Pray by John Prescott (The Revelation Chronicles, Bk. 1)
Read by Wayne June
Length: 16 Hrs 4 Min
Genre: Biblical Post Apocalyptic Horror
Quick Thoughts: Pray is a heavy metal look at Revelations, what Left Behind could have been if it had been written by Brian Keene. Prescott grabs the reader from the opening trumpet blast, and rockets them through a gore filled vision of the End Times. It’s a fast paced Apocalyptic Thriller with some engaging characters, and while there are definitely snark worthy, roll your eye moments, it’s a hell of a fun ride.
Long before I had a Zombie Survival Plan (run, don’t get eaten) I had a Tribulation Plan. As a kid growing up in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church, I had the unique opportunity to view the "Thief In the Night" series of Post Rapture Tribulation movies many, many times. In fact, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, in Ambler, there used to be an old theatre called The Christian Cinema that we would often go to, where they played free Christian movies and Tribulation movies were regular films in their staple. Many people who are avid Post Apocalyptic fans will point to a book like The Stand, or perhaps Z is for Zachariah, as what turned them into fans of apocalyptic fiction. I searched out books like The Stand and Z is fort Zachariah because of the Thief in the Night movies. As a child, knowing my sinful childhood heart, I just new I was destined to be Left Behind when the trumpet blasts and the born again are called up to heaven. So, of course, I made a plan. On the day that I get home to discover that my family was now just a rumpled pile of clothes, I planned on grabbing whatever supplies I could, and head to New Life Island, a Christian campground that was a small island in the Delaware River. There I would hide from the minions of the antichrist, try to survive the earthquakes and Wormwood, and avoid getting the mark of the beast on my right hand or forehead. From this point on, I was always fascinated by Christian Eschatology. As a teenager, I read many books about things that were happening that were signs and portends of the coming of the Beast. I heard of chip implants, and scanner codes based on the repeating number 6. I heard of moves getting us closer to a one world government, ripe to be taken over by a charismatic figure. As I became less and less involved in the church, my interest in Biblical Apocalypse waned, but still lingered. I read some of the Left Behind but got frustrated with the authors stringing the series along, and with all the preachiness. What I really wanted was a secular take on the Biblical Apocalypse. Then, one night, I was scanning the new releases on Audible, and I discovered Pray by John Prescott. Oh, what a discovery!
I’ll have to admit, I was expecting this review to be a snark filled look at the many corny aspects of this novel. The problem was, despite some snark worthy moments, and a really strange premise, I enjoyed the hell out of this novel. It’s really hard to write a review, because I’m not sure exactly who the right market is for this novel, beyond my own special mix of dysfunction. Pray is a Biblical Apocalyptic Thriller that covers much of the same stuff that The Left Behind series does, yet, author John Prescott utilizes a sort of Biblical loophole in Revelation where John is told not to share something he envisioned, to give the whole story a new spin. Oh, and what a spin it is. Prescott gives us all the natural disasters, rising evil, government suppression, wars and plagues, that we find in the end times prophesies of the Bible, yet, for fun, throws in some werewolves and vampires. Oh, and these are not you teenage heartthrob vampires and werewolves, these are bad assed killing machines. These are rip your guts out and feast upon your entrails horror monsters in their purest form. It’s a great little twist, yet gives the novel and almost schizophrenic feel. There are moments where people are talking to god, finding salvation, and the next moments werewolves are ripping a person apart, and providing a profanity fueled narration while they do it. As a horror fan, and someone who grew up in the church, I enjoyed the heck out of it, but I feel many Christians will be turned off by the gore and language, while many horror fans will be bothered by many of the Christian moments. I think, with people who grew up in Fundamentalist Churches, there is a sort of language that develops when taking about certain beliefs and reasoning’s, and some of these appear in Pray. While it’s tailored to a secular market, I think some moments wouldn’t translate as well to people with out that sort of background. Beyond that, while many of the characters both good and evil we quite well developed and engaging, I found a few to be very stereotypical and frustratingly clichéd, enough so that it sort of bothered me. Overall, outside of the issues I have talked about, the story was pretty darn good. If you are incapable of getting past the use of horror creatures or the occasional naughty word in a book based on Biblical Prophesy, than perhaps, you should stick to the latest Left Behind spinoff novel. Otherwise, Pray is a heavy metal look at Revelations, what Left Behind could have been if it had been written by Brian Keene. Prescott grabs the reader from the opening trumpet blast, and rockets them through a gore filled vision of the End Times. It’s a fast paced Apocalyptic Thriller with some engaging characters, and while there are definitely snark worthy, roll your eye moments, it’s a hell of a fun ride.
I am always a bit hesitant with independently produced audiobooks. I had heard of Wayne June before, and knew he had worked on novels by writers like Brian Keene. I had listened to a few samples, and thought that he had a deep voice that was perfect for setting the mood of a horror novel, I worried that his voice may not have enough range for a multi-character novel. First, the negatives on the audiobook production. I felt there was a bit of tininess to the production. at some points, the sound didn’t seem as crisp as I am used to in some productions. Also, there are special effect and music used occasionally in the production. Some of the effects work, yet for I felt the music was used inconsistently, and only ended up distracting from the narrative. Now, the positive. I was quite impressed with Junes overall performance. He really put a lot of emotion into his reading, working well to pull the reader into the story. His voice, while somewhat limiting, offered much more range than I initially imagined. He really excelled at capturing the often frantic, kinetic pacing of some of the more horrific moments of the novel, enhancing these rather chilling moments. For a 16 hour production, the time just flew by. I was sucked into the tale completely, and much of this was due to June’s reading. I always say that a listener can tell when a narrator is just totally sold into the book he is reading, and I think June’s performance in Pray is a fine example of this. I have a hard time recommending Pray to a wide audience, but if you are like me, and fascinated by Biblical Prophesy and enjoy a good gory horror novel, you totally should give this one a listen. For me, I will now sit patiently hoping the next book in the series is released as an audiobook.
For those interested, I did make live tweet some of the more snarky moments of my listening experience with Pray under the hashtag #praypocalypse
This Review is part of my weekly Welcome to the Apocalypse Series. For more post, click on the banned below.