The Antithesis by Terra Whiteman
This is a story about God and the Devil, but not how you were taught to believe. This is also a story about love and hate, and the suffering both can bring. This is about rights and wrongs, and all of the spaces in between. This is about revenge, courage, death, passion; with no villains, no heroes… only those left scorned. This is a story about Heaven, Hell, and the Jury that holds them together.
This is The Antithesis.
Justice Alezair Czynri is the newest recruit of the Jury, a group of powerful beings who reside in Purgatory and enforce the Code between Heaven and Hell. However, Justice Czynri could not have come at a worse time. A storm lays just over the horizon… One that brings with it a war.
I’ll be honest and admit that I was unsure about the premise of The Antithesis when I first heard about it. There are an awful lot of books out there that deal with the eternal battle between angels and demons, and I just wasn’t sure if it would appeal to me. It is not the sort of thing that I would actively seek out. The good news is that Terra Whiteman’s vision of heaven and hell is so refreshingly different from anything I have ever come across before, that I was sold. I certainly would never have expected to come across such fantastically Machiavellian politics for example.
In addition to the philosophical and religious elements in the novel, there are some terrific action sequences scattered throughout. The members of Jury have abilities that make them appear superhuman (think a cross between the Terminator and Neo from The Matrix and you’ll get the idea), and the moments these powers are used were highlights in the narrative. There is a scene on an airplane that is particularly memorable and will stay with me for quite a long time. Personally, I think I would have liked a few more battles but this may just my blood thirsty nature. In fairness, I should point out that The Antithesis is the first novel in a series, and based on the novel’s ending I expect this minor gripe will be addressed in future books.
The main character, Alezair, is a bit of an enigma. He is plucked from his job as a mercenary for hire and spends years learning how to become a Justice. He doesn’t know where he comes from and his origins are shrouded in mystery. His quest for answers becomes one of the main strands of the story. I liked that there are plenty of moments when he is playing catch up and has no idea what it is going on. This offers the opportunity for the reader to discover more about Alezair as he discovers things about himself. There are strong suggestions that he isn’t your typical Justice either; his colourful language, f-bombs aplenty, and violently bolshie attitude hint that he is something completely different compared to the other Jury member’s quiet stoicism.
The other members of the Jury are just as engaging, but it was the various angels and demons that really captured my imagination. Whiteman injects some nice, subtle humour here that caught me totally unawares. The leader of heaven, Yahweh Telei, has inherited his position from his father and would much rather continue his scientific work than worry about paperwork. The arch-demon, Belial Vakkar, is far more interested in producing his latest play than scoring points over angelic opponents. Giving the angels and demons human failings and foibles makes them that much more engaging.
Set across the countless planets of a sprawling multiverse, as well as Purgatory, Heaven and Hell; the author really gets a chance to flex her creative muscle as the angels and demons collect souls as part of a seemingly endless contest. Whiteman has developed many different races and cultures, and as the reader gets to meet them some seem much like us, while others are totally alien. On a personal note, it was also nice to discover what I had often suspected, that alcohol is a universal constant.
I was impressed with the complex story that begins in book one of The Antithesis. It serves as a good introduction to the multiple worlds that Terra Whiteman has created. Book two in the series, Alpha, is also available. Check out the website The Antithesis for more details about forthcoming releases.