This review was originally posted over at Realms & Galaxies: Celebrating SFF on the 15th of December 2009.
I’ve owed Allen this review for a while now, and I’m happy to finally post it.
Angry Ghosts follows the story of what might happen when the absolute worst happens – humanity is practically wiped out in a surprise attack and those that remain are left to struggle and survive, but don’t let this simple plot-explanation fool you – Allan has crafted a tale that explores what it means to be human, and what it means to survive when you are vastly outnumbered and outgunned.
Diving into the review, the first thing that I noticed was Allen’s ability to describe movement and action – his descriptions are so well written that you hardly notice them; they sort of creep up upon you and bushwhack you while you’re not looking, and as the world takes shapes around you in more and more detail, you realize that Allen is extremely good at painting scenes and descriptions that resonate and come alive in your mind. He also writes battle scenes like a master – the action is brutal and frenetic, whether its hand-to-hand or a battle between vessels in space. These are the kind of scenes that would translate extremely well onto the big screen!
The world that Allen has created for Angry Ghosts is also very well realized, and its obvious that he put in a lot of effort to make sure that everything had a depth and history too, from the vessels to the weapons to the clothes the characters wear, including the worlds they live in. Everything has a purpose and is not just background-clutter.
Allen also manages, while sharing his tale, to force us to look at our own lives – how we live them, what we consider to be right and wrong, even what we sacrifice to survive. He builds a convincing stage that reflects us at ourselves – if that makes any sense – and often times you’ll be left thinking, Man, if only that were so; the world would be a better place.
The tale does leave you with some questions, though, and I sincerely hope that these questions will be answered by a sequel – Angry Ghosts works on its own, but it is clear that this is the opening tale in a story that has the potential to be a series that will explore and play with many ideas that have been done in SF and Fantasy, but which I’m pretty sure Allen will be able to put his own unique spin on.
Definitely a novel that deserves to be read and enjoyed; highly recommended!
8 / 10