The Reapers are the Angels

Alden Bell
The Reapers are the Angels Cover

The Reapers are the Angels


The Reapers are The Angels by Alden Bell is an excellent novel. This is an important statement because of the one word I did not say, and that word is "Zombie". Because this is not just an excellent zombie novel, but just an excellent novel. Period. Alden Bell has combined the dark and disturbing genre of "Southern Gothic" with the, to be honest mediocre genre of "Zombie" fiction. What he has created is a character and a world that is both disturbing and comforting in its familiarity.

Temple is 15 years old and was born 10 years into the zombie uprising. She has never known a world without zombies. She was "raised" in an orphanage that was overrun by zombies while she was still a very young child. Because of this she has had to grow up on the road wandering the southern states. Uneducated in the traditional sense, Temple is unable to read or write, but is knowledgable in the skills necessary to survive in the zombie world.

The southern gothic aspects lend themselves in surprising ways to the novel. Temple is an odd mixture of ignorance and brilliance. Although uneducated, Temple is not ignorant. The novel is told mostly as an internal monologue, out of necessity, as she is alone, or with a mute, developmentally disabled, companion for most of the novel. Her thoughts are complex and much, much more mature than her 15 years. As she travels, Temple comes to a city that is trying to make a stand in a complex of high rises. While there she is attacked by a man and kills him in self-defense. Because of this, the man's brother swears he is going to kill her, and the remainder of the novel is her attempts to evade this man named Moses Todd. They meet several times during the novel and it is obvious that they feel a connection to each other. Not in a sexual way, but as kindred spirits. At one point Temple and Moses are talking and Temple explains that she killed Moses' brother because he attacked her and that he was not a good person. She does not tell him this in a begging way but just explains it. The funny thing is Moses admits that his brother was not a good person, but it does not really make a difference because family honor demands he avenge his brother's death.

The relationship between Moses Todd and Temple is the driving force of this novel. The reader reads page after page of them meeting and sparing, and, at least in my case, hoping they will find a way to solve their differences without one having to kill the other. There are several times in the novel where Temple could have killed Moses Todd, but she chooses not to do it because he had not done anything to her yet, and she understands why he is seeking revenge. I get the impression that she approves and would do the same thing in his shoes. The southern gothic theme of duty and honor are the major theme of this novel.

This novel is beautifully written, and the reader will feel they are traveling with Temple. Her sense of overall contentment with this world that most would find unbearable is a wonder to behold. She sees the miracle of Gods work all around her. Her faith is unbreakable, and on the surface seems so simple, but is in fact so profound that it almost boggles the mind. She feels that God puts people where they are meant to be. In the very beginning of the novel, Temple is at a light house in Florida, and one night she sees a school of glow-in-the-dark fish. This is an example of Gods wonder. Everything that happened in her life led her to seeing these fish. Call it fate or God's will, but Temple does not rail against her life or wish things were different. The ending is truly horrific, but left me with a sense of hope I had no right to feel.

This review has not done this book justice, just read the novel, you won't be sorry.

5out of 5 stars