Fighting Just to Stay Neutral – Between Heaven and Hell, a Demi God Struggles

DiMura includes all the necessary elements for a thrilling young adult fantasy. Action, a good anti-hero, a beautiful heroine and conflict between good and evil on a major scale combine for action in great fight scenes and wonderfully articulated struggles of mind and heart for each of the thoroughly developed characters. Vampires play a key role in the book but none of the characters are developed enough to be more than cameos. Werewolves are mentioned, but never dealt with in the novel.

The initial premise of the book reveals the character of the anti-hero, Kaine. Through some extreme circumstances Kaine becomes a demi-god on the Earth, living between Heaven and Hell. The usual characters of Lucifer, (he hates being called the Devil), Archangel Michael, and Death round out the “parents” Kaine has on the Earth to help him make the many life altering decisions he must make. For Kaine it all comes down to a choice between Heaven and Hell where he comes up with a creative alternative, he chooses neither and dedicates his life to removing supernatural influences from the Earth and humans in particular.

Other important characters include Allyson and Darius. Allyson is the heroine here; the person that restores Kaine from the loneliness and the despair he encounters because of his nature and his life’s work. With the havoc that comes to Allyson’s life when Kaine becomes involved with her, it is tragic that she loses all herself because Kaine comes into her life at all. She is very optimistic and trusting but there are explanations for her outlook in the narrative. Darius is another matter.

Darius is one of the people Kaine encountered in the crusade of King Richard. During that encounter the two men developed quite a friendship, but also have many problems as is common with friendships forged in war. Darius shows up several hundred years later with a mission, misguided though it may be, to destroy Kaine. Darius, by the time of their second encounters, is a demi-god albeit not very good with using any powers that come to him.

Belial is the only true demon encountered that is developed and it is entirely in terms of his hatred for Kaine. As the son of Lucifer, he was the heir apparent until Kaine became an immortal. The character development of this denizen of Hell is very slight and single purposed. There is not enough about Belial to make him as believable as the others even Lucifer and Michael who are stereotypical of traditional interpretations of their character.

The plot is well constructed with twists and turns to keep the reader sitting on the edge of his chair. There are many cosmological and philosophical ideas espoused in the plot. Some may make many uncomfortable, but should challenge the most staid reader to think about their own beliefs and how those impact family and friends. The book deals with extreme loneliness, driven behavior that drives away friends and that sense of rightness that many young adults have about their beliefs.