|Submitted by Karen Riley |
(Jan 03, 2008)
At first, I wasn't interested in this book. The premise, after all, has in some ways been overdone. Stereotypical angst-riddled young man longing for acceptance falls in love with girl of his dreams who turns out to be otherworldly. Filo is a college student with self-esteem issues, to put it mildly. He alternates between intellectual self-assurance and high school level self-doubt. He hypocritically laments that women are vain and only interested in beauty and popularity, and yet he himself seems only to fall for beautiful women. When Sophia enters his world, she is angelic, poised, intelligent, and everything he ever dreamed of.
Of course, it turns out she is an angel, sent to earth as a child. Though she has no memory of Heaven, she is somehow "programed" to seek out and help Filo. She is a bit self-loathing, as angels in these type of stories often are.
In the hands of any other writer, I probably would not have finished the book. But Collins has a gift. His skills as a wordsmith are amazing, and he can take even an overdone plot device and turn it into a glorious experience. This is a cerebral, supernatural tale written for thinkers. Peppered with references to Kant, the story at times takes on the feel of a philosophical allegory.
The story is character-driven, not action driven, and may not appeal to speculative readers who require a lot of twists, turns, and action. But it is a smooth character study with a supernatural bent.
For those looking for more traditional work, the book includes a short story entitled Night of the Raven. This sci-fi tale takes the reader to a remote mining colony struggling against an oppressive interplanetary corporation. I found this story an interesting change of gears from the main movella. I was less impressed with A Voice Unhear, the last story in the book. It really didn't have a supernatural element and felt a bit contrived.