Logic of Demons by HA Goodman

A piece of work that makes you think and keeps you thinking...
Logic of Demons book cover

I like it when authors make a real attempt to write something challenging. It is refreshing to read a book that is not just a simple re-working of those that have gone before. Logic of Demons: The Quest for Nadine's Soul is such a book, ambitious in its scope; it is as much a study in human behaviour as it is a fantasy story. As with many books that attempt so much, not everything works, but one thing is for sure – it is certainly worth investing time in reading it.

Logic of Demons asks many questions. What would a man do if the love of his life had been murdered by a deranged killer? Would he become a vigilante and seek retribution? This book explores the psyches of men and women who are forced to deal with the consequences of their actions.

The story is told from multiple perspectives and we see it unfold through the eyes of a demon, two angles and a teenage girl. The subject matter is often hard-hitting, including rape, murder, genocide and religious fundamentalism. I think it would be fair to say that the thoughts and beliefs of the reader will undoubtedly affect the reading experience.

I found Goodman’s vision of the afterlife to be inventive and intelligent, as well as wryly amusing (Hell is just a big office where the demons work in fear and monotony – something that many will relate to). The story itself is solid and involving, doesn’t become bogged down and ends with a flourish. Religion and religious fundamentalism are dealt with very evenly, the author never being judgmental, just presenting opinions. I put-down - and never pick-up again - books that I find preachy or dogmatic and was very pleased with how this was handled as Goodman comes at all the major religions from both sides, showing their hypocrisies plainly and without any bias.

Where I thought the book was slightly weaker was in the narrative and particularly the dialogue. There were too many times when I felt that the characters were not conversing like “real” people and it just didn’t sit right with me.

What did I personally take from the book? I think the point that struck home firmly was that there is a big difference between wishing somebody dead and actually carrying out the deed. What would I do if something horrendous happened to someone I loved? Would I want retribution? Yes. Would I contemplate murder? Yes. Would I carry it out? I honestly don’t know. The Logic of Demons shows the inner-demons that haunt those who have suffered terrible harm. Many will question their own faith, wondering why it has been allowed to happen to them, thereby allowing the inner-demons to infiltrate a normally placid mind, causing rage and suggesting actions that wouldn’t normally be even contemplated.

In summary I would once again recommend that you give The Logic of Demons a try. Although it is a bit clunky at times, it is a piece of work that makes you think and keeps you thinking. The religious aspect is dealt with in an extremely unbiased way and this work should appeal to fans of speculative and religious fiction.

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