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Dawn Song Mass Market Paperback – Sep 15 1999

22 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (Sept. 15 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812545478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812545470
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 2.5 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,501,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

"The Succubus was newly born, nurtured by the loving care of a horned prince from the pummeled soul of a camp-following whore (who had, in fleshy life, serviced one of Napoleon's best officers). With skilled hand and eye, like a master jeweler, he fashioned his child from this twisted spirit, purifying and distilling her ... burning and sculpting this ghost of a once human thing into a crimson-skinned siren--her form holding the secret fire of cinnabar and the muted light of a November sunset."

According to Michael Marano, there are two great powers in the depths of Hell. Belial, the Unbowed One, is the horned prince who treasures beauty--the beauty of individual human souls, the beauty of a future when all is "despair and the terror of the omnipresent sublime." Leviathan, the Enfolded One, is an enormous armored worm, a blind idiot whose only purpose is the perpetuation of ugliness--the banality of evil, human souls entrapped in a gross, undifferentiated mass. The battle between these two comes to a head in Boston, at the end of 1990, the dawn of the Gulf War. The combatants are a newborn succubus and a handful of benighted human beings. The backdrop is the darkness of the River Charles, the lavender-gray of the winter sky, and the millions of lonely voices of the city.

Dawn Song is an ambitious first novel, enriched by the author's grad school background in medieval history, alchemy, and the kabbalah. Marano's measured, often lyrical prose uses a host of gritty details to evoke the desperation of a handful of Bostonians--their unique, yet sadly predictable, plights, and their multilayered inner worlds. The complex plot is skillfully woven together around the themes of evil-as-beauty vs. evil-as-ugliness. The book's only flaw is that the ending is rather muddled, but you'll have been treated to so many poignant moments and amazing horrors by the time you get there, you'll hardly mind. --Fiona Webster --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Opposing powers in Hell use human surrogates to duke out their differences in this ambitious but ponderously overwritten dark fantasy debut. The immortal adversaries in Marano's occult cosmos are Belial, the Unbowed One, whose earthly emissary is a sexually voracious succubus named Jeannette, and Leviathan, the Enfolded One, who embodies what "the world knows as patriotism, bold enterprise, religious fervor, and righteous indignation." The mortal puppets whose strings they pull include sensitive gay bookstore clerk Lawrence, Harvard Divinity School student Ed Sloane (Lawrence's unrequited love interest) and a motley assortment of hangers-on to the Boston academic community. Set in 1990, at the height of the Gulf War, the novel attempts to delineate kabbalistic forces that shape the turmoil of individual lives and global dramas. But Marano's dark divinities, whose thoughts manifest in eccentrically typeset passages, are inscrutable to mere mortal readers. His human characters are not much clearer: mired in angst over the flaws that make them vulnerable to infernal influences, they can barely cross a room without collapsing into heaps of self-reflection. Marano compounds these drags on his narrative's momentum with an assault of awkward analogies and metaphors ("The mental images that strung his ideas into a cogent thesis were consigned to a particular hall of his memory palace. The mnemonic devices were displayed as suits of armor would be in the hall of a museum"). Despite its vividly imagined tableau of the world as a cosmic combat zone and average Americans as celestial soldiers, this novel is disappointingly devoid of the awe and mystery it strains so mightily to evoke.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
Michael Marano is quite a talented writer. The greatest strengh he reveals in his first novel is character development. Whether the character in question is one of the novel's major figures or one of the victims in the supernatural war being waged in the streets of Boston, Marano spends time to fully flesh each character out, so that the reader really gets to know the character well. This is particularly effective when Marano makes the reader begin to like a character, just to have him killed by a demon three pages later. In addition, because there are so many well-thought-out characters, it's difficult to tell who the hero of the novel is, or whether there even *is* a "hero" in the standard sense.
