Symphony, Book 1

Fiction - Horror
277 Pages
Reviewed on 04/03/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Oz Monroe is an international entertainer, award winning author, and outspoken advocate for independent publishing. After dropping out of high school at age 16, Oz made his living as a juggler and fire eater, eventually deciding to pursue further education in theology, philosophy, and astrophysics. He is a member of the Interstellar Philosophy Group, and participated in Icarus Interstellar’s 2013 and 2015 Starship Congress. His knowledge of both the arts and sciences led him to be invited to join the 2016 Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop, a think tank devoted to discussing the challenges for mankind to achieve and survive interstellar travel. Oz is an active member of MENSA, and a passionate proponent of Humanism and critical thinking. His blog has been known to cover topics both bawdy and brainy, but his favorite thing to do is write science fiction and fantasy.

Oz was born and raised in central California. He resides on a ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills with his wife and four children.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers' Favorite

Wow! Just, wow! That’s exactly what I thought when I finished reading Soil-Man: Symphony Book One by debut author Oz Monroe. This book is an epic beginning to what should be, by all accounts, an absolutely fantastic new series. Follow the story of Jon Aesop as he struggles to make sense of his world after what appears to be an angel tortures and kills his family. Formerly a man without religious belief, Jon must now suspend his previous disbelief in order to find his wife’s soul. Fighting through bands of murderous angels to meet his goal, Jon seeks answers to the afterlife that he suspended long ago. And when he meets up with Var, an angel abomination, one who has existed for centuries - obsessed with revenge, hunting from the shadows - what they discover together in hell will change everything, forever.

I loved Soil-Man: Symphony Book One. Loved. It. How’s that for a review? Well, it’s truly how I felt about author Oz Monroe’s fantastic new book. Unique, creative, edge of your seat adventure are just a few ways that I could describe this book, but in many ways, Soil-Man is indescribable. It’s very rare for me to find a book that I find to be a real original. I’m a voracious reader, and it seems that many books follow similar templates, similar story lines. But Oz Monroe has managed to move away from that and he provides his readers with a plot line that they will not have read before. His scene setting skills are simply second to none, his characterizations are vivid, and his overall storytelling skills are superb. Any reader who likes a good book of supernatural fiction, or just a great work of fiction in general, should absolutely read Soil-Man as soon as they possibly can. I, for one, cannot wait to read more from the incredibly promising new author, Oz Monroe, as soon as possible, and hope that he is deep into the second book of this series. If it’s anything like Soil-Man, it will be a book that is not to be missed!

Jack Magnus

Soil-Man: Symphony, Book One is a dark fantasy novel written by Oz Monroe. Jon worked hard on his ranch, and his wife and three sons were everything to him. What happened that day exceeded any catastrophic imaginings he could conjure up; nothing could compare with feeling paralyzed as he watched his beloved wife, Mary, kill their sons. His boys also seemed unable to move while she tortured and then killed them. First, Mark, their middle child, then Matthew who was just becoming a young man, but when she tortured and killed their youngest, Luke, he lost all control and stopped listening to the Voice that had demanded he sit still and bear witness. When all was quiet again, he was left alone with the bodies of his wife and children, and there seemed to be no reason left for him to go on living.

Oz Monroe's dark supernatural fantasy, Soil-Man: Symphony, Book One, is a work of sheer brilliance. There's traces of John Milton's Paradise Lost, McCammon's Gone South, and Gaiman's American Gods shining faintly here and there, but this book is wholly original and an astonishingly good read. I was captivated by the journeys of Jon, whose quest is for redemption and forgiveness, and above all for a reunion with his family; and Var, the hybrid man-angel whose mandate is to kill all Falling Angels before they infect the world with their insanity. Along the way, the reader meets a host of angelic beings who are quite unlike what most of us have been led to believe; some of whom are quite unforgettable, especially the Aboriginal Jon knows as Dude, who chatters continually about movies and is along for Jon's bus trip to Salt Lake City.

Soil-Man is a novel to get excited about, especially when one considers that it is Book One in a series and there are more delights in store for those fortunate souls who happen to pick this book up and begin reading. I'm so impressed with this work and am quite thrilled to have a new author to add to my list of all time favorites. Soil-Man: Symphony, Book One is most highly recommended.

