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Reviewed by Melanie Moon for Readers' Favorite
What happens when a Chosen One awakens in a “heaven” consisting of realms created and controlled by emotion and besieged by God’s disgruntled son? Diary of a Dead Man by David Listzwan opens with this narrative and introduces us to Daron the DragonSlayer: a dreamer soul awakening in chaos disguised as paradise. Diary of a Dead Man is a unique glimpse into a world created and abandoned by God. Upon Daron’s awakening, he’s greeted by two spirits (Jim and Brent) who provide him with an identity and a mission. After receiving a crash course in the rules and abilities of the realms, Daron learns that the reason for his “rebirth” is to slay Lucifer. As difficult as that sounds, his journey to find Lucifer is compounded by manipulation, sacrifice, and subsisting within multiple realms that can fade his soul while corrupting his mind.
Nothing is as it truly appears as he travels the realms and meets the spirits controlling them. After slaying a dragon and receiving a mystical sword and shield, Daron trains in a protected realm overseen by Peter, the guardian of the gate to the Realm of Life. Albeit the year he spent training with Jim and Peter allowed some significant changes to occur in the connected realms, Lucifer’s army is growing. Daron must find a way to unite the guardian spirits to prevent Lucifer from destroying all life. Once Daron visits the spirit realms - fear, contempt, lust, guilt, curiosity, etc. - the imminent war begins.
Diary of a Dead Man is a different perspective of God, heaven, the angels, and creation itself. David Listzwan constantly challenges what/who is considered “good” and “bad” by reconstructing the beginning of time and God’s role in it. He also uses Daron as a savior of sorts. I was reminded of aspects of the movies Dogma and The Matrix III in numerous instances. It was a unique read with many imaginative concepts.