Passion Play by Sean Stewart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There's a lot to love about this book if you are a reader who loves literal morality plays wrought from a dystopia made up of a religious dictatorship, a-la Blade-Runner meets V for Vendetta meets religious nutters.
However, it's not quite so clean as it may appear. It's not a perfect Passion Play that recreates Christ and his death and resurrection... rather, we have empaths and telepaths, hunters and a murder mystery revolving around Mask, a very interesting and important actor who has been murdered and our MC must go deep immersion into his life, unlike a standard Sherlock tale, in order to gestalt the whole mystery, untangling all threads by getting to know everyone.
Of course, this means we get to know the dead actor, his part and his hypocrisy as a spokesman for the church, and all the people who knew and might have wanted him dead. It's quite fascinating, if simple on the surface.
The best part of the novel is it's clear prose and often poetic turn, the way this plays on a very old literary form, and how it also manages to remain fresh and timely for us modern peeps.
I can appreciate this novel more than I outright enjoyed it, but that's kinda the point, too. It is, after all, *important* the way a tragedy is *important*. It's not often pleasant, but it rolls around ideas in a very heavy way.
It's a very decent novel, but it's really only for those who like or have the patience for Christian allegories. The conclusion isn't precisely what most people would think, either. I personally thought it was quite dark and rather counter to normal Passion Plays. :) In that respect, Sean Stewart writes for himself. :)
Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this ARC!
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