Rating: 3 stars out of 5
What are mortals to do when everything they thought they knew about Heaven and Hell are reversed? God is planning their annihilation and Satan is their only hope.
Once God and Satan were lovers and the Earth was created as a gift for Satan. But when Satan left God, his fury was apocalyptic. God intends to destroy the Earth and all humans. It is left to Satan’s fallen angels to thwart God’s plans and save all humanity.
The demon Kinzer and his fallen angel lover, Janka, are agents of Satan, sent to spy on The Raze, a group of angels who are working with God to bring about Armageddon. When someone exposes their true allegiances, the Raze rips off Kinzer’s wings while torturing and killing his lover, Janka. Now wingless and powerless, Kinzer escapes. His mission? To track down all Satan’s allies to warn them about a traitor in their circle. The hunt is on for the Antichrist—a powerful weapon that could prevent the apocalypse and both sides are getting nearer. It’s up to Kinzer to protect the unborn child and his mother. And if he can avenge his lover’s death while doing so, then even better. But first he has to stay alive….
Clipped is a story sure to instill strong emotions and reactions in all who read it. It is a book that readers will either love or hate. Or even hate to love. Its plot contains religious content that some readers might find offensive. And its rough, and brutal sex scenes are sure to turn off those looking for romance and/or sexual relationships that are consensual and with not a lot of bloodshed. To those readers, I say this is probably not the book for you. But some of you are going to love it and with good reason.
What drew me to this story? That amazing cover for one. Its dramatic and powerful.That kneeling winged man just cries out for his story to be told. And, truth be told, the story found within does contain both of those elements.McCormack’s plot is also unusual enough that its reversed theology is both interesting and fascinating in concept and details. McCormack’s idea of flip flopping the roles of Heaven and Hell is intriqing. By upending the idea of good and evil and the roles that Satan and God play, not only with each other as lovers but as the guardians of Earth, McCormack has designed a world where he can throw out all previously conceived notions of angels and demons and create his own pantheon of celestial creatures and infernal agents at play.
Within McCormack’s wonderfully twisted world, God rules over a unequal hierarchy of preternaturally exquisite beings called higherlings. We know them as angels. Not all angels are created equal in God’s eyes. Some are created just to be ethereally beautiful, so much so that they are privileged, Janka was one such being.
In McCormack’s words “… Janka was privileged, granted all that he desired from the Almighty. He’d been one of Heaven’s most desirable creatures. He was doted on, loved, adored. It left him, like so many of the Almighty’s elite, filled with a natural conceit. When Janka gave orders, Kinzer resisted. He fussed and barked. He wasn’t going to listen to a higherling, especially not one that had been afforded such luxuries…”.
These were luxuries that other less well crafted heavenly beings would never attain. I loved this. An entire line of what is basically heavenly himbos who were created by God to be sublimely gorgeous. And that ‘s it. Big on beauty, and also big in their sexual appendages (think elephantine in length). Not, however, big on the brains department. That was saved for those lesser beings, also pretty and well endowed (inhumanly huge in every way although not prodigiously so), just not gloriously unimaginably over the top like the higher ups. That latter one is Kinzer. Who abandons his current lover to be with this exquisite creature so high above Kinzer’s station as to be unobtainable. But obtain Kinzer does to his eternal regret. I’m not sure McCormack ever made a good argument for this change up in lovers. You just have to take it on faith that Janka’s beauty was too much to resist. Yes,beautiful, irresistible twits are everywhere, even in Heaven.
And with such inequality comes revolution, an ex lover who rules in Hell and the fallen. And now its God versus Satan and a rush is on to save the world from a spurned lover. Yes, not from Satan, but from a revengeful and petty Almighty bent on smiting to oblivion his gift to Satan, now his ex. So now we have two teams and the object of their mission is to find the mother of the Antichrist, who along with her unborn child, will determine the fate of Earth and all humanity. The teams consist of spies for both the Leader (Satan) and God. On God’s side is the Raze, a group of sadist higherlings that report directly to the Almighty. The mother of the Antichrist? A drug addled whore who, realistically enough, thinks she is going crazy. During one such battle to find the mother, the two groups came together. Kinzer, a fallen, knew that someone within his team had betrayed them to the Raze. He was brutally dewinged and his lover killed before his eyes. All great stuff when creating a compelling story.
Its what happens within that narrative framework that didn’t exactly work for me. The major sticking point here would be the type and quantityt of brutal, painful sex that overtakes the actual storytelling. One particular human is involved….a young boy called Kid who was kidnapped off the streets and is forced to work in a depraved brothel where anything, and I do mean anything goes. It is here where a captured Kinzer finds himself deposited by his nemesis. The action found within this brothel includes rape with not only multiple partners but cutlery as well. Its crude, bloody, and its descriptions are as graphic and raw as the events taking place. I predict that some readers are going to stop reading here.
McCormack can definitely write a scene because he will be able to pull emotions from his readers with characters that you will care about in a situation that is as intense as it is dramatic. It is how you feel about rape, non consensual sex and torture that help form your feelings toward Clipped. If those things fall outside your reading comfort zone, then you most likely will want to skip this story because things only increase in intensity not lessen.
Why? Because the Kid, who has huge emotional (and why wouldn’t he) issues as well as an abusive past history, continues on the run with Kinzer and not in a romantic way. But there will be sex between the mortal Kid (who has a mortal’s body) and an immortal with the aforesaid ginormous sexual member. So more forcing, more bloodshed and yes, quite a bit of angst and horror. This is not a romance by any means. Even the fallen on fallen sexual encounters include brutality and blood. Definitely not for the fainthearted. I can see that such painful sex might be indicative of the Fallens status. Not worthy of love and kindness, only brutality and pain. I kind of get that. And it does work in small doses. But I am talking almost continual sex scenes of all combinations, and somewhere the plot gets lost for a while as the demons get their daily dosage of pain and sex in.
I also found it amazing or amusing or both that the devilish and heavenly creatures are as poor with their communication skills as the humans they deride. Because had several of the main characters actually talked to one another, this would be a much shorter novel. That didn’t bother me, I just found it funny. What did make me flinch? Well, all the sexual degradation and humiliation not withstanding, it is the ending that peeved me the most. It just ends on an astonishing event. Boom, over and done. I was flabbergasted because the fight scene was wonderful and I wanted to see how McCormack was going to resolve it, twists and all included. But he didn’t . It ended on a cliffhanger. It wasn’t until I went searching through various interviews that I found out that the author intends to turn this into series that I was mollified somewhat. Only somewhat. Just my opinion but if you are going to end your story in that manner, let the reader know that this is a series or that a sequel will be coming. Don’t let them think that a standalone story is missing an ending.
Anyhow. Yes, there’s more to come. And for some of you that will be a wonderful thing. There are enough elements here that I can understand that. Others of you have already left the room by now having found out that this is not the story for you. I get that too. Like I said you will either love this or hate it. I will leave it up to you.
But this amazing cover? That will be on ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Best Covers of 2014. That is genuinely a heavenly (or devilishly) gorgeous cover.
Cover art by Wilde City art director.
Kindle Edition, English
Published April 9th 2014 by Wilde City Press (first published January 1st 2014)
Publishers Warning: This title is erotic and contains homosexual content, graphic sex, violence, and strong language. Readers uncomfortable with rough sexual situations should not purchase this book.