Bad Life Decisions: Chapters 5 & 6

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.
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June 16, 2015

mad-max-wives

This was basically my face at the end of Chapter 6.

Onwards to Chapters 5 and 6.

So far, $1,500 has been raised. That’s to the end of Chapter 19. If you want me to read more of this book, you know the drill. It’s for a good cause!

Oh, the delights that await us below the jump.

War in Heaven, Theodore Beale

Chapter 5: The Darkness Rising

Well, that was a thing. Yes. It was. As you can tell from the tweets, Holli and Jami are the focus of this chapter. They meet their guardian angels as well as Christopher’s–Mariel manages to escape from her bonds (well, she still has the handcuffs on, but they’re not attached to anything) off-screen which is an absolutely stellar example of telling and not showing.  This is a thing that keeps on happening throughout the chapter.  They end up going to church–a church which has a weeknight service in an elementary school gymnasium that has at least 700 people in the congregation.  There’s a praise band and this, apparently, is how to keep the forces of darkness at bay: by singing generic praise songs at it. Are we fighting evil or putting it to sleep?

There’s some theological stuff going on here, but as Beale doesn’t bother actually explain it to his point of view characters, any readers who are unfamiliar with the idea of a prayer cover will remain unfamiliar.  Same for the citation of Romans 16:19–which, to my reading, is a verse about obedience and knowing good from evil. I’m not sure how this works with singing demons away.

Found the song they’re singing in this chapter on YouTube. It was on an album that came out in 1998, so it fits. It is insipid, at best.

Chapter Six: The Gates of Heaven

I really don’t know what to say about this chapter. Christopher continues to be whiny and awful and there’s an angel who is even more whiny and awful than he is, then Christopher is inspired by a D&D campaign and stabs two angels in the necks with their swords even though he’s shown no such fighting ability before–that must be the Kaym in him or something.

Then there’s the bit at the end with the magically growing key that Christopher sticks in a lock which then explodes. But not before he inexpertly gropes around it and stuff. And then there’s another Warhammer reference and scene.

So very much telling instead of showing. This book, so far, is a text book example of how that’s not a good way to get people interested in the story.

Later this week, Chapters 7 and 8.

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7 Comments

  1. DMS

    “a church which has a weeknight service in an elementary school gymnasium that has at least 700 people in the congregation”

    This is a thing where I live. Church services also happen at movie theaters and breweries here.

    • Natalie Luhrs

      We had a whole conversation on Twitter about that! I knew there were churches that did that, but not at that scale–I’d assumed that eventually a congregation would want to get its own facility.

  2. DMS

    They do tend to be transient, starter locations, sure. But that time scale is in the years, and more for larger congregations since they don’t make the mistake schools do by only building room for the current population.

  3. Reveen

    Found the song they’re singing in this chapter on YouTube. It was on an album that came out in 1998, so it fits. It is insipid, at best.

    That is straight up Butt Rock. Except Christian.

    • Natalie Luhrs

      I am not familiar with this term, “Butt Rock”. Do I want to know?

  4. Reveen

    It’s a term for generic rock music for younger guys, with really stupid dudebro lyrics about being hardcore dude who drives really fast on the highway or being an angsty teenager.

    Nickleback is the epitome of it.

  5. Laughingrat

    Well this is just dreadful. And this is the dude who’s claiming that the sci-fi world is unfairly rigged against him because of his politics, or something? And he actually has followers who agree with him? Like, has it never occurred to him or his fellow bros that his writing is actually just awful?

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