grandson on the sofa and held him until he felt more secure.

Grandpa knew exactly what to do to get rid of the ghost. Fortunately, his son was finally beginning to come around, and was starting to realize the woman he proposed to was only a fantasy, not a loving companion.

She was the ghost in the bathroom, the manipulator in his mind, the child abuser disguised as a future step-mom. Horribly insecure, she needed to control everyone around her. She thought she controlled Josh’s Dad, but doubt had entered his mind.

She needed to control Josh, make Josh believe she would be his new mother, that she’d be closer to him than his own Mom and even his Dad, that she’d replace everyone who really loved Josh. The little boy was terrified.

Grandpa was meeting with Josh’s Dad after the young father got off of work. Grandpa would help his son stand up for what’s right, help him protect his little boy.

Together, they were going to exorcise a ghost. In a month, little Josh would never be haunted again.