REVIEW: Angel Falls by Michael Paul Gonzalez

Reviewed by Laura Roberts

It’s been rough lately for the Lord of Darkness, with ex-girlfriend drama rearing its head at inconvenient moments, ancient gods returning to take over the universe, and Satan’s own unstoppable laziness. But whatever.

Angel FallsSatan is okay, and he thinks you’re okay, too. This whole eternal damnation thing is all a bit of a misunderstanding.

He runs Hell as a resort, kind of. A vacation spot. The point is, he’s not a bad guy. He’s trying to save Heaven and all of creation, and he only has a dimwitted giant, a surly waitress, and a monkey to help him. So, a thank you might be nice. Maybe buy him a cup of coffee next time you see him. And you will see him.

It’s the Apocalypse, and all that.

Thus begins your journey through Angel Falls, a comedy about hell written by Michael Paul Gonzalez. And here you thought hell was all screaming, torture, and fire ‘n’ brimstone!

Satan has been a bit lax with the torture and such, given his general disinterest in being the Evil Overlord of the afterlife. When he finds out that a certain socialite has been trying to break into Heaven through shady means, God Himself tasks Satan with the job of stopping her. Oh, and did I mention the devil’s lost his balls (a pair of anima crystals) and has to undertake this quest with the limitations of a mortal?

Bummer, dude.

Populated with a cast of characters that includes familiar faces from the Old Testament, as well as a round-up of ancient gods and goddesses from around the globe, Gonzalez’s tale is quite the wild ride. Like a comic version of Anne Rice’s vampire universe (back when vamps sucked blood and were badass villains – or at least hardcore goths, and not sparkly hipster douchebags seducing teenagers), the book riffs on the question “What if Satan weren’t such a bad guy after all, just kind of misunderstood?”

As in Rice’s Memnoch the Devil, it seems God and Satan aren’t quite so different after all, and Gonzalez’s devil is supposed to be helping the souls in his sprawling city of Angel Falls reach their ultimate destination, whether that’s Heaven or insanity. Instead he’s left the souls in his care to their own devices, leaving pamphlets at their doors with helpful tips on surviving the afterlife (a nod to Beetlejuice’s Handbook for the Recently Deceased), and allowing them to make their own decisions. Free will at last!

As a reformed Catholic, I found the fast-and-furious Biblical references worked well, particularly when used to poke holes in the theology. As a former Anne Rice enthusiast, I also enjoyed the alternate take on Heaven and Hell, good and evil, God vs. Satan dichotomies. After all, are we not all equally good and bad, yin and yang, all wrapped up in the same fleshy package?

If you’ve ever wondered what earned Satan all his epithets in the first place, and found Milton’s take just a tad too stodgy for your tastes, check out Angel Falls.

EXTRA BONUS SECTION

Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win either of two $25 Amazon gift cards, an autographed copy of Angel Falls, or an autographed copy of one of its tour mates, The Sound of Loneliness by Craig Wallwork or Stranger Will by Caleb J Ross. Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog.

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win a $25 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win. The full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other $25 gift card and the 3 autographed books will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Perfect Edge Trifecta tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Michael Paul GonzalezMichael Paul Gonzalez lives and writes in Los Angeles. He is the editor at ThunderDomeMag.com, an online lit zine and small press. He is at work on his next novel as you read this. Seriously. He probably just rattled off a really amazing chapter, and someday you’ll read it and think back to this moment, and exhale. Connect with Michael on his website, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.