Bad Life Decisions: Prologue, Chapters 1 & 2

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice. Fuck around and find out.

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June 9, 2015



THIS WAS A GOOD LIFE DECISION, PEOPLE.  The rest of my evening, not so much.

And this got long, so I’m going to stick it behind the jump.  And if you want to make me read more of this book, you know what to do.

War in Heaven, Theodore Beale


So that was delightfully prologue-ish. We’re introduced to our protagonist, a young man named Christopher Lewis. I’m hoping his middle name is Screwtape. He lives in the US and has two younger twin sisters, Holli and Jami. He is sixteen and in 10th grade, they’re a year younger.  Christopher has a massive sense of entitlement that is not endearing and he behaves really badly to an old homeless man who is trying to help him find Jesus.  The old homeless man, of course, will pray for him.  I am getting a real misfit loner vibe off Christopher which I find pretty repellent, especially in light of this book being published less than a year post-Columbine (based on industry lead times, that means  Eternal Warriors™: The War in Heaven™ was written and acquired by Pocket well before Columbine happened and who knows: perhaps it was even worse and this is the toned down version).

There are also lots of weirdly specific references to specific types of cars and television shows and books.   I suspect that this is to emphasize how worldly Christopher is, so we can see him either fall further into sin or attain some sort of grace. So far, this isn’t very complicated theology.

Chapter 1: A Rat in Shadow

So we meet Mariel. who I assume is the sad lady angel on the cover of the book.  She’s a Guardian Angel and is totally good looking (and whose hair starts out sort of crimson and gold but then is fully golden by the end of the chapter) and fierce-ish and has a flaming sword who goes outside in the winter alone to investigate where she is easily overcome by an evil angel named Prince Bloodwinter and his evil angel powers and gets left chained up in the woods in the winter.  I guess that sword will keep her warm?

We also find out in this chapter that violent videogames are bad but ones based on pro sports are okay. That Jami and Holli also have guardian angels, but their parents don’t.  Their dad is a skeptical non-believer, but that’s almost okay, as the text makes it clear that Christopher’s lack of faith is on the head of his weak-faithed mother.

So that’s a thing, I guess.

Chapter Two: Losing Paradise

Hilariously, this chapter is padded out with long, extremely dull, and badly argued extracts from Christopher’s term paper.

I really don’t know who Christopher is as a person other than the fact that he’s steeped in toxic masculinity, is a bit of a loser, and apparently is a (the?) Chosen One. Or his term papers are literally so badly written that they attract fallen angels to him.  Fallen angels who are, frankly, more interesting than the protagonist. Which isn’t saying much–Kaym is a slightly thicker piece of cardboard than Christopher.

This is all fairly standard tempted by the devil stuff, really. There’s nothing original or really interesting here–Christopher is sullen and disaffected, typical for these sorts of stories and of course Kaym is cool in ways that Christopher isn’t. That’s part of the temptation, you know?  To tempt Christopher into wanting to be as cool as Kaym.  This is not a very subtle book, so far.

Also Kaym apparently knows who Christopher has sexual fantasies about and watches him either while 1) he masturbates or 2) has nocturnal emissions. Either way, that’s creepy and goes way beyond subtext and into actual text.

So 34 pages in, this is a plodding and mediocre book with characters I don’t care about.  The only female character given any significant time is an angel who is immediately rendered helpless and the close third person POV is really unsympathetic to Christopher’s sisters.

I’ll pick up chapters three and four later this week.

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Words of Wisdom

"It's chaos, be kind."
Michelle McNamara