Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Where Monsters Dwell by Jorgen Brekke

There are no monsters under the bed.

That doesn't sound very interesting. It would be more fun to read that there are monsters under the bed. The paragraph is about a pronoun who built a spaceship in his room that is wrecked and about a crazy person downstairs who might have heard the crashing to the floor. There is no obvious connection between the second paragraph and the opening line so we must continue to read this short prologue to see if a connection is made. At the end there is the statement:

There are no monsters under the bed. But there's one towering over it.

Presumably this is a person the boy (he's been upgraded from a mere pronoun) is afraid of. The prologue is effective as a scene unfolds, in which someone is attacking the boy and his mother. We are made to assume they are both slaughtered, so two more prologies are sacrificed at the beginning of a novel for dramatic effect. Personally, bloody prologues don't hook me.

Chapter 1:

Bergen, Norway, September 1528

The mendicant monk had heard few good things about Bergen and even fewer about Norway, the land where he was born, about which he had forgotten so much.

No surprise that the prologue and chapter 1 are in different time zones. A monk in an opening line of a horror/mystery novel attracts attention, but there is little else here that will hook. Having heard few good things about Bergen, is too vague to hook. What else can one expect with words like: things and so much?

First thing said:

"I am everywhere."

The killer says this in the prologue. Part 1 begins with a quote from Alan De Lille, ca. 1100 stating: God is an understandable sphere in which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere. This suggests that whatever killed the two prologies was godlike?

There are no obvious cliches, there are scenes with conflict, there is little back story, yet the forward narrative is understandable, so this opening could receive a much higher rating. It's just that the bloody, violent prologue opening has been done so many times that it starts to bore and wear thin. It's becoming a cliche in its own right.

Verdict: Pass (Barely)

Theodore Moracht

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