Paul Dale Anderson reviewed The Unsaintly, Vol. 1
Interesting concept October 16, 2015
So here is a spoiler alert. I will give a five or four star rating to a novel that has marvelous potential in order to encourage that author to continue writing. One such writer is Lisa Vasquez, author of The Unsaintly (Create Space, 978-1461031086, $9.95). She concocted a good storyline, decent suspense, valid character interactions, realistic dialog, and spoiled the effect by adding an extra line between paragraphs. It’s such a minor thing that I should have been able to ignore it, but I couldn’t. I’m an old-time reader whose eyes expect to flow between paragraphs without extra white space. I loved the story itself, and the author is a writer to watch. I gave The Unsaintly five stars and included a caveat in the review.
I read Vasquez’ The Anti-God in Kindle and the extra space wasn’t so noticeable.
I recommend Lisa Vasquez to horror readers because she has created a believable fictional world with believable characters. I hope she continues to write.
Have you picked up your copy of The Unsaintly Chronicles: The Anti-God? I’m in the market for reviewers, and would love to do some interviews or blog hops. Please let me know! Enjoy your teaser below and grab a copy! There’s something for everyone — Apocalyptic, Exorcisms, Dystopian, Horror, Historical Fiction — and it’s jam packed into this epic tale of Isabel Augustus and her battle with Heaven and Hell.
For signed, personalized copies, please visit my website at http://www.unsaintly.com
COVER ART BY LISA VASQUEZ
STOCK IMAGES BY MARCUS RANUM
Edited by Veronica Smith, Edd Sowder, Robert Fuller
Publisher: Lisa Vasquez in Collaboration with Burning Willow Press
© 2015 Lisa Vasquez. All rights reserved.
By Lisa Vasquez
“Condemn me to my belly; I’ll still walk all over you.”
WITHOUT DARKNESS THERE CAN BE NO LIGHT
REVELATOR – ISABEL’S NIGHTMARE
The year is 1254. Having exhausted all his funds and a dire need for him to be home with this family, Louis IX of France returns home. Pope Innocent IV excommunicates Rudolph I of Germany who would later become the Holy Roman Emperor. By the end of the year, Pope Alexander IV succeeds Pope Innocent IV.
She was breathing. The painful expanding and contracting of her of her ribcage told her that. The only sound that she could hear was the sound of her own breathing in the still of the darkness that surrounded her. A darkness that was so thick that even with her eyes open she could see nothing. Her body ached like she’d been beaten for days. She could feel her skin was as cold as a corpse. She wrapped around herself to try and stop shivering.
The experience brought back childhood memories of a time when Louis and she played hide and seek. Isabel hid in mother’s closet one afternoon but got locked in. At first she thought it was fun. She played in all mother’s dresses until the minutes which seemed like hours ticked away. She realized, suddenly, she could not hear anything outside the door. What a great hiding spot! she thought. Louis would never find her here. Isabel sat down on the floor and began to crawl under the hems of gowns letting the material brush over her face. There was a small sliver of light from under the door just off in the distance when she saw a shadow run past causing her to freeze where she was. She had to remain silent or Louis would find her, and win. Rolling back to sit on her heels, Isabel leaned further into the darkness and felt the prickling of danger raising the hairs on the back of her neck. Something was there with her.
She remembered now screaming and banging on the large oak door. The sound of the brass handle jiggling was still fresh in her mind. Another blood curdling scream and the light finally washed in blinding her momentarily. The nanny opened the door and reached for her snatching her small arm to jerk her to safety. The sound of Louis’ laughter could be heard and Isabel cradled the crook of her arm over her eyes to shield them from the offending light. She remembered the feeling of how heavy the thumping of her heart in her small chest was while being chastised by the woman, and ridiculed by her sibling.
Isabel curled into a fetal position letting the memory fade away. She tried to cry but there was no moisture in her mouth or her eyes. She could only weep in dry silence. Her entire small frame shook with despair.
Just like the closet door letting in the light when she was seven the light rushed in and blinded her, now. This light was different. This light was brighter. It was pure like sunlight. She lifted her hand upward to protect her vision which had grown used to the darkness. Her sensitive eyes squinted at the offensive brightness and tried to focus on her surroundings.
All Isabel could see was the blood that dripped from her hands and along her arms. Smeared trails of blood and dirt made their winding path to her torn and ragged fingertips. Crying out, she gasped and wrung her hands together to try and clean them. She was crying again. The realization of what happened flooded her, pulling her into their smothering depths.
“No!” she screamed.
She was grabbing her skirts trying to spit on the material to rub off the blood. Looking down, she saw that it was everywhere. It was futile to try and clean it but she could not stop herself. Panic swept in and she began screaming louder, rocking her body and repeating the word over and over again within her mind. No! No! No!
“Nooo!!” she finally screamed out.
There was no echo. The sound bounced back and assaulted her own ears.
