Another reason why I have always delayed to read this book was that I was not expecting for it to have hope, I was ready to being plunged deep into a dark drama and not having even the small hope of an escaping light somewhere. It's not like that, Kelland is that light. Kelland is the guiding light of all the characters in the book, all of them tainted by the dark, but who found a way to escape that darkness. All of them other than two, who fell victims, but their sacrifice helped the others, and one of them will put an end to the evil circle.
The novel is both simple and difficult to read. At first the reader is perplexed, there are a lot of jumps in time, and the characters seem all different and disconnected. The only common element, Kelland, is not the same for all of them, and so, even it gives the idea of being lost in a labyrinth. But the writing style is linear and not oppressive. Once you get the thread of the story, it's easier to follow it, and every piece falls in the right place. There is an evil character and Kelland is out there to help all the other characters to find their right way out of the labyrinth.
Minh and Toan are two brothers from Vietnam who built a new life in America. Minh married Theresa, and he seems happy and balanced, a typical average America man; instead Toan, gay, is living in Los Angeles and always seems to pick up the wrong man to love. Kelland appears in Toan's life and Toan at first believes to have finally found the right man, someone who will not leave him, like his brother Minh did and later also Calvin, the first boyfriend Toan had and his childhood friend. If Kelland appears to Toan, it means that it was Toan who was tainted by the darkness, but this is the first mystery the reader will have to follow down.
George is a 9 years boy, who is starting to realize that he is different. He loves Jesus, he was instilled from his family that he has the vocation, he will go to seminary... but George has forbidden desires in his heart, when he sees Jesus on the cross, he sees not a God but a man, and his love for Jesus is not a "pure" love. Probably due to the self-condemnation George already did to himself, when the taint reaches him, George at first sees it like a right punishment. But George is strong, stronger that he believes, and way stronger that the other boys tainted before him. Kelland appears to George like an angel, but he only pushes George to take the last step towards the right path George already envisioned in front of him.
Lucas is probably the most sad part of the book, with the story of another boy I cannot tell since it's essential you find for yourself. Lucas is a suicide teenager who died almost at the beginning of the book, but which story will follow all the other characters till the end. On the contrary of George, Lucas had not the force to fight against the evil, probably since Lucas believed that no one loved him. George loves Jesus, and in God and Jesus he finds the force to fight; it's not a coincidence that Kelland appears to George in the guise of an angel, since an angel is someone George is willing to hear. An angel represents the purest imaginary of faith, not tainted by what the men did and built around that faith. God, through Kelland, chooses to save George and sacrifice Lucas... no one has never said that God is magnanimous; in his wrath god is tremendous, and he needed Lucas' sacrifice to reach his purpose. Melanie and Gareth are Lucas' parents. They are not bad parents, but probably they were not ready or available to listen to their son's trouble. Kelland appears to Melanie, and he will use Melanie as a tool for God's avenge.
Kelland is not an easy book to read, most since you have to find the strength to start it. Once you do, it's easier, since you are immersed in the life of the characters and you are trying to find what links them. And it's not Kelland, instead Kelland is who will help them to break that unhealthy bond.