Thursday, April 8, 2010

Book 21: The Dark Path

My first technology inspired book! When I created the blog, I created a Twitter account under the name mybookfetish (, Luke Romyn, the author of book 21, The Dark Path, followed me. Since he and I are Twitter buds, I decided that I had to read his book.

Now, a quick disclaimer before I get much further. I’m writing this post on my PC rather than my Mac, and when I do that, the format tends to get a little off. Which I hate, but which I also don’t feel like spending hours diagnosing, so if it looks odd, I apologize in advance.

I don’t want to tell you much about the plot of The Dark Path because I don’t want to give anything away. But I do want to touch on a few of its great questions and themes. Since that’s the deeper part of what I’ll be touching on, I’ll first elaborate on a few things about Romyn’s writing style that I liked.

Romyn uses some subtle humor. The way he has characters say some things, I found myself snickering, thinking “that sounds just like I would say that.” No matter how complex his main, conflicted characters, I found myself identifying with some part of them. His writing is accessible, and despite the mythic characters running rampant, there are also characters you identify with. Having some familiarity with the Christian story of the fall of Lucifer and the apocalypse is helpful in the story, but not essential.

Now, on to the themes. I didn’t see these coming when I started the story. I thought I would be entertained, of course, else I wouldn’t have read it. But, I was pleasantly surprised to see a deeper layer of complexity here. For example, if you are considered evil incarnate, an indiscriminate killer, is it possible for you to feel love and compassion?

Is it really possible that what you put out into the world is what you get back? Can a person be moral without religion to guide them? This passage struck me as I was reading, in a discussion about what life is: “When you look around, you should not see what is wrong with your life, but what is right about it. Whether you believe in God or not is immaterial. All that is important is that you look upon every breath you take, and every vision that greets your eyes with joy, and when you deal with others, you should try to impart some small piece of this joy into their lives….”

Seems odd, and quite timely that as I am figuring out, in other facets of my life, what this life is really all about, that I find a thought like this in a book where I completely didn’t expect to see it. But that becomes the theme of the whole story. Can someone who appears irredeemable be, in fact redeemed? And when faced with the opportunity for immense power, can this same person do what is right instead of what is easy? To Romyn’s credit, he wraps up a few things nicely in the epilogue. But then, just when you’re expecting another neatly wrapped package, he throws a twist, so that you wonder again and still, about this conundrum.

So, for anyone with a taste for fantasy, demons, angels, epic battles of wit against circumstance and good against evil, check out The Dark Path. You can find your own copy here:

I look forward to reading more by Luke Romyn.

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