As I write this, dear readers, I am on the cusp of expiration due to hysterical laughter. I am setting the mood for the rest of this post, because we are going on a RIDE. This ride is everything right now. It’s everything and so much more.
To begin this show, we must take a moment to discuss my book, Plaidypus.
You know, the one where I promised Lucifer would be heavily involved along with his mish-mash of a family…? Yes, that one.
Look at that pretty heroine. Her precious little bowtie. Her lovely plaid shirt.
Here we go.
Warning: you are about to be exposed to some word vomit. Not all of the word vomit is mine.
I was minding my own business and testing a REALLY cool author tool. It’s called BookEdge. Authors, I highly recommend this tool. It’s is legit AMAZING.
The following review is the blathering of some religious fanatic who probably shouldn’t be reading fantasy if they cannot handle someone asking “What if Magic was real, ALL religions were real, and the Divines Had Come Down to Earth to Play?”
That is precisely what this series is. It’s a giant what if question about the nature of society if ALL religions were real and the Divines came to Earth to play.
ALL religions are hit in my series. ALL of them.
On second and third read through of this, I’m not actually sure if this person is aware YHWH is their god’s name. (The whole Hugh thing plays into the WHAT IF part of this being SPECULATIVE fiction, y’all. If ya ain’t caught onto that this deep in the series, ya ain’t been payin’ attention.)
But the key takeaway is that this gem of a being is totally okay with the blatant playgrounds involving OTHER religions… just not their own.
And it was that sole line, where ONLY their religion should be preserved… that has resulted in this author behaving badly moment.
Frankly spoken, perhaps this reader should use their brain to think about how the Lucifer of this world is, and how much adoration YHWH had for humanity, that He would sacrifice his first beloved son to give them the gift of true free will.
It ain’t mockin’ your religion there… but I sure am mocking the religious fanatics who cannot, for a moment, stop to think about how this is a piece of fiction addressing the question of “What if these religions were real in a world full of magic and technology?”
And frankly spoken… my version of YHWH is a far more loving, charitable, and benevolent version than the one who would cast down any and all who disagree with him for all eternity.
In my version, the casting down is only until the soul paid the price of its sins.
Some food for thought.
You can believe precisely what you want to believe. But at least try to stop and think before becoming offended… and if you allowed a piece of fiction to offend you… perhaps you need a second think.
Now that I am no longer hysterically laughing over the ignorance of this gem, I’m going to go back to work committing all forms of delicious blasphemy, knowing one thing: my books are fiction and not reality.
You know, ALTERNATIVE facts?
It’s great. It means that religious figures like YHWH can be family men once named Hugh, who got saddled with the portfolio because the previous YHWH sacrificed his very fucking existence for another.
Read that carefully: YHWH is a family man who was once named Hugh, who got saddled with the portfolio because the previous YHWH sacrificed his very fucking existence for another.
If that doesn’t ring true to the whole fucking point of the religion, I don’t know what does.
But it does require you put on your thinking cap and use it for a while.
Don’t be like this reviewer, and learn to think beyond every last offense you feel.
Here is a link to the original review.
And to answer the last line… I absolutely could have, but why should I have? To not offend you?
I think not.
Have a nice day, reviewer… and thanks for the laughs.
I started reading a book with urban magic–shifters and vampires and zombies–thqt somehow managed to be light, funny, and engaging, despite the fact that the main character was worried about the neighbors targeting her brother. The man in the plaid shirt was likeable, as was the moose. Everything was being charming until the Devil and “God” showed up. While assigned names from Christianity, the portrayal is not consistent with any known religious understanding.
I am able to suspend disbelief to a large degree when reading fantasy but this laughable portrayal was too much for me. If you want to create your own characters or deities, fine. If you want to use ones that already exist, that’s fine too. But do not use existing ones, completely ignote/overturn their established personalities/histories and expect your readers to be okay with that–particularly without any warning.
This was particularly disturbing to me because “God” was specifically identified as “Yahweh” and the Devil as “Lucifer.”
If you want to create laughable family dynamics within a divine family, there are myriad pantheons available–or you could make your own. The “God” known as “Yahweh” is known to have been in human form as the (God) man Jesus, not as someone named Hugh who was reincarnated as a divine being.
