Book Review: The Kingdom

The Kingdom: A Berkeley Blackfriars NovelThe Kingdom: A Berkeley Blackfriars Novel by John R. Mabry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Berkeley Blackfriars are an order of Old Catholics (not Roman Catholics) who perform exorcisms and occasionally summon demons, among other things one might expect from residents of Berkeley, California. Their membership comprises

  • Fr. Richard: the Prior, an expert in raising demons, and a bisexual with some sexual practices of questionable safety
  • Fr. Dylan: married, with a dog, and a shaman with a jaguar as a power animal
  • Fr. Terry: gay, with a monogamous partner, and an expert in angels
  • Br. Mikael: a goth and expert in Wicca

Other notable characters include Dylan’s wife Susan, Terry’s partner Brian, and Kat Webber, a Wiccan who is rather suspicious of Christians.

While this book certainly isn’t perfect, I really did enjoy it a lot, and actually read it in one go.

There were a few places in obvious need of some editing (although that could possibly be because I received a reviewer copy): For example, on one page Fr. Dylan has a tennessee drawl that becomes a Kentucky drawl on the next page. There were also a few places where the descriptions seemed too similar.

In most books, I’d find those to be major problems. However, The Kingdom has a lot going for it. The plot moves well and seems well paced. I think that the characters, though are what I liked best about the book. They’re funny, believable, and likably imperfect, and it’s often their imperfections that lead to the plot becoming more complicated or resolving.

I do feel I need to post a warning: The Kingdom doesn’t shy away from the ugliest (and sometimes smelliest) parts of the human experience. That didn’t bother me, but some people are sensitive to those things.

Book Source: I received a free copy to review from the publisher via GoodReads.

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