Memortality by Stephen H. Provost (February 2017) from Pace Press (imprint of Linden Publishing) is a well-paced adventure filled with horror, mystery, fantasy and a touch of romance. But at its core, the story takes readers into the enigmatic realm between life and death, examining the ultimate “what if” question: What if you could bring the dead back to life?
This is not a retelling of the Mary Shelley Frankenstein saga. No. We are not talking about monsters here. Though the possibilities of evil linger in the background of this story, this is more of an emotional look at the human element and the limitations of our existence.
Anyone who has lost somebody near-and-dear to them knows that dark feeling of helplessness and despair, that yearning to do the impossible, to turn back time before the loss – a mortality do-over. THAT is what author Provost introduces to the readers in Memortality. A well written novel with modern prose and social concerns directed more for the young adult fan, the complex idea of mixing morality and mortality is a fresh twist on the human condition that is sure to draw other demographics as well.
Minerva is injured in an automobile accident that takes the life of her longtime friend Raven, but the realization of a new dark power takes her down a twisted rabbit-hole from which there is no return. After she brings Raven back from the dead, she must learn to harness this magical power while avoiding capture from a determined government agent.
As for the paranormal element, the most intriguing scene involves Provost’s ability to take readers into the void between life and death. This willingness to examine a setting which many writers of supernatural literature tend to overlook is a testament to the author’s confidence; it also brings a sense of believability to the otherwise unbelievable.
The cat-and-mouse plotline are cohesive and genuine to the characters, but the crossover presentation is what separates this work from most others. One such scene occurs when Minerva is guiding Raven through the space between the living and the dead as they encounter Raven’s parents.
“That’s one reason you can’t take them out of here,” she answered. “Raven, you’re dying. You aren’t strong enough. Even if you were, you wouldn’t know how. That’s why I need your help. To save them. This place – I call it ‘Between’ – is like a no-man’s land between life and death. Like what the Catholics call purgatory or limbo.”
The story does close with a satisfying conclusion, but given the vast possibilities of changing history and altering the future, readers will assuredly want – if not expect – more. Memortality by Stephen H. Provost is one of those books that will incite more questions than it answers. And for fandom, that’s a good thing.