Author, you have blown it big time. No matter how charming the rest of the story, I cannot get past this. If you cannot handle a given diety with accuracy/consistency (with existing lore/writing/common knowledge/mythology), make your own. Do not tangle your imagined musings with existing beings, suggesting that the Devil is God’s favorite son, that they get along well, that the Devil is a good guy, and that reincarnation is a default part of how they handle things. Anyone familiar with Christianity will find that this strains their ability to suspend disbelief, unless they find it hilarious– or deeply offensive.
This could have easily been a 3, 4, or 5 star book, had you not thrown in all of this–which is completely unnecessary. You could absolutely have gotten the girl and her moose to Australia some other way.
I agree with R.J. Fiction dumbest. Go read Christian literature instead.
The Sneaky Kitty Critic
So, fun story! I grew up in a REALLY religious household, and the church actually had a library with fiction in it.
Some of the Christian literature? Actually REALLY good, and some of it? Not very preachy!
The modern stuff, alas, got way too preachy, but some of that older stuff? Just really good reads. So if they delve into the waters of older Christian literature… might be rewarding them.
Couldn’t have said it better
Just omg some people… I have all the books in this series and actually use the story line with friends of mine who are a little (or a lot) more religious than I am. But I love the way you have written this series, I feel like if this were the way things were actually taught so many people wouldn’t be turning away from mainstream religion. I appreciate everyone’s religious beliefs and to each their own but people like that are what has made me choose my own path.
Funniest thing I have read in ages.
Side note, and honestly being a bit slow on the up take despite multiple readings of all your books, I really like the use of the portfolio as to what encompasses each diety’s being.
Believing in reincarnation, this opening up the idea for otherwise eternal gods and the inherent change involved makes their supposed omniscience much more palatable. And if I’m factually wrong about anything, forgive me, I was raised and still am almost a-religious, so my religious knowledge is sketchy at best. Also, being a program manager for a manufacturering company whose entire job set is discussed as a portfolio, just tickles me. Obviously not an exclusive word in any of these uses, but appreciated.
As a practising Orthodox Jew, I found the gentle mockery of orgenized religine very amusing. Brings out alot of the idiodic and hypercritical behavior of any large religious establishment, whom the prophets spoke of at leagth.
I too found the use of His holiest of names a bit, “itchy”, as we haven’t used it since the distruction of the temple 1950 years ago. However I uderstand you mean a fantasy god and that is ok with me. I realy liked your respect for Him as a figure and your attemt to idetify with Him and His burden in such an alternate reality.
The Sneaky Kitty Critic
Yes, I’m aware it fell out of usage and had been erased.
Where do you think I got the “see his face and get erased from existence” came from, because part of that erasure came in the form of convincing people that if they spoke his name / used YHWH, they would face destruction.
You can get itchy about it all you want…
… the way I see it, He probably gets itchy about people erasing His name because of a temple burning, acts done by people.
Some food for thought on that one.
The Sneaky Kitty Critic
And as a slight continuance… while YHWH is referenced, the actual religion I used for the model predates Orthodox Jewish; when I was doing the historical research for the Mag Rom Com series, I used the predecessor religion before the general split in the Judaic religions. (Depending on how knowledgable you are about Islam in particular, you can identify references to some of the original/predecessor archangels/angels/devils/demons.)
I ultimately went with the YHWH usage because it’s something that Protestants, Catholics, and other branches of generalized Christianity MIGHT have heard of… it’s not really common, though. Islam was almost used because of their vast, vast variances in the usage of not-names to refer to God. (FAR more creative and interesting, frankly spoken, on a linguistic level.)
But as YHWH *is* verifiable as historically accurate, in the predecessor religions, it holds far more validity than modern religions.
Erasure is not my gig, especially not in research.
But, history is always written by the victor… and I wonder, always, why the religion’s enemies, in this case, the higher human powers of the church, wanted the name of god erased.
And that’s an interesting subject there. To be a fly on the wall, wondering which form of generalized manipulation humans wanted to accomplish, to fundamentally alter their religion through removing the VERY NAME of their god from the record and using the destruction of a temple as the excuse.
