James, a reincarnated scientist with awesome but untapped psychic powers, struggles to save the universe in this second installment of the Seventh Journey science fiction series. As his friends fall victim to Luzige, a horrifying demon bent on ruling Earth, James must recover enough of his lost memories to win the final battle against his foe. Featuring a litany of battles and several fantasy tropes, the book contains copious amounts of action.
James is the reincarnation of the chosen, godlike Lukman, who has battled Luzige unsuccessfully over six previous lifetimes. Between his direct connection to positive otherworldly power and his tendency to come back from the dead, James comes across strongly as a Christ figure. The book does not deal with James’s portion of responsibility for the fall of Earth, namely the fact that he invented the technology that allowed Luzige to gain access in the first place; further examination of this theme could add complexity to later installments in the series.
While additional scrutiny of this twist could add much-needed depth to James’s character, it may be unnecessary. The book’s value is in its action scenes. The plot is muddy: James and various allies roam Earth and several other dimensions looking for a series of MacGuffins, from James’s brother Joshua to a holy necklace. But considered as a string of encounters, it’s not boring. Each time James finds himself in a new area, he fights a number of minor enemies before defeating a boss who tests his powers and forces him to grow. In this way, reading the book is not unlike watching someone play a video game.
Several characters in this book, from Tamara to Paul to James himself, rely heavily upon their previous introduction in the previous volume. Readers who are only just meeting this cast may find several personae flat, unconvincing, and lacking basis for their actions outside of the expository text.
Exposition is a problem throughout the book, especially since it dominates the dialogue. Time that might have been spent developing character traits tends to disappear into a maze of backstories delivered so directly that the book often feels like one long catch-up. However, aside from this problem, the writing is fairly solid. The book does a fine job distinguishing different dimensions from one another using nonphysical descriptors. The fact that James spends as much of the book fighting negative emotions like defeat and self-hatred as he does fighting bad guys contributes to the book’s inspirational tone. Seventh Journey: Book 2 is most likely to appeal to action fans, especially those who prefer intense descriptions of martial arts technique in practice. Fans of inspirational science fiction might find it an interesting read.
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