J. Aislynn d'Merricksson

‘His dream of going to high school next year with his big brother had been excised with the blade of a knife.’ Oz Monroe’s Soil-Man is a story quite unlike any other; a dark song to draw you under, revealing a hidden world few can imagine. The story opens with Jon, held captive by an unseen force, unable to stop the same force from ripping from him all he holds most precious. The aftermath awakens in Jon a ferocious power that rips the blinders from his human perceptions of reality. His tormentor proves to be a fallen angel whose insanity causes it to prey upon unsuspecting humans. Jon alone survives the assault, and embarks on a journey to reunite with his family, however possible.

As an avid supernatural fan, Soil-Man almost immediately brought to mind what might have been going on behind the scenes when those angels fell. Completely different world and circumstances, yet some things could very well have played out in this guise. This story keeps you guessing right until the very end. Every time I thought I had figured things out, I learned otherwise. For one thing, most of these angels seemed to be right pretentious asses. Not all, mind, but most.

My two favourite characters were Var and Tagas. Var is, well, he’s not what you might expect. He’s a fierce warrior, reviled by most, and to meet him face to face would be terrifying. There’s more beneath the surface than most would ever guess, though. Tagas is a very special sort of angel, and falls under some very bad circumstances early on. Amaros was an amusing character, with some truly beautiful wisdom. One of those is to find humour in life. That's a near priceless lesson.

Monroe’s Soil-Man is a study in what can cause insanity, and what can heal it. It’s also a study in seeking one’s own answers, rather than blindly trusting what the world would have you believe. For fans of the paranormal, preternatural, and otherworldly genres, I highly recommend checking this book out.

K.C. Finn

Soil-Man is an intellectual horror novel by author Oz Monroe and the first book in the Symphony series. When a fallen angel lands in the life of Jon Aesop, things turned out far more violent and grotesque than he could possibly expect. When his family is brutally tortured and then killed, Jon vows to seek out his wife’s soul. The abomination Var is also on a journey, one which is fuelled by a ravenous desire for vengeance. The stories of these two powerful characters play out in a world where different kinds of angels wage war behind the scenes of humanity, and the search for the truth about the afterlife drives readers to the very end of the tale.

Monroe’s work is conceptually astounding, taking the tried and tested angel lore and mythology and giving it a gruesome new twist. Readers will need to be prepared for excessive violence throughout the tale, but this dark fantasy horror story will certainly be worth the gore-fest. I found Jon’s character to be particularly compelling, both practical and emotional, and intrinsically human. It’s necessary to have a protagonist that you can believe in amid the supernatural wonders of this tale, and Jon’s story really grounds the whole narrative and brings realism to it. There’s plenty of humour, action, and adventure too, along with a finale that will really leave you thinking about life, death, and everything in between. I’d highly recommend Soil-Man for adult fantasy fans looking for a dark and compelling new read.

Lit Amri

“Everyone I loved, everything I held dear, my very reasons for living, were now dead. My body shuddered as the full weight of desolation crashed down. Legs already weak from exertion and stress gave way. My knees hit the floor in thickening puddles of blood. I had failed. I could not protect them. I knelt, sobbing. This is all my fault.”

Soil-Man (Symphony, Book 1) by Oz Monroe has a premise that is exceptionally original. The story starts off as Jon Aesop, a man without religious belief, helplessly watches his family being tortured and killed through manipulation by what appears to be an angel. To find his wife’s soul, he must first survive murderous angelic forces while seeking answers to the afterlife. Monroe used the theme of angels in a way that I’ve never read before. Classification seems to be inconsequential when it comes to Soil-Man. It’s up to readers whether to consider it a dark fantasy, mystery, thriller, supernatural, theology or something else.

The characters are complex and rich with frank details. The engaging narrative creates greater familiarity and immersion in the story. There’s a vivid realness in the writing and every scene is not difficult to imagine at all. When the story switched to Jon’s first person point of view, it was as though I was listening to someone sharing his life story rather than reading a novel. There’s also a rare combination of horror and wittiness, which is one of the aspects that shows Monroe’s strength as a writer. Soil-Man is an ambitious, enlightening, and fascinating novel – it is highly recommended.