Sunday, April 20, 2014

A to Z: S for Savior

(Abrahams Opfer, The Sacrifice of Isaac)
Savior is the book I just published. It took me a year or so to write, and it's been getting some good reviews in its first couple of days out.  One of the early reviewers, well not really a reviewer, a reader on a website called Library Thing, didn't get why it was called Savior. So I thought I'd take the opportunity to explain here and defend the book against what are some early misconceptions that I think are a sign of lazy reading. First of all let me say this is not a Christian book. What I mean by a Christian book is an act of apologetica for the Christian religion, a defense of the institutional structure of the faith. I am a practicing Catholic, and today being Easter I am happy with the coincidence that this gives me to defend my work. Because, despite not being an overt and formal exposition of Christian beliefs in a story setting, there are Christian elements that are an important part of the story. Except they are not obvious, which to me is one of the hallmarks of true religion, to fight against the obvious, tired, trite ideas that become a prison for the soul instead of a liberation. Jesus fought against the stereotypes of his day, that the faithful could not work to heal on the Sabbath, that the son of Man could in no way consort with the lowly and the rejects of society, that worldly success meant to be blessed by God. The new ideas he brought forth were hard to understand, and some of them have never been accepted. The idea of non-violence, for instance, continues to be a struggle for Christians as we speak.
In my book Savior, Ricky takes on a mission, to find his father who has been kidnapped by Los Santos Muertos, a criminal cult that wishes to replace Western civilization with the practices and devotion to a death goddess called Mixtecacihuatl. All right, so there is a Christian idea, a defense of life against the death wish and evil in the world, which by the way does exist. Also, Ricky's mission is a difficult one, and it does not come easily. He is waylaid by the world and its temptations on his journey, and some reviewers have complained that the plot loses steam when we see through Ricky's eyes.  For me this is a defense of truth and the main point of storytelling against the stereotypes and conventions which dictate that the eye can never be taken off the ball of the main plot, good guys vs. bad guys. But what about the internal struggle that goes on in the soul of a fifteen year old boy. Doesn't that make the story more interesting? Apparently not for everybody. But again, these are the lazy readers, in my opinion, who want their reading to push the buttons that always get pushed. A book doesn't have to be for everyone, and Savior is no exception. Ricky is a hero, but he is a human, a boy with flaws and doubts, like all of us. He is not your typical hunk of a guy who conquers through brute force and comes through in the end unscathed. And if you like your reading like that, to be brought through to the end through the brute force of conventions and stereotypes, so you end up unscathed, then Savior is probably not for you. If on the other hand you like to challenge yourself to a rare pleasure, a book that crosses genres and defies convention for the sake of a truer sort of story, then you might want to check Savior out.

SAVIOR is available as an Amazon Kindle Ebook. Go to SAVIOR and pick up your copy, and then check back here throughout the A to Z challenge month to learn more about SAVIOR and additional publication month details.

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