As I start this review, I must confess to not being a student of the bible. While I’m broadly familiar with the demonic entity Legion, from which Pets for Legion takes its title, I don’t know the intricacies of the story. While a lack of knowledge about Legion won’t prevent you from following along and enjoying Shawn David Brink’s novel, your stance on religion may. Pets for Legion doesn’t simply take inspiration from the Bible; faith plays a central role in this book.
Pets for Legion is a Christian-themed horror story. While I will do my best to review this as a horror novel, the fact remains that Christianity is tied to much of the story. The characters’ faith is central to both the plot and the themes of the story. Where a horror story, at its core, is often about good versus evil, Pets for Legion is literally about holy versus unholy. Where good triumphs in the end, the Christian faith triumphs over the demonic. The book doesn’t preach at the reader, nor does it cast judgement; however, the Christian faith is intrinsically linked to the story.
Despite a print page count of 300 pages (and a digital estimate of 242 pages), Pets for Legion is a brisk read, which I found myself finishing it less time than most books of a comparable length. Given the difference between the physical and eBook versions, this may be due to the physical book’s formatting; the writing style doesn’t particularly lend itself to a speedy read. The chapters are short and sharp, helping the book build momentum from the very beginning, creating a mood that builds mystery and a sense of suspense throughout, but still manages to maintain a quick pace.
As Pets for Legion tells the story of para professional Sasha James, it quickly establishes her character and the setting surrounding her, and leaps straight into the story. No space is wasted on unnecessary information; this is a wonderfully tightly-written book. Throughout, Brink’s prose plays on the mysterious and fearsome nature of the threat and maintains an engaging tone that draws the reader in while building a sense of dread.
The horror elements throughout are haunting, and Legion, as well as those working with the demon, bring a sense of foreboding at every moment they appear. The horror included is fairly light, resulting in a style that may disappoint fans of visceral horror stories, but is welcoming to readers who prefer not to be traumatised by the books they read. As you can probably ascertain from the genre, Pets for Legion has its violent moments, however the book doesn’t dwell on these, instead letting the reader imagine just how grisly the events are.
As enjoyable as this book’s ominous tone is, there are a couple of character beats and descriptions within that bring a fun, lighthearted sense of character-based humour, and I would have loved to see a little more of this. Broadly, the heroic characters are well-defined, but their intricacies are not the focus of Pets for Legion, which instead focuses on moving the plot forward.
Legion, and its villainous acolytes, however, work brilliantly. They serve their purpose as villains of the story, and engage the reader fully as it builds its mystery. As well-written as Legion is, however, I found this to be somewhat undercut by its actions and the effects of these. While being presented as a nigh-unstoppable enemy, the plot points as it reaches its climax result in Legion’s power not being as all-encompassing as it seems. In the end, it results in the threat being resolved a little too cleanly for my taste. However, as I noted earlier in this review, horror stories are often about good triumphing over evil, and Pets for Legion is about Christian faith triumphing over the demonic. Pets for Legion’s resolution perfectly aligns with this mission statement.
Pets for Legion carries the trappings of horror stories, and it carries them incredibly well, despite the horror itself being fairly light. If you enjoy horror stories but don’t feel like reading something too horrific, you will find a lot to enjoy. While its Christian themes are interwoven into the narrative, they don’t overpower the book, but your mileage on this will vary depending on your stance on religion, and in particular, Christianity.
The chief felt relieved. Clay didn’t kill the pet. He only suffocated him to the point of losing consciousness. Good. He needed the boy alive. He needed his soul to appease those that resided in the nearby abyss.Pets for Legion, Chapter 7
Pets for Legion was provided by the author for the purpose of an honest review.
Pets for Legion is available in paperback and eBook formats from retailers, including—but not limited to—Amazon.
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