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Fri, 21 Jan 2022 22:57:07 -0600
2017-08-02 Print

“What if God is evil?”

Author uses cute characters to explore some terrifying ideas about religion and other thorny issues.


“I wanted to write a story in which God is a bad guy,” says Los Angeles resident and new author, Al Romero. “I find every depiction of God in any book I’ve read or movie I’ve seen to be woefully inadequate. God’s motivations are never really explored in a meaningful way, even though he’s often shown doing really awful things.” That is why he wrote “The Tail of the Order of the Blue Maiden,” the first installment in a series of medieval fantasy novels.

Romero studied animation at Pratt Institute. After a brief stint as a high school art teacher, Romero left education to pursue his first love, storytelling, and has worked in Hollywood as an assistant editor ever since. Romero diligently worked on his book the whole time, having initially been inspired by his experiences while attending Catholic high school.

The book’s cover, which Al illustrated himself, is adorned with a number of adorable, anthropomorphized animal cartoon characters, with one exception: An orange-skinned, muscle-bound behemoth with gnashing teeth and a slithering serpent’s tongue that lords over the scene. “That’s Griol. The characters worship him just as we worship our God. In the book, you see Griol enter the life of Ayan, this lowly servant who has aspirations of becoming a knight and improving his lot in life. Griol commands him to go and retrieve a weapon of great power and tells him that he’ll be rewarded with the the affections of the girl that he’s in love with. Through the course of the story, Ayan has to choose whether or not to obey him, and that has a number of far- reaching implications.”

The story tackles a number of thorny issues besides faith, including systemic racism, classism, sexism, xenophobia, all under the guise of being an action-packed adventure. As a former Catholic, Romero made struggle with one’s faith a central theme.

“Griol personifies my feelings about God and religion. Not all religion, but the part of it that causes people to hate each other and cast out others just because they’re different. If you look at Griol, he’s this terrifying monster with ten arms and razor-sharp teeth, and when he talks, he screams. And yet the people of that world call him the prince of peace and pray to him for guidance. There is a huge disconnect between what he is and how they regard him.”

The Tail of the Order of the Blue Maiden is available for free on iTunes and for 99¢ on Amazon. These promotional prices are good through the end of August. ISBN: 978-0-9992064-0-9

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