Out of Body
By Christopher John Chater
I’m actually very excited to write a review for this book. Not only was it wildly creative and imaginative, it was dark and portrayed a more sinister side of fiction without including blood soaked deaths and detailed rape scenes. I mean, I don’t shy away from blood and violence but it’s nice to see something so dark written so cleanly. So compliments to the author on that note alone.
My second compliment would be to the main character’s name; Harley Baker. I don’t know how everyone else feels but I think that’s a very pretty name—even prettier because the main character is actually a male. I have no idea why but I always love it when male leads have unisex names. So Harley isn’t just cool because he’s the main character, he’s actually a nice guy. A little obsessed with death and slightly gloomy in that ‘cool’ way since he lost his parents in a tragic accident—but I like him. Really, I do.
Harley is very well layered and he’s easy to identify with, not just because we’re stuck with him as the protagonist but because he gives a reason to like him. I feel for Harley, I’ve never been stuck on the other side of the life force spectrum watching as a demon lived out my life and dated my boyfriend and got me great grades but you know…life gets tough for me sometimes too.
What I mean is, Harley does more than represent the guy you’re supposed to root for. He is the ‘good’ in the story. His character is believable and determined to do the right thing, which isn’t very hard to portray when the antagonist is a demon but you know…it’s done very well and it plays out nicely.
The other characters are developed well. Not all of them are integral to the plot but they are very realistic which is something that Chater seems to have mastered. No one was ever ‘over the top’ or portrayed in a way that didn’t fit with the rest of the cast. The dialogue matched the characters as well as their age. That’s probably one of the things I loved most about this story, just having the feeling that all of these people could be real somewhere. That’s how well developed and believable they were—the entire cast, not just Harley.
The inclusion of religion was somewhat inevitable—which I didn’t mind at all. I mean what do you expect when you have demons running amuck? I wasn’t expecting the satanic worshipping but I did learn a thing or two about it from reading and I must say, Chater has done his research. I always appreciate an author who can teach me a thing or two about something I’ve never heard or read about before—even if it isn’t necessarily something that interests me. Chater incorporated his themes very easily and in a way that kept the story moving. When you have to explain things it can easily become an info-dump but thankfully, I didn’t bump into any of those.
I liked the fact that Harley was possessed by a demon but still narrated the story from the ‘other side’ at first it was a little confusing but once I got used to the style of narration the story flowed very smoothly. This is definitely a unique book that I think will pick up more readers as time passes by. It is something that fans of demonology will definitely enjoy, dark fantasy, supernatural, and even some YA fans may want to grab a copy.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*