In Ayuso’s (My Catholic Faith, 2016) debut novel, a soul reborn after the Last Judgment discovers a nearly perfect world where people can live united with God’s spirit.
Renato died at birth in the 21st century, during the time of the Havoc, but an angel named Jonael gives him a choice to return to Earth in the year 4755—a new Garden of Eden. On Earth, Renato is immediately taken in by a family who introduces him to the wonders of the 48th century: cleaning robots, an end to sickness, smart telecommunication devices, and more. Some of these wonders are scientific and seemingly not too different from what we have in 2017, but others are spiritual and connected to God’s spirit. As Renato learns more about Earth, he finds out that there are dissidents—people who refuse to accept God, and such refusal is said to be a “spiritual death” that’s worse than any physical demise. Renato is also interested in the Space Travel Institute, and when a chance comes to colonize the planet Verte, Renato and his adoptive family take it. But on this new world, some dissidents may be planning to strike against God himself. In many ways, this book offers an old-fashioned Utopian tale in which an outsider explores a wonderful new world. These types of stories tend to read like travelogues, without much narrative momentum, and Ayuso chooses to mostly follow that model until the end, when the conflict on Verte adds more energy to the plot. Also, like many Utopian stories, there’s a lot of emphasis on the setting, particularly in the early sections, and less on the characters and their adventures. This gives the novel an essayistic feeling, particularly when it focuses on religious elements. As a result, Ayuso’s book will likely be most interesting to readers who already share her beliefs.
A pleasant, Christian Utopian story with some exciting action at the end.