G.S. Michelsen,
The Veil of Light
(Robert D. Reed, 2001)

I really had to force myself to read this, and it wasn't easy. To be honest it was the second most difficult read of my life. Don't get me wrong, there is writing ability here, but there is NO emotion. I find it extremely difficult to read something that comes across as exciting as wet cardboard. There must be passion, as well as plausible action and reaction.

The premise behind the plot is intriguing, and it aroused my curiosity. Not only do we have the age-old battle between good and evil, we have aliens as well. Anna is the reincarnation of God's most treasured human being, and she must battle the anti-Christ who is living on Earth. However, in order to do this Anna, her husband, and their four friends must journey to another world at the behest of a friend who is in truth an alien.

From the get-go I couldn't take this novel seriously. What would your reaction be to this situation: a friend arranges to give you, your husband and two other couples who are close friends a weekend retreat. This makes you happy and excited, right? It'd be wonderful. Well, when you meet your friend in a secluded park area she seats you all at a picnic table and proceeds to tell you she's an alien. Yes, that's right -- an alien from another planet. What is your reaction? These people all sat there and blindly accepted it, with only one person showing the barest of reactions.

Then you are escorted to her "vessel," which is made of crystal. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm a pretty good judge of human character and how they tend to react to situations. I don't think you'd have all six people calmly walking into this craft without batting an eye. Complacently accepting, and then some, all the oddities? There's no way. And it just gets more unbelievable from there on in.

Everyone is happy and light, exhibiting no worries or fears. They all want to learn things in their particular field that the aliens can teach them on their planet -- in ONE weekend, I remind you. Of course, they simply can't be late returning, as Amanda had a lot of difficulty finding a babysitter for her children. And of course they all have a very important field of interest that differs from everyone else's -- from cooking to botany -- all except for Nick, who is of a darker mind, and seems to have his own private agenda once he lands.

To be honest, with smaller words this would probably make a great story for young children. They might swallow its lack of emotion and not notice; I don't know many adults who would. And as I said, it is rather tragic, for G.S. is quite capable of writing, he just needs to take off the autopilot and allow some real sentiment and passion to infiltrate the clinical story he has laid out for us.

[ by Naomi de Bruyn ]
Rambles: 19 April 2002

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