“This is a house of god, just not yours. Not anymore,” replied Rick starkly. “You think me evil? You think I serve your Devil? Pitiful creature, so lost, you don’t even realize that you are.”
– Worship Me (Locations 1510-1512)
From amazon: Something is listening to the prayers of St. Paul’s United Church, but it’s not the god they asked for; it’s something much, much older.
A quiet Sunday service turns into a living hell when this ancient entity descends upon the house of worship and claims the congregation for its own. The terrified churchgoers must now prove their loyalty to their new god by giving it one of their children or in two days time it will return and destroy them all.
As fear rips the congregation apart, it becomes clear that if they’re to survive this untold horror, the faithful must become the faithless and enter into a battle against God itself. But as time runs out, they discover that true monsters come not from heaven or hell…
…they come from within.
This immaculately crafted third person narrative was such a pleasure to read. I flew through the book, and enjoyed every well placed and selected word. I didn’t find any glaring errors but this could be a result of the easy reading the book presented.
Mr Stewart is very talented and knows how to craft a skillful, bloody yet not overly gory narrative. I loved the descriptive language and how easily I was able to build this tiny community in my mind.
“Rick, three months ago, is not the man standing here today. Rick, three months ago, was a fallen servant. It was a gradual decline. His job was a dead end. He lost his faith, and he found a bottle. He started to hurt the people he loved. He was an adulterer, a bad husband, and a bad father. Something had rotted in his heart, though he couldn’t admit it. Three months ago, this was the despair he found himself in. He was drunk and driving without a place to go or to come from. He didn’t want to die, but he didn’t much want to live, either. Searching. He was searching. He parked the car at the first building he came to: this very church. He was angry. He got out of the car, afraid he might start driving again, and instead stumbled through the Davidson’s field. It was then, when he could sink no further, when he was alone with his hopelessness, that it found him.” (Locations 1450-1456)
The imagery and iconography were so seamlessly crafted that I was able to create each scene with almost film-style fluidity in my mind. It was simply spectacular.
I enjoyed this book so much that it’s actually difficult to review it. Many of the things that most impactful are not aspects that I can put into words. I found it most compelling that I didn’t really know much about what the individual characters look like, other than a few anecdotal items like height, weight, hair or eye colour but each character was so masterfully crafted that I was able to immediately associate a character with someone I know in real life. That said, the literary character didn’t look exactly like my real life example but rather became an amalgamation of the two in my mind.
Authors often don’t want to approach religion, in this case something close to zealotry, as this could alienate a large portion of their reader base. I think that Stewart approached this topic in exactly the right way. There was no judgement from the author in any way. The characters, quite literally, spoke for themselves. It was easy to pick out the holier than thou types who are also the biggest gossip mongers in the town from the truly devout and those who go to church because it is simply expected of them. And how they really are just all insipid, dull people. This book transported me to my childhood years of accompanying my grandmother to church. I could see every congregation member from her church in this book.
The pace of the book added to the gravitas of each scene. There was no part of the book where the pace was slow or plodding. Right from the first page, the story sucked me in and steadily built on itself. The narrative wasn’t verbose or self-righteous but there was a heaviness to the language that forced me to pay attention to what was happening and to look for any clue as to where this was all going. As the narrative progressed and the story unfolded, the book became a fascinating take on human nature and how people at their core are selfish creatures, and when the chips are down the majority of us will more likely behave as sheep as opposed to the lions we want to believe we are. It reminded me a lot of the supermarket scene in film adaptation of The Mist. The horror writing was fantastic but I fear giving away too much of the plot and spoiling it for others but I would absolutely recommend this to avid horror readers and individuals who enjoy narratives that are irreligious.
My rating: 5/5
Worship Me is available on Amazon.
This review was requested by the author.