SPFBO4 Review! No Sympathies: A Tale of Those Who Trespass Against Us by William Cope

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When we were assigned our batch I had the authors fill out a form that gave us info about the subgenres, number of POVs, tropes and other things to determine which one of us would be the best audience for each of the books. The majority of entries for the Weatherwax Report were labeled as “epic” “dark” or “grimdark”, so I was very happy to get at least one comedy in my group.

It starts out with a foreword about the author’s religious background and the Bible’s influence on the story. Honestly, it was an interesting take with a warm overall message about accepting other people’s views, not turning people away, and things of that nature. Being a non-religious person myself, and knowing nothing about the book other than the foreword, I was nervously hoping I was going to be able to relate to this one. In the end, it had a very sweet take away message I think anyone can get behind.

Pug is an imp living in the deepest depths of hell, reserved for the most heinous of souls. There are literal rings of hell, each one dominated by a different fallen prince/archangel and each having its own rules and general atmosphere/environment. Pug technically belongs to Lucifer himself and has been marked by ‘Pride’ as a symbol of his allegiance. They live in the darkest depths of Hell where it’s freezing cold instead of hot like people often picture Hell (there are rings that are hot). He was born after The Fall which means he doesn’t have nearly the strength or the power of the demons that were born before The Fall. He’s just an imp, a lowly imp assigned to be a Tormentor for all of eternity. He spends his days trying to make idle chit-chat with his prisoners, but it doesn’t go over well since he’s stabbing them with a pitchfork. Pug is a people-person, he likes talking, making jokes, and he can find the good in just about any situation. He really is an atypical imp and what he wants most in the world is to be a Tempter. He thinks his wily antics and his gift of gab could go much further in that profession than his current torturing position.

Taking inspiration from his fearless leader, he decides to rebel against his position in life and dream of something more. He starts making his way up the rings of Hell to the topmost layer where the portal to the mortal realm lies. He makes some friends and also some enemies along the way, but his dreams were delayed when Hell is suddenly invaded.

There’s a side story being told from multiple demon POV’s about the rebellion against God and the fall of Lucifel/r. The POV’s alternated between Pug and different rotating POV’s from each of the 7 princes of Hell. It goes into the backstory of each of the princes and how the fell and what their vices are, and also paint the backstory of Hell itself.

The writing style is very upbeat and happy, the author self-labeled this as horror, and I guess I see that because it is all about demons and Hell, but for me, this was a very light book. There wasn’t a lot of death, violence, gore or other darker topics, and the main character himself was incredibly cheerful.

I didn’t know where the story was going at first outside of a simple plot for Pug to get out of Hell, and the backstory of Hell. So, for the first third of the book, I was waiting for something more to happen other than just Pugs adventures. Thankfully, major plot points did come into play and by the end, I understood why we were getting this backstory for Hell and it was pertinent to the ending, thankfully it wasn’t just there to fill pages.

I liked Pug, he was funny, upbeat, and kept things from being focused all on dark aspects of the misery in Hell. However, I didn’t connect with him the way I require for high numbers on my character portion for scoring. The side characters were okay, some of them were sort of flat, but some like Matilda were well done – I got a lot of satisfaction from her arc and backstory.

The world building was very well done, the author obviously knows a lot about his subject matter and it came through in his writing. I’ve seen the Biblical satire done a few times with Dogma, Life of Brian, and Biff: Christ’s Childhood Pal, and this is along the same lines except it’s from the demons perspectives and a young adult version.

The writing was straight to the point and not flowery, so that helped with the pace when it wasn’t obvious where the plot was going. There were a handful of typos which isn’t uncommon as I’m reading through my batch. It was just small things, missing letters in words like “fou” instead of “four”, things like that, but it wasn’t too distracting.

I don’t usually speak about the ‘message’ of a book because I don’t like influencing people’s perceptions, and often times I’m not even sure what the message is, so why take embarrassing stabs in the dark? But, this one had a very clear message about forgiveness and redemption which made it feel along the lines of Pratchett. Two similar methods of telling a story that’s both funny but also has a point. Both authors have a good message to send to its readers, but, with the authors having profoundly different backgrounds and worldviews.

Overall, I liked this despite its flaws and would recommend it if you thought this sounds like your kind of book.

Audience:

  • demon POV’s
  • lighter comedy
  • Biblical based
  • story with a message
  • shorter books
  • redemption arcs

Ratings:

  • Plot: 11.75/15
  • Characters: 9.25/15
  • World Building: 12.75/15
  • Writing: 11/15
  • Pacing: 11/15
  • Originality: 12/15
  • Personal Enjoyment: 7/10

Final Score: 74.75/100 or 3.73/5 GR stars

THIS IS MY SCORING SYSTEM FOR THE UNINITIATED Rating System

 

 

 

 

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