Like, to have been a fly on that wall during humanity’s decision process on removing YHWH from the records.
(Because why give his name in the first place if he hadn’t wanted it spoken?)
I believe He had been angered and they were instructed to cease the utterances of His name because of their blasphemy (no one stone me, it was just what I was taught, not necessarily what everyone else knows or has evidence about) it was then considered too Holy to utter except in one place. But contention isn’t really my thing so I’m hoping people remember it is fiction and they are free to be themselves wherever they choose as long as they are not impeding others from doing the same thing with different perspectives. Love was some of the main themes of my reading of this book. It is not a new religion to follow people. Fiction.
The Sneaky Kitty Critic
Yeah, like… my only issue with that whole dialogue is that humans made the final decision. And they assumed to add to it.
So it ultimately boils down to humans making assumptions and erasing their own god’s name from their religious texts.
It honestly is a bit sad really… as the religion existed for so so very long before humans decided to rewrite it.
But ultimately, the Bible and its variants have been rewritten so many times. By people.
The differences in various bible versions over the past 100 years is truly staggering.
In my tradition it is taught that people misused that name for magical proposes (there are some studies that actually show this).
We still write it, in it’s original Hebrew spelling (pronunciation is a different matter, we have several depending on context), in every Torah scroll, prayer book and similar.
I specifically love the research you put into this kind of thing. I really like that you chose the name that reflects Him as he is, rather than an incarnation/revelation. Given that the character is trying to be himself rather than what is expected of him. It brings to mind the first meeting of God and Moses (Exodus 3:15) I loved that part.
I agree with you, His holly name should not be erased nor forgotten. We pray yearly (at least) that we be permitted to refer to Him by his name and not a lower order name.
Your intuition about people not using His name, when that is appropriate, is discussed by our scholars to this day. One example would be when teaching, we would say even that name.
Also I got all the references about the angles and the named demons, and found them quite fitting the characters you made. It is rare that an auther goes into such depth and that is why I love your work. Keep at it! Don’t let the “humans” keep you down!
I was under the impression that He had said so Himself. His hand writing on the wall of the temple giving instructions at one point. But I may be wrong, I haven’t studied that part for a while. I’m not really worried about what people have to say on the matter. Only what He had/has to say. I’m sorry that you have had such critical people have a go at you. He also said something about Judging others and that He was the only one fit to do so. So… that being said they can go do whatever. You do you. 😁
The Sneaky Kitty Critic
There are plenty of secular investigations on the temple’s destruction that generally debunks the mysticism, motivations for the changes in the religion, and so on… and it basically boiled down to heightened control of the religious population at the time, among other things.
Religion alterations like that have been repeated throughout history, and it usually boils down to people of power within the religion having a reason to want to make certain alterations. Motivations usually include encouraging breeding new worshippers and better controlling the active religious population.
And in the case of a temple’s destruction, they had to provide a reason WHY YHWH would have done that, and how better than to frame it like people did something bad, stop doing that, I’m mad at you?
Typically, the temple gets destroyed because somebody pissed somebody else off. Arsons, revolts, riots, etc.
And then you have the one where a candle lit something else on fire and the entire temple burned.
Sometimes, the reason is “a candle was left unattended.”
Sometimes, the reason is “The Roman Empire got pissed off and razed the whole thing to the ground.”
So many temples, so many burnings… so many reasons.
In reality, the divine being worshipped is not actually the reason, but the divine takes the blame for it, else people may lose their faith. And that’s bad for membership numbers.
The review makes me want to buy your book and read it. I expect their head would explode if they watched.‘The Life of Brian’ or other religious satire.
Your Magical Comedy books are fabulous gems of love, laughter, mystery, fantasy. I love that you take everything and spin it with those amazing what-if’s and create delightful romps, smashing tropes right and left.
I love the strong, unique women, the men who fall for them, the word building, the magic system, the religious inclusivity (reference the above mentioned smashing tropes,) the fantasy elements…
I’ve been reading books at least 1 a day) for 60+ years and these are standouts among the thousands.
Thank you for all your books, not only the Magical Comedy ones.
