If I were a believer in mankind's rendition of hell (and especially of one so artfully sketched by Mr. Barlowe), I'd spend the rest of my days on earth in fear and on a constant campaign to become a saint. Fortunately, the truth of spirituality and the cosmos in general is likely beyond my comprehension, while all the imaginings and myths of heaven and hell were formed to accommodate human understanding, and fears. This line of musing, some might call it a rationalization, served as a protective shield against a total freak out while reading God's Demon.
First off, the story is marvelous, for who and where could a character yearn most for heaven if not a former angel in the depths of hell? Nowhere else could a greater struggle for forgiveness and salvation be rendered than that of an angel in hell who knows very well what he has lost and understands his punishment to be justly deserved. Barlowe ensconces the reader in horror and gore, and I squirmed because he pulled no punches, yet never did the scenes nor situations seem over the top, because, well, this was hell after all.
For such a large work, the writing is very good with only a few falters. For most of my personal ratings, a 5 is a book I'd highly recommend to anyone and everyone. While the subject matter in God's Demon cuts to a deep part of the reader's humanity, I'm not certain everyone would find it comfortable, nor helpful. In fact, the story and characters are deliberately disturbing. If stories are a vehicle for readers to wash in situations outside their immediate grasp, then this story is a dunking with lots of salt, yet it has the ability, like Paradise Lost, to explore a great truth about the extremes of good and evil, as well as the tai chi symbol demonstrates that the greatest good touches the tail of evil - and vice versa. For those interested in such subjects, I highly recommend God's Demon (but I still dislike the title).