The morning sun had trickled into the room along with the cool draft of winter’s air. It took with it the nightmare that continued to claim her repeatedly for the past few months. Isabel stirred in her sleep curling up deeper into her thick, wool blanket. Shivering a little, she squinted and brought her knees up so that she was in the fetal position, again. Just as she was about to fall back asleep she was awakened to a chill once more moving against her feet. Isabel used her toes to tug the blanket down. She avoided full consciousness for another five minute’s rest. She began to shiver yet again and the discomfort pulled her out of the sleep world. Opening one eye, she gazed down to see the blankets were off her legs. She sighed and tugged them over her body cocooning herself into it but the blankets were suddenly jerked off of her and thrown into a crumpled heap at the bottom of the bed.
With a gasp she sat up and looked around expecting to see someone there; another nun, Father Raphael or anyone. Even with the first light of morning, the grey was too dark to see much of anything so Isabel scooted to the top of her meager bed. She drew her knees to her chest and tucked her freezing toes within the hem of her nightgown. She wrapped her arms around herself and looked around. Her hand began to tremor slightly and she grasped it with the other to keep it still. She paid it no mind and chalked it up to the nightmare and the cold.
“They’re just dreams,” she said aloud to herself.
Standing up from her bed Isabel stretched and lit the candle beside her before shuffling into her shoes. She walked to the window to gaze outside and saw Marciel walking in the garden. A man she’d never seen before was at his side. The two seemed deeply engrossed in conversation. Isabel wondered if he was just a visitor or if he was new to their village. She smiled a bit then backed up, closing the shutter to her window so that she could begin her morning prayers and dress for the day.
Isabel set the candle on the small table then kneeled in front of the crucifix on her wall and made the sign of the cross. When she bowed her head she could feel a sour churning of her bowels before nausea rose up in her throat. It was so sudden that Isabel was drawn forward to one hand. It felt as if the temperature in the room rose twenty degrees, enveloping her in a wave of heat. Confusion set in and she braced herself just as the pain welled up inside her belly.
“Oh God,” she whispered out but the rest of the sentence was cut off.
She felt the familiar rush of saliva to her lips. They had grown so dry and hot. The trembling of her lower jaw preceded the inevitable; her body was forced forward again and she began to feel choked. The scraping of something in her throat brought about a new pain even more severe than the first, and she tried with all her might to help it out. Something was lodged in her throat!
She gasped in small doses as often as she could but whatever was in there was tearing its way out and scraping against the tender flesh of her esophagus. Tears welled in her eyes and she rocked back and forth, afraid she would die from lack of oxygen all alone in her room. Isabel tried to call for help but nothing came out. She gagged on another dry heave and Isabel could feel the object on the back of her tongue now. She was starting to grow hysterical. She had to be. It felt like something metal. Metal!? What is going on?! Reaching an unsteady, fumbling hand up, she dug her fingers into her mouth and scratched desperately to pull whatever it was out of her throat. Her fingertips found the edge which was sharp and thick. After finally getting a grasp on it she tugged but the end seemed lodged in the small, enclosed walls of her esophagus. Isabel’s gasps turned to small wheezes and she could feel the tingling of dark spots that came when one was about to lose consciousness.
Even more desperate now, Isabel pulled frantically without care of the damage that was being dealt to her throat. Saliva mixed with blood fell in long thick strands from her lower lip and the fingers of the hand that held her weight curled against the floor. I can’t breathe! She screamed inside her mind. The object was growing slippery but she continued to pull until finally it moved. Isabel was gurgling when she was able to withdraw the object from between her lips. A trail of something long followed, coming up from her belly. Her shaky fingers slid over what looked like small stones, but her vision was still blurred and the threat of unconsciousness still lingered on the outer edges of her tunneling vision.
Finally! She was able to dislodge the foreign object before passing out. Dropping it, she heard it clatter to the floor amid the spit and blood. Isabel rushed to her feet still lightheaded. Nearly falling, she reached out for the candle and then collapsed to her knees again. Isabel lowered the candle to the floor, bringing her face closer to inspect the area. What she saw ripped through her with a fear so deep she feared for her very soul. Setting the candle down, she fought back the tickling, coughing sensation caused from the itchy, scrapes against her tonsils. There was no denying what it was on the floor. Sliding her fingers through the blood and spit, she grasped it not believing it was real. It was her rosary!
Though she was born to a noble family, Isabel Augustus had shown a love for piety, humility and servitude at a very young age. In a world of darkness, her light far outshone those around her, attracting the attention of both Heaven and Hell. When Isabel’s simple actions as a mortal catch the eye of God, who showers her in his blessings and attentions, Lucifer’s jealousy rears its ugly head once more.
The age old contention between father and son results in a tug-of-war over her very soul when Lucifer begins to show her his own attention. They will soon find out that there is another who seeks out the soul of their precious Isabel. Will Isabel’s faith be enough to save her and those she loves? Or will she give up her immortal soul to keep the end of the world at bay?
I don’t know how to feel right now. The unsaintly is in the editorial stage. A whisper from being complete.
If you’ve been here from the beginning of this journey.. You understand the meaning of this step.