Honestly… this person probably shouldn’t be reading fantasy. Most fantasy has an element of magic or something like that in it. Along with fantastical creatures, higher beings etc. If you can’t see past your views to use your imagination and to understand this is fiction… i.e. made up… you need to read another genre. Maybe a raunchy space romance will work.
Plaidypus still ranks as one of my all time favorites in this series. I love all of your writing truthfully. I have everything you’ve written. They get re-read often in between new reads of other books. Keep up the fantastic work. And Thank You for allowing us to see into and share your imagination. It’s wonderful. 🦋
Geez, if they’re this bothered by your works, they better not read Lamb by Christopher Moore. The Christ story as told by his best friend Biff.
Wow. Some people truly need to get over themselves. I literally just finished a re-listen to the entire series and got goose-bumpy at how RJ Blain portrayed those characters with how thought-provoking they truly are. If mankind was create in God’s image, and we have personalities, stands to reason Hod does too. Also, since we know God is love, imagine how it must have hurt him to cast one of his beloved angels from the heavens. I was curious about RJ’s background and am not surprised to see that she had a very religious upbringing. I think she truly put thought and attention in those characters and did it masterfully.
The Sneaky Kitty Critic
It is worth noting I am now agnostic! Heh.
What an intolerant child. He/she should read Heinlein’s Job- The comedy of St Alexander Hergenscheimer or Stranger in a strange land. Not as good as the mag rom comedy, but still fun.
I am so sorry you have to deal with sooo many intolerant idiots. The Mag Rom Com series is one of my favorites and I will miss it when it finishes. One of the highlights for me is the byplay with angels, devils, and gods.
I am “lightly” religious – I do believe in a higher power, but I absolutely refuse to believe that humans should shape the perceptions of that power.
Bravo for giving us a benevolent father/mother figure to aspire to.
I really wish I could respond to the review by saying that if she want “accurate” and “true to character/personality” then she should go read some religiously accurate nonfiction books. And I can say for a fact she is wrong and should not assume that her opinions apply to all those who know/practice the Christian religion, as I do and do not find this FICTITIOUS work to be offensive or a slight to the religion 😂😂😂 I just can’t with this review
This reader is an IDIOT!!! GO back to your Bible and ANYTHING that states she is wrong? Go ahead, I dare ya! Nope, y’all can’t!!! I’m with RJ, don’t read fantasy &/ or fiction cuss, y’all just can’t grasp this cobra! I LOVE this series & this book for precisely this reason! I wish our world WAS LIKE THIS, CAUSE WHAT WE HAVE PRESENTLY, SUCKS!!! THANK YOU RJ FOR CONTINUING TO GIVE ME HOPE THAT WE ARE NOT COMPLETION F@CKED!!!
B. J. Graves
I sometimes wonder if people understand the meaning of fiction and free will. Given what I’ve seen in some reviews I can only assume the answer is no. When you pick up a work of fiction be prepared to leave any resemblance to reality at the door, especially when that work involve magic, the paranormal, etc. If you don’t like, then this is where you exercise your free will to stop reading. Simple. I have never felt the need to tell an author of fiction how to write their story. I have expressed confusion on occasion when I couldn’t figure out what was going on between the characters. I found all of your books have made me laugh (at time to the point of tears). And often make me think about the prejudices that run rampant in the real world. I love your work and I’m glad you are able to get a laugh from those who can’t seem to understand the meaning of fiction. Keep doing what you are doing. It works well.
Maybe I’m weird. I’m thinking that if I had read this review (instead pre-ordering the book because of who wrote it), I would have bought the book anyway. Being a stauch Christian doesn’t mean that I have to excise my sense of humour and I would have been wondering exactly how this author blasphemed or not, as the case may be.
Absolutely. That’s probably exactly what I would have thought if I had stumbled on an unknown author and it had a review like that. You don’t have to believe the exact same things as the author of any book to enjoy the writing or the story, nor do you have to enjoy everything about it.
You are absolutely right, I have purchased many books because of people writing reviews that seemed too slanted to me. 😁
The Sneaky Kitty Critic
I mean, no lie… if a “Christian” becomes offended by this, I don’t WANT them as a reader! This review is great, because the heathens among us and the tolerant religious folks are gonna get good laughs. This is a rare 1* review where I am the winner.