Book Review: Purgatorium, by J.H. Carnathan

Purgatorium, by J.H. Carnathan

Purgatorium by J.H. Carnathan

Published by author on June 9, 2017

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 346

Source: author

Find on Goodreads

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

When his watch resets to zero, his morning starts again. A handsome, young urban professional awakens inside his cavernous high-rise apartment. He is an emotionless drone of a man content with his self-structured regiment and amazing wealth, and he is totally oblivious to his abnormal lifestyle. Every day lasts an hour with the time always ending right at 60 minutes, giving him only 5 minutes to stay at one specific time zone in his structured routine. He keeps reliving the same day over and over, barely able to remember anything from the day before and unable to maintain mental order as he stumbles through his strange existence.

One day, his routine is interrupted when seven strangers separately appear. Everything slams to a halt as they tell him that his physical body is in a coma and his consciousness is currently in a purgatory-like realm. As his body lies in a coma, his mind has been living a lavish lifestyle at a price: his sinful memories and his autonomy.

After finding out his life support is coming to an end in eight hours, he must now run a race to get his life back. He must rely on this group who seem to tender on truth and violence to get him to the finish line on time. He just needs to remember who he is and come to terms with what he has done if he’s ever going to decide if he is a soul survivor ready for a second chance at life or a lost soul bound by no redemption.

The clock is ticking, and if he is going to survive, he’ll have to face his demons and outthink the clock that has constrained him for so long. For each minute that passes teeters the fine line between his life and death.

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Do you believe there is a heaven and hell? What about purgatory; an intermediate state after death in which the soul is cleansed or temporarily punished before final judgement? In this novel, the main character is stuck in such a prison. His body is in a coma and his soul is in Purgatorium, reliving parts of his life story over and over in an endless loop. But not everything is as it appears.

“Most people would say it is a battle between heaven and hell, but I believe it is much more human than that. To me, it is about holding on to the light inside one’s soul.”

This book is a bit of a puzzle, letting the reader piece it together right along with the main character. It is well planned and plotted, unfolding at just the right pace to reveal its answers. Due to the nature of this type of story, it took me a while to get into the rhythm, but once I did it kept my interest. That being said, I wouldn’t exactly call this an easy read. This book requires focus and attention to detail to really follow it properly. It also addresses themes that are significant and polarizing, with definite Christian overtones.

Ultimately, Purgatorium had a fascinating premise with solid execution, making for a thought-provoking experience. Readers who enjoy stories that need to be disentangled and analyzed might find this to be to their liking.

*Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this edition in exchange for an honest review.

4-b&w

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