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Purgatorium - Book Review


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Book Review of :  Purgatorium



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Purgatorium by J. H. Carnathan is a fictional novel that explores the happenings to a man who is comatose as a result of a terrible car accident. This is not a story of died-and-come-back from heaven story but an almost died-and-come-back from a strange purgatory existence. It is a place where he is visited by beings who are like mad hatter characters each identified by a specific playing card;  Sealtiel the  Ace of Spades, Barachiel the  King of Spades, Uriel the  King of diamonds and more. Could they be the seven Archangels? It is a place where our protagonist who can’t remember his name but has the ability to “transfigure” into a Demonic Hellhound and romp around his apartment growling, howling and attacking an acquaintance. It’s a strange tale where our protagonist envisions fantastical things and happenings and is visited by an array of messengers from other realms, some to help him and others desire to transport him to their place of existence. There is meaning behind these visits, and eventually, our protagonist realizes that some beings are there to give him a second chance.  In this strange world that his mind is trapped within, he recognizes his visitors are uttering the words “second chance” to him like a mantra.   
The book is full of symbolisms; clocks, playing cards, snow globes and more. It’s a place where life is like a serious Ground Hog day; his imagined days are compacted into exactly 60 minutes. How do you escape this strange existence? That becomes the most pressing question; he must escape or he will be forever doomed.  He realizes that escape from the realm of his comatose mind must happen soon or escape will be impossible. Carnathan introduces the reapers who are nasty creatures that have stripped our protagonist of his memories and perhaps even his soul. 

The book is part horror, part Sci-Fi, and part religious. In one horror like scene Carnathan has ice forming on walls, floors and doors as the protagonist tries to escape from hideous reapers who are coming after him. 

“They’re too close, and my hands shake. The keys slip from my hands onto the floor and freeze on impact. No time to stop and retrieve them. I propel myself onward. My heart is beating so fast that I find it almost exhilarating in a weird way. 

The stairwell doors burst open behind me. One of the creatures glides down the hallway, reaching out with its skeletal fingers. It’s close enough for me to catch a glimpse of white skull beneath its cowl. 

I’m not going to make it.” 

Each of his 60 minute days are filled with breathtaking action where he’s down to his last few seconds before he is saved from defeat. Each hour is different however, new tests are thrown his way, new obstacles and new demons are out there to get him Purgatorium is a love story also – because isn’t that what life is really about? It’s also a study of sin - can one’s sins be erased or will they always be there? 

If you believe that there are no new stories then Purgatorium may change your mind.  J. H. Carnathan excelled at creating a dystopian realm that is full of evil, and amazing situations that will blow you away with his creativity. If you have been bored with what you have been reading lately, read Purgatorium and you’ll find yourself immersed in something fresh and mentally stimulating. And remember, watch out for the reapers. 


Reviewed by: David H.

About J.H. Carnathan


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J. H. Carnathan is from Tennessee and lives in Birmingham, Alabama for the time being. He is a fervent fan of honor, loyalty and chivalry. He loves to create worlds where men and women are emotionally broken and how they must find their way out of that darkness. Carnathan is the author of the novel PURGATORIUM. Originally, this book was written as a screenplay, but as the story unfolded and throughout the editing process, it became clear that it would make for a great novel as well. Ever since childhood, he has had an imagination towards story telling. That passion grew with age as he began to write short stories throughout his high school and college career. His degree in screenwriting from the University of Birmingham, Alabama gives his work a crisp, visual feel.




Visit http://www.jhcarnathan.weebly.com/ for more information on J.H. Carnathan


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