Psychonaut: A Fairy Tale of Inner Wastelands
This style accomplishes something I would have said was impossible...It creates a philosophical action story. To reach Star, being tortured in Lilith's realm as she nurses their reptilian child, Satori not only has to cross great expanses, he must overcome tests designed to elevate his own soul. He has to seek the eradication of his own lustful imperfections and cruel nature in order to ascend.
These acts, everything from fights with a cockatrice to caring for the burnt soul of a friend who tried to kill herself in a fire and now lies in a coma in the real world, pull hard at the heartstrings as we watch an incredibly flawed man fight the only fight that really matters. He fights the spiritual infections that led him to unleash a demon on an ex-girlfriend in the first place.
"I'd say Satori is flawed, selfish and weak, but he wants to be better," said Voiez via e-mail. "I think anyone who wants to be better is essentially a good person if such a distinction must be made. He is willing to give his life for the woman he loves."
Yet, even as he makes headway into his endeavor, he is continuously ripped back unexpectedly into reality by his own failing body or through the interference of the authorities. The pacing of the book is maddeningly addictive; the closer Satori gets, your heart races for his redemption just as much as you would seeing an action hero in a car chase.
Above all things, Psychonaut is a story about forgiveness, but with Voiez's true-crime approach to sex and blood never letting you forget the evil in the world that made forgiveness necessary in the first place. It's a book of mad impulses, inner vision, sadism, escape and belief. You feel uncomfortable reading it, like Alex strapped to the chair in Clockwork Orange being taught to feel sick at atrocity. Rather than leave us crippled by response, though, Psychonaut bears you through the hurt towards the only paradise we can be assured of...a love past fault.
"Fairy tales tell us about the human psyche and that's what Psychonaut is trying to do," said Voiez. "They're fables full of warnings for humankind. It wasn't written with the purpose of being a fairy tale, but perhaps it became one."