I bought Paradise Earth Vol 1: Day Zero at a book fair from the author. On the surface, the book looks to be a traditional surviving the holocaust book, but as you read further in the book you find that the book is actually far deeper and less predictable than it first appears. Paradise Earth is less about the end of days than it is about the Jehovah’s Witness and the inner workings of the cult. Sounds like a weird bridge to cross, right? It works though. Mathenia is able to draw you into the setting of the Hall and make the end of days seem not just expected, but late in its arrival. Mathenia has no love for the sect, but you can tell that he has a passionate affection for many of the members within and those that have been cast out.
While Mathenia develops the story of the end, the story of the past creeps in, and rings of regret, self-doubt, and personal morality over authoritative morality. With that said, as I finished the book I was left feeling that it wasn’t quite what I had been hoping for, yet as the book simmered in my mind, I found that it was perhaps better than I had hoped for and reached me on a deeper level.
I struggle with who to recommend this book to, as I am an atheist and enjoyed it, I wonder what those who hold faith in any religion would think of it, as I believe the morals of the story can be tilted to show the corruption and evil in all religions, but I must say, Mathernia’s protagonist doesn’t reject God in any way, just the organization of the Witnesses.