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Tuesday, March 26, 2024

The Saint of Bright DoorsThe Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a particularly difficult novel to review because it took me quite some time to realize that it was based on a rather more thorough, expanded Buddhist concept of heaven and hell -- and not a Lovecraftian-lite exploration of a thoroughly transformative and consistently transforming city that literally sprang up out of the mind of a mortal god.

Confusing? Yeah, well, it was a bit for me, too. I was tempted to just roll with the immersion, try to figure out what being raised to murder a god-who-is-your-father had to do with seeing otherwise invisible demons on the streets or enjoying a masterfully imagined city that reminded me a LOT of Christopher Priest's later novels.

Honestly, however, even though I appreciated what was attempted here, I can't say I thoroughly ENJOYED either the story or the writing. At times it seemed to be trying too hard. Conversely, when it did manage to relax into greater descriptions, I enjoyed it much more.

I suppose I would have enjoyed it much more had I known more about the Buddhist realms and the teachings and how to directly apply it to a more subtle fantasy-realist storytelling, a-la the older Christian mythology novels.

Still, kudos where it stands out!

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