Posted on February 4, 2010 by Steven Dawes
Available at DriveThruHorror.com
Written by David Niall Wilson
I’ve only been a reviewer on da’ flames for about a scant 6 months now (my, how time does fly), but I’ve already read and reviewed some good books within that time. In one particular case however, I decided to read and review a book (Personal Effects- Dark Art) after reading a featured preview. As it turned out, this was a good book and was worth taking the leap and I told myself I would review more featured books in the future. And now I’ve recently read the featured preview of This is My Blood. This preview also grabbed me by the attention and I took another leap of faith. Was my faith rewarded?
Well before I answer this question, I feel a need to explain my review style. For those of you who’ve read my past reviews, I hope you’ve enjoyed them. If always been a philosophy and goal to make my reviews as enjoyable, including adding what I think are sometimes witty and/or silly bits of humor, sarcastic remarks, different points of view, where I am coming from on a given subject and so on. I feel that if I can’t keep you interested or entertained along the way, you probably won’t acquire the interest to look into the items that I’ve enjoyed nor think twice about looking into the items that I didn’t. Well, I’m scraping this method this time around for a more serious review.
So why am I traveling along a more serious route today? The answer ties into the first question when I asked “was my faith rewarded?” In a word I could say “absolutely” or even “completely, but I don’t feel that either of these words (or any group of words in general) will do this book justice. This is My Blood is nothing short of amazing, and I believe that no matter how hard I’d try, I won’t be able to give it the praise it deserves. So instead of my attempts at long winded goofy commentary in the hopes of encouraging you to sit down to this book, I’m simply going to implore you to read this extraordinary piece of literature. And to that end, I’m going to attempt to obtain your interest by stating the facts and I see them. So please follow along with me on this one, I wouldn’t just ask if I didn’t feel so strongly about this book.
-Fact #1. Even when I knew what This is My Blood was going to be about via the preview, this book continually surprised, impressed and amazed me. For those of you who haven’t read the preview yet, I ask you to click here to read it before continuing on with this review. The preview basically spells out what will happen and even hints at how and why it happens, so I won’t rehash it here. What I will say is that the story quickly becomes a personal adventure unlike anything I’ve ever read before.
One of the aspects that got my attention right away were the two main characters themselves; specifically Jesus Christ and a vampiress created and sent by Lucifer to tempt and ruin him. While I’ve read plenty of vampire stories and stories of the life of Jesus Christ, in my experience there’s never been a story involving both. I know how blasphemous this idea sounds; I am not a spiritual man by nature and I’ve only read the stories of Jesus from a “parable” and a “good reading material” point of view, and I still felt that this story was probably going to boldly drive into restricted areas.
But I couldn’t have been more wrong. The author wasn’t interested in ruffling any spiritual feathers. Once the story moved to a personal level I realized that the vampire angle was only the catalyst. In the end this story is really about faith (both spiritual faith and faith in one’s self), love, hope and sacrifice. I never saw any of this coming and I was simply blown away by it all. Such a tale in lesser hands may have been seriously flubbed with such a volatile mix of themes and loaded subjects, but David proves to be a master of the written word and treats the subject with a subtle and graceful finesse that only builds and adds to the profound depth of thought and feeling this book has to offer.
-Fact #2. I don’t think Mr. Wilson had any interest in trying to question, convert or re-affirm anyone’s faith. I believe that his interest was in telling the story of Jesus Christ through a very different and unexpected point of view. While that idea in and of itself is an interesting one to ponder, what’s more amazing is how inspirational this book was to me. Like I said, I’m not a spiritual man, and I think a large part of that is because I don’t truly “get” what the stories are trying to convey anymore than I can really “feel” the faith and inspiration they’re supposed to invoke in me. In short: I don’t really believe in the faith, I don’t even understand it.
However… as I read, something switched a light on for me. I’m not entirely sure how or where it happened during the story, but I’m honestly seeing Jesus and Christianity itself in a whole new light. Maybe it was something in the way Jesus was portrayed in this book, or the method of experiencing his life through the eyes and insights of such an unorthodox protagonist; but along the journey I learned new things, I saw events from the bible in a light that made sense where they hadn’t before, I had moments of teary eyed revelation and insight about Jesus and the all-father, and by the end of the book I truly felt like I’ve had some kind of spiritual enlightenment. I’ve even considered taking my very first “voluntary” step into the local church this Sunday. That has to speak volumes about this book!
-Fact #3. I keep a small library of books on a shelf at home that I call my “books that I wish I’d written myself shelf”. While I cherish lots of books, it’s a short list that makes this shelf. Some examples off the top of my head include Dracula (an annotated and a regular copy), A Christmas Carol, Shade (written by Neil Jordan), The Road, The Last Unicorn, anthology books with H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe and others.
While I possess an e-book version of this story, as of this morning I purchased a copy of this physical book on eBay. I paid several times the cost of the e-book, but it’s a first edition, it’s autographed, and it’s worth every penny in my opinion. As soon as it arrives, it will find a place amongst my list of books that I wish I’d written. To me, this fact has to be another sterling example to how incredible This is My Blood really is.
I also need to give praise to Mr. Wilson’s writing prowess. This book might not have been half as effective as it was without his writing style. As I read, I honestly couldn’t help but wonder if the man knows more than he’s telling in his fiction. This story was simply good enough to make me think that this could have really happened! I recall in the preview that this was his first novel. I’ve never read any of his other work, but if they are even half as potent as this one, consider me an instant fan who will be hunting down his scribes very soon!
While rooted in the realm of horror & dark fantasy, This is My Blood is in reality a personal journey more complete and deeper then nearly anything I’ve read. It’s been an incredible experience for me, and I believe it will be for you if you take a leap of faith on it.
Review by Steven Dawes
Look for more David Niall Wilson fiction at DriveThruHorror.com.