Monday, September 27, 2010
"Pandemonium" by Daryl Gregory
I don't really know what to say about this book, except that I found myself very involved in a very short time. It seems to be one thing when you start, and then you get an inkling that things are not as they seem, and then you figure it out - and yet, you still keep reading, mostly due to the fact that you're heavily invested in the lead character, Del.
I thought it was an interesting take on what could possibly be some sort of mental illness, the idea that these people are actually possessed by certain demons. And the demons are always the same ones, leading the psychologists who do believe the possession theory to state that these are classic Archetypes. What's strange is that when talking about demons, you usually get the whole Heaven/Hell aspect - but not in this book. There's nothing to indicate that the "demons" are on any side.... indeed, some such as the Captain would seem to be on the side of "good", while the Little Angel could potentially be seen as the Angel of Death (and most people feel that's the side of "evil").
Del is quite the enigma, and I really enjoyed the interaction of him with his family. You felt for him, a man who suffered as a boy, and having had a traumatic experience, finds himself struggling not to suffer again. The question is why Del, possessed by the Hellion as a child, was able to control/contain his demon so many years ago, and can he do it again? The answer isn't as simple as you think...
I would classify this as a sci-fi/fantasy, rather than general fiction, which is were my library system had it for lack of a better place. I can see why we left it in gen fic - it's not an easily classified work. There are certainly fantastical elements in it, and yet, the core story IMHO is really about family - the love of family for each other, the strength and length they'll go to for each other, and how one becomes part of a family. Very interesting characters, good writing... I'll be looking for something from Gregory again.