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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.

Book Review: The Seventeenth Pocket by Hargus Montgomery

“The time for a question is when you think of it. There are receptors in the brain that are only active when you think of the question. If you don’t ask it, you lose the opportunity to change your brain, literally.”

This was an extraordinary book – and I’m delighted that it’s the first of (at least) two… It starts as a book about brain science as much as about death, but rather quickly morphs into so much more. I really enjoy learning other people’s thoughts on what comes next/life after death. I was a philosophy major; dialectics and big life questions have always fascinated me. Add in my lapsed-Catholic upbringing, which lapsed largely because of my propensity to ask too many questions that standard dogma either doesn’t like or doesn’t have answers for, and you have the makings of an obsession with the quest for answers… So, from the get-go, I was pretty hooked on the idea of this one simply because the concept of an afterlife spins me into paroxysms of delight. And when it’s a gloriously imagined, beautifully conceived, and well-crafted concept that happens to track with my own ideas (or at least my own wishes and hopes), you have a pretty solid recipe for success.

But this book is so much more than even that.

“The tears were doing their work, attempting to wash the greatest lie carried from the matterlands, the lie that had brought more pain and destruction to matterlanders than any other, the lie of death.”

It’s also a well-thought out presentation of traditional dichotomies (light/dark, faith/reason, hope/despair, greed/generosity, science/religion), an artfully crafted cautionary tale about the dangers of technology and knowledge at all costs, and a fascinating study of human nature. And all of these are wrapped up in a character-driven two-track narrative populated by a set of personalities that offer something for everyone.

“It sounded like she was about to cry. He knew what crying did. The water in tears helped people. It washed lies out of thoughts.”

From dark nights of the soul to smile inducing glimpses into the beauty of the soul, the story takes the reader on an incredible journey into both the minds and hearts of its characters. Montgomery’s writing style is engaging and delicate, resonating with spot-on tones throughout. He has an unbelievable range – he manages to perfectly capture teenage girls, old men of privilege, pure-hearted souls, renegade scientists, and greedy bureaucrats, rendering each with just enough detail to make them utterly believable and so real they practically leap off the page. This book was a delight to read and I cannot wait to delve into the second installment!

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