Classified as paranormal or supernatural horror, the Armageddon series is a terrifyingly excellent mash-up of Apocalyptic and Dystopian genres. Add in a hefty dose of occult horror and you have a recipe for not just one but two sleeper-stunners in what will eventually culminate in a trilogy.
Book 2 in the Armageddon series picks up seamlessly from where Book 1 ended and immediately propels readers directly back into the miasma of good vs. evil. This transitional pickup, without any attempts to back-fill a potential gap in reader memory, takes a little bit of adjustment. Dubrow doesn’t even allow the reader much time to breathe with his breakneck, suspenseful pacing, keeping up an almost unexpected roller coaster ride of thrills and chills. Instead of being off-putting, Dubrow’s distinctive style in delivering story leaves the reader gripping their e-reader in riveted need to know just what’s going to happen next. You can’t help but be sucked in by the catch-and-release-caught-again-haha-let’s-see-you-run mood that carries throughout the text.
What I love most about this series is the characters and Dubrow’s skillful development of their personas. While the whole storyline can be considered a parallel to the current state of the world, so too are the characters individuals who could and would feasibly exist in our reality. Hector, Siobhan, Roy, Ozzie, Kyle, Esperanza, Reyna all continue to develop as events unfold, but it’s not just that they develop. That’s intrinsic to a successful book. What I marvel at is how they develop, how they react to, for and against the forces pitted against them. They each have an undeniable humanity to them that this whole series wouldn’t work without. Positions and roles change as characters re-examine their perspectives and commitment to their chosen causes. Lines previously thought irrevocably and permanently drawn in the sand are blurred, reversed or completely obliterated as the realities of angels and demons come crashing down hard on our various survivors. Nothing is as it seems yet somehow each of these people comes ever closer to knowing for a certainty who they are, how they want to live their lives or afterlives as the case often threatens.
My second most appreciated aspect of this book (and series) is the masterful use of knowledge from the Book of Enoch (which I have not personally read … yet) as well as any other occult sources. I never once questioned the validity of Siobhan’s knowledge of the arcane, the travels through Yesod and other higher planes of existence, or any other details included therein. Dubrow writes with ease regarding these subjects but doesn’t go overboard in providing time and word consuming explanations. Neither does he make the reader feel stupid, instead confidently giving us deep character perspective, and interaction, using dialog to convey what information is necessary to enhance or clarify the hazy subject matter.
I also loved that there’s a no-holds-barred attitude in this story. Dubrow writes about the horrors of Hell with candid ease, making no efforts to candy coat the atrocities human souls can expect upon arrival. The pitfalls of Heaven winning the war aren’t treated with any less of a naked honesty, leading the reader to question (quite purposely, I’m sure since all of the characters face the same conundrum) which side is or isn’t the “greater evil.” Perhaps it’s the realization that human society has come to occupy its own sort of limbo, enjoying samplings of both Heaven and Hell and seemingly getting away with the casual traversals back and forth without any serious consequences. Too much of one or the other and this precarious existence we call life gets a whole lot more uncomfortable. Is any of us ready for the end of the world? None of Dubrow’s characters were, but are now forced to face it.
Readers should be prepared and forewarned. Attachments or affinities for certain characters developed in the reading for book 1 will be tested, strained and outright demolished in book 2. Dubrow, like G.R.R.M., isn’t afraid to kill off any of his main crew … or at least, make you think so. In as much as book one left us hanging by our fingertips from a perilous summit, so too does he drop us precipitously over yet another even more gut-wrenching cliff.
Another 5-star rating for David Dubrow’s work. I eagerly anticipate Book Three!
Curious about Book 1 in the Armageddon series? Check out my review of The Blessed Man and the Witch.