The plot is thought-provoking as well. When two demons battle for world dominion, who is the "good guy"? Marano deftly avoids the plot pitfall of bringing in God to quash the demons and restore everything to normal, which was refreshing. Instead, the tensions keep mounting until the novel's end, which makes for compelling reading. I had to finish the book in one night because I couldn't go to sleep without knowing what was going to happen next.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was really looking forward to this book only to be hugely disappointed. In every other sentence in every other paragraph was some sort of descriptive phrase "like moths to a flame"; "like bees to honey", it was soooo boring. Then what was the author thinking by splitting some of the pages into 2 or 3 columns then having a sentence run all over the page??? If you go to the author's website he talks about how to be original in your stories and ideas before you put them to paper.. and the author tries desperately to write this lyrical prose but falls way short. And big deal these demons are causing the ills of the world including the gulf war....please--who didn't see that plot coming a mile away. And my biggest beef with this book is the author's constant use of the "n-word". It just seemed to me that the author had no idea at times what he wanted to do with his characters. Some of his passages were just drivel. This is by far the 2nd worst book I've read this year. I'm not even going to give this to the library it's so bad.
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By A Customer on Jan. 29 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dawn Song by Michael Marano is an example of how the horror genre is deftly raised to perfect literature under the skilled hand of a superbly gifted writer. Weaving together the stories of an interconnected group of contemporary Bostonians who unwittingly find themselves drawn into an Infernal power struggle between two of the most powerful devils in Hell, Marano sketches a limitless landscape of beauty and terror, using words to coax colour and beauty from a story that is the definition of bleakness. In the end, redemption--of a sort--is the dawn song. If you ever wondered what makes a story perfect, if you ever wondered what is was to fall in love with, and suffer with, characters born of an author's brilliance, read Dawn Song...with the lights on. This was the definitive millenial novel, the finest horror novel of the 1990s, and is destined to become a modern classic. Dawn Song belongs in the library of every intellectual horror fan, and anyone who appreciates the finest writing currently available to discerning readers worldwide.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having both pros and cons about Michael Marano's first effort, if I could give it 2 1/2 stars I would because that's where I saw it - right down the middle.
On the positive side, I found it to be an extremely interesting concept, reminiscent of the Book of Job because here are two "spiritual" (?) beings watching humans deal with what is being thrown at them from outside their own realm. Two demons battle for dominion on earth. I found the characterization to be exceptional, containing the kind of detail that usually is the domain of Anne Rice. Of the main characters, there is Lawrence, a clerk in a bookstore who has come to terms with his own homosexuality, but not his father's death; Paul, a teacher founded in reality who, at one point, encourages a student teacher to fight the good fight, and then a few pages later, decides to quit teaching himself, and finally; Ed Sloane, our resident theological anti-hero. All of these people are drawn in great detail. Also, I liked how Marano does for the west end of Boston - Kennemore Square, Copley Place, Fenway Park - what Rice does for New Orleans. Namely, he paints it as a very dark location. Never in this book did I ever get the feeling that the sun was shining. However, though this tapestry is dark, it is, at times, quite beautiful.
Still, as the one armed economist might say, "on the other hand", there is no force of good in this book. I think the reader needs that in this kind of story. There are no good guys, no guys in white hats, no Lone Ranger to save the town and hence humanity. Rooting for one of the demons over the other doesn't offer much either.
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By A Customer on July 2 2000
Format: Hardcover
WARNING: Do not waste your money like I did mine! This is without a doubt the worst book I ever read. I could not even give it one star, (but had to or else they would not take my review)! After the first 100 pages I felt like giving it away but felt that no person should suffer like I did. I finished reading the book for 2 reasons. First, I like to finish what I start. Second, I hoped it would get better. It didn't. Someone please tell Mr. Marano that every sentence does not have to be a comparison...blah, blah, like bees exiting a hive,...blah, blah, like snowflakes are different, etc. I bought this book because of the positive reviews posted on this site. Are the 4 and 5 star reviewers friends of Mr. Marano? Is so, I was blindsided. If you take the time to read this review, please know that I am an avid book reader and do not give poor reviews as a rule. If you don't want to believe me, buy the book yourself and see. If you wish to waste your money I will e-mail you my address and you can send me your check.
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