YMMV / The Night's Dawn Trilogy

  • Complete Monster: Quinn Dexter is a Satanic cult leader who considers himself something of a God and likes nothing more than to inflict as much pain and spread as much suffering as possible. Through his sect he regularly performs human sacrifices to feed off the psychic energies derived from the victims' agonies of being tortured, raped and murdered. After he is possessed by an escaped soul from the Beyond, his will proves so strong that he regains control of his body and sets out to turn as many planets as possible into unlivable Hellworlds. