Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Book Review: Dark Star, Confessions of a Rock Idol

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Hey, folks!  Or folk, since the plural of folk is actually just that... no 's'.  

I mentioned a while ago that I started working at a library, and that my reading activity since then has increased greatly.  As such, I have lots of new books to review here, which is nice because it will help me fill some time before getting to those more intellectually challenging posts like Character Studies.  XD

Alright, all of you authors out there... have you ever had a really great idea for a story, started planning it, and then seen that someone else's published work is really similar?
That's happened to me a few times.  I'd never heard of Ender's Game when I started planning my sci-fi novel with an eerily similar ending.  And then there was that time I wrote a song and discovered that it was already on the soundtrack for The Man from Snowy River.  
I guess it's true what Solomon says:  there is nothing new under the sun.  0_0

I picked this book up from the library because aside from some really obvious differences, Dark Star shares a very similar theme with one of my books in progress currently called Ascend:  Basically, Heathen Rock Star encounters Innocent Christian Girl who feels the need to pray for his salvation... and Chaos Ensues.  
On one hand, I was really interested in how this story would turn out, and on the other hand, I wanted to make sure I could still finish writing Ascend without getting accused of plagiarizing.  
Fortunately, Dark Star turned out to be not only a fantastic read, but extremely different from my own story, so I'm still safe writing it.  :)
Thus, I give you my review of...


Confessions of a Rock Idol

by Creston Mapes

Everett Lester, wildly popular from a young age, is a god to his fans.  With every album raking in profit by the millions, young people across the globe flock to hear his band Deathstroke as they preach their own twisted religion of Godless freedom.
Everett is lost in a world of drugs, alcohol, and anything else his money can buy.   The one constant in his life, talented psychic Endora Crystal, tells him he has been sent by the gods to enlighten the world.  He devours every word, and bitterly mocks anything having to do with the God of of the Christians...

...except for Karen Bayliss, whose letters tell him that despite his twisted nature, God can still save him.  Her prayers both confuse and intrigue Everett as his life spirals out of control.

And now Endora is dead, and Everett is charged with first degree murder, and little proof that he is innocent.
He's not even certain he IS innocent.

Will Everett realize the spiritual battle that rages over his soul?  Or is the stairway to heaven closed to him forever?

This page-turner is written in two separate timelines which finally converge towards the end, in the style of a "how we got here" story.  In the present, a sober Everett Lester and his loyal defense attorney Brian Boone try valiantly to prove Everett's innocence in the outlandish Endora Crystal murder case.  In the past, Everett narrates how he became the internationally recognized rock icon that he is, and of his descent into paganism and drug abuse.  But through it all, he remembers his peculiar relationship with Karen, the Christian high schooler who began praying for him at the beginning of his career.  
The writing style was good.  Though it is largely exposition, much like a real-life memoir, it does a great job of drawing you in.  Everett is an honest narrator, (though you might argue he was at first an unreliable one because of his use of drugs), and he makes no attempt to justify himself for the awful things he did.  Yet despite his wickedness, he is sympathetic to the reader because of the depth of his feelings.  Underneath the cocky, larger-than-life persona he displays to the public, he is truly a broken soul desperately crying out for help.   The only problem is that either the people around him don't understand, or they offer the wrong advice, which only serves to drive him deeper into destruction.
Over the book, Everett's perspectives change.  I felt this was done as realistically as possible in a single book.  It was gradual, for the most part, but then, true to life, some things are impossible to experience without going through radical change.
The characters were well done too.  I've already talked about Everett- but despite his flamboyant nature, he didn't steal the show from the rest of the characters.  Karen, who is barely present throughout most of the book, still manages to touch every chapter with her dream.  Brian Boone and his rival, Dooley, shine during their trial scenes, and their natures are revealed through their interactions with others.
And the mysterious Endora Crystal made for an excellent and creepy presence.  The book deals with spiritual warfare a lot, and it soon becomes apparent that the Endora Everett knows is far more than her mortal shell reveals....

And now, to talk about the pros and cons.  :D


Like I've said a few times now, this story was fascinating.  I picked it up yesterday and returned it to the library today, having already finished it.  It was hard to put it down- especially near the end.  Good character development, good build-up, good plot.  Having done some research into the era in which the book takes place (late 80s to mid 90s), it was cool to see how the author neatly inserted this fictional band into the real life music world.
The message of God's redemption is prominent.  Some might complain that Karen can be a little too preachy at times- but as someone who has witnessed to an unsaved friend, I can tell you that's exactly how it is.  You're so desperate to get these people to see the Light and turn to God, it's easy to become passionate very quickly.  When you care about someone who's headed the wrong direction, it's troubling to see them continue to walk away, and you want to do everything you can to make sure they have the chance to hear the truth.  I found no theological problems in this book, maybe because they didn't really delve into a lot of deep apologetics.  Basically, if you believe in God, and you believe that Jesus is the Savior, this book will make sense to you.  And if you don't, then this book will witness to you.


Creston Mapes does not shy away from revealing the dark side of the rock 'n roll.  Extra-marital sex is mentioned as being a regular pass time for all the members of Deathstroke and their entourage.  Drug use is prominent throughout the book, as is alcohol.  Though nothing is gone into with great detail, all of these things are a part of Everett's life, and he makes no bones about it.  However, it is never condoned or glamorized:  in fact the negative affects of these vices are clearly shown in the characters lives.  However, young readers may be disturbed (and rightly so!) by these elements, so parents be aware.
*The following section contains minor spoilers*
A character is revealed to have had an abortion at one point during her teenage years, at the insistence of her father and mother, who later regret the act.
A Christian relative of Everett is divorced and later remarries, though it is unclear whether she was divorced before or after her conversion, which might affect the morality of the situation.  (my mom and I are still debating with ourselves on how this works...)
A few violent acts are described without intimate detail- such as a man threatening a younger man with a knife and puncturing his skin slightly, and several instances of a man waving a gun in people's faces.  A woman is shot, and there were a few instances of car chases and attempted hit-and-runs.
The spiritual warfare shown may be frightening and disturbing to some.  One of the characters regularly uses tarrot cards and communes with demonic forces, and her voice changes when she does so.  It is shown to be evil and twisted, and even considered so by the secular characters- but still, be aware.


Dark Star is an original, well-written story worth the read for anyone who would take the time.  Just make sure you have time, because once you start you probably won't want to stop.  Repentance and redemption are clearly shown, so despite much sadness and tragedy, the story leaves you feeling light and hopeful.
Young readers, be aware that I found this book in the Adult section of the library, and though nothing is explicit, there is dark content.  But that dark content just shows how life can be when a person tries to follow any other god but the True God, and how even the most wretched sinner is not beyond the all-powerful reach of Jesus Christ.

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-Emmarayn Redding


  1. Looks interesting. Although it's not a style of book I usually read, I do love a good redemption story.

    1. I would totally recommend it. I'm one who usually reads fantasy, but I enjoyed this very much. :D