Jonathan Maas' Children of Another Bible: We Were Not the Only Ones was published in November 2017.
Information about Jonathan Maas:
Jonathan Maas is a writer living in Los Angeles. He writes during his bus ride to and from work, and owes much of this novel to the traffic on the 101. He is a fan of all types of literature, with his most recent favorite group of writers being Paul Kalanithi, Jostein Gaarder, Andrew Kaplan, Linwood Barclay, A.C. Crispin, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Caren Lissner, John Shirley and Herman Koch.
Information about Children of Another Bible: We Were Not the Only Ones:
Children of Another Bible
A modern day scientist who has found a way to visit the afterlife. A young child in a devastated world. An adventurer in a near-utopian future who is beginning to realize his destiny may lie in the stars above.
They live in three different eras, but they are connected by a mystery that has haunted humanity since history began.
We Were Not the Only Ones
Humanity has always believed that this world was meant for them, and so far this has seemed to be the case. But there is one angel who didn’t see things this way. Her name is Kulkuz, and when humanity left Africa to populate the world, her red-haired children were eradicated, and her future was stolen.
But Kulkuz has a plan. Neither spirituality nor science can determine what it is, but she is coming for us. And she will stop at nothing until her children’s rightful destiny has returned.
A REVIEW OF JONATHAN MAAS' CHILDREN OF ANOTHER BIBLE: WE WERE NOT THE ONLY ONES
Before I begin to review and analyse this novel, I'll mention that I've come to appreciate Jonathan Maas quite a lot as an author, because he writes fresh and intriguing speculative fiction. He has his own writing style and he stays true to his own voice, which is something that counts a lot in modern speculative fiction. This novel is a good example of his imagination and his ability to tell fascinating stories.
Children of Another Bible: We Were Not the Only Ones is the author's strongest and most ambitious work to date. It's unlike anything he has ever written before, because he combines elements of fantasy, science fiction, alternate history, mythology, philosophy and religion to create a mesmerising story about a forgotten angel Kulkuz and her children who have all but been erased from the face of the Earth.
This novel is a fascinating and thought-provoking reading experience for readers who appreciate speculative fiction novels in which entertainment values and intelligent elements blend with each other in a fresh and original way. I was impressed by this novel and found it enthralling, because it's something different. The underlying strangeness of the story appealed to me and awakened my interest in it.
Here's a bit of information about how the story begins:
In the beginning, an angel helps two youths - a boy and a girl - and enters their dreams. The angel projects images to them and communicates with them on a basic level that allows the youths to understand certain things. The youths are being given perception of things that will be useful to them and others of their kind to spread over the land. Finally, the angel tells them about another angel, Kulkuz, and her children, who are different from them... Julius Shaw is trying to convince investors to give him money for the research he is doing about white light treatment, which is going to save lives, but fails to secure funding. He meets his brother, Malachai, who's a reverend. Malachai has a debate with an antitheist Kenneth Hitch about religion and God. Afterwards Julius gives advice to his brother on how to respond to Hitch's arguments and finally tells him that he's going to perform the white light treatment on himself and wants Malachai to be there when it happens... When Julius begins the treatment, he experiences something strange, because he meets a gloriously built creature that takes hold of him and takes him somewhere else. The creature - an angel - gives him a mission: he must find Kulkuz. Soon Julius finds himself in a very strange place...
This is the beginning of a story, which consists of three parts that are totally different from each other. The first part tells of Julius Shaw and his groundbreaking medical procedure, the second part tells of a prehistoric rite of passage concerning two young men, and the third part tells of what happens to Dexl in the future. These three parts have one thing in common: the angel Kulkuz.
In the first part, the author focuses his attention on Julius Shaw and his new medical procedure, the white light treatment. What Julius has invented is something totally new and allows people to be saved from death, but it may also be dangerous to people, because not all may survive the treatment. I was fascinated by Julius' adventures in the other reality, which turned out to be a purgatory where one can move in tubes between various chambers. The purgatory is a neutral place that angels and demons can't enter, because if they enter it they'll quickly perish and burn to cinders.
The second part tells of two youths, Kian and Niall and their rite of passage, athbhreith. Kian and Niall must survive until morning on Mount Ossa and bring back something for the elders to interpret. It was fascinating to read about what happened to Kian and how he met Kulkuz.
The third part tells of Dexl, who lives in the future world where many things have changed. Augmented animals now exist beside extinct species, and humans have learned to do many kinds of things. I enjoyed reading about how humans could communicate with animals and I also enjoyed reading about the futuristic city, Aztlá, which was quite a sight to behold with its several enormous buildings.
The author writes well about how Kulkuz feels about what has been done to her children and how the other angels have exterminated them. This is something that has not been seen in modern speculative fiction (I don't remember reading anything like this ever before). It was fascinating to read about how Kulkuz used three different people in three different eras to further her plans.
I enjoyed reading about themes and issues related to life, death, extinction, beliefs and religion, because the author addresses these themes in a fluent and thought-provoking way and allows readers to think about what they have read. It was great that the author avoided giving easy answers and resolutions to certain things, because it makes the story interesting.
It's a bit difficult to classify this novel, because the unique combination of different elements places this novel into a class of its own. This novel has a few elements that are slightly reminiscent of elements found in novels written by Michael Crichton, Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell, but the author's writing style and his way of exploring the elements differs from these authors.
I was fascinated by the structure of the story, because each of the three parts featured different events, but together they formed a mesmerising tale of Kulkuz and her children. When I finished reading the whole novel, I thought to myself that it can be read as a standalone novel, but it feels a bit like an introduction to a larger series, because there's room for further exploration of many things.
The cover image by Mathos Lappas looks great and fits this novel perfectly. I also found the image ("Kulkuz, Angel of the Neanderthals, Circa 70,000 B.C.E.) which was displayed on the back cover beautiful.
I give this novel strong four stars on the scale from one to five stars, because I enjoyed it and found its gradually unfolding story fascinating. I liked the freshness and originality of the story very much.
If you enjoy reading thought-provoking and mesmerising stories, you should definitely take a look at Jonathan Maas' Children of Another Bible: We Were Not the Only Ones, because it's something different, fresh and fascinating. It differs nicely from other new speculative novels and stands out among them due to its different kind of a story.
My final words are: Jonathan Maas' Children of Another Bible: We Were Not the Only Ones is fascinating, fresh and thought-provoking speculative fiction for adults.