Darkness and Light #1

Quoted from the back cover:
In an eternal battle between Darkness and Light, two karmically linked magicians vie for mastery of the world. Their battleground is the Tree of Life on the Qabalah's astral plane. And in every lifetime, their greatest for is the Arch-Demon Lilith...
One finds, when reading the book, that there are three magicians battling; some of the book occurs in what one presumes to be Earth's future Japan; Lilith is only mentioned briefly and is, in this the first of a series of planned books, of extremely little consequence. One is at a loss to figure out why the book is named Lilith.

Published by Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN, in 1996. ISBN 1-56718-355-7 with 276 pages, including a brief glossary of Quabalah terms, and a kindergarten introduction to the Tree of Life and Qabalah.

The plot is simple: the good guy (Malak) fights the bad guy (Dethen) over supremacy of the astral plane Enya. If the bad guy wins, the Tree of Life will be destroyed and all life on all planes will vanish, thus ending the circle of birth, death, and rebirth--- Dethen's goal is to end the suffering of existance in a universe he perceives to be evil. The good guy, Malak, desires to prevent Dethen from destroying the Tree of Life. But his chief reason for fighting Dethen is personal: he desires revenge for past and current karmic debts.

With Malak is the magician Lena, his soul-mate. Her self-sacrifice in saving Enya costs her eternal damnation: to randsom her from everlasting torment, so that she may incarnate again, Malak sells his soul to Lilith.

The writing starts out very poorly. Metaphor is tortured and mortally wounded; incomplete sentences die untended; simile is strained and twisted. Now and then the author plugs in a word pulled from a thesaurus that does not work properly where it is used:

  1. "... advanced in an attacking paradigm." -- page 15.
    The author seems to want a word that implies a "pattern" of some kind, like a flanking maneuver or strategic placement of combatants. "Paradigm" doesn't work.

  2. Malak "heard a splinter of bone." -- page 16
    Bone splinters don't make noise, as a rule. Perhaps Malak heard "the splintering of bone" instead.

  3. Malak drew "a lung-full of air." -- page 14
    What happened to his other lung?

  4. "... flowed to his feet like water." -- page 28
    Water doesn't have feet. Perhaps he "flowed like water to his feet."

  5. The sun has a "tip." -- page 35

  6. Malak's long, phalic sword is a "she," but his magick familure cat is an "it."

  7. Tanaka "half-limped over to the door."
    How does one "half-limp?"
The editor should have caught these.

The hand-to-hand fighting at the beginning of the book is dull and uninspired, writing-wise.

Towards the middle of the book, the writing noticably improves. This is sometimes the case with new authors, and lazy authors. As a rule, the start of a book requires more work rewriting than the latter parts--- authors are sometimes less than clear, when they start, on where they want to take the book.

On the Shy David Book Review Scale from one to six stars (six being best), I think this book deserves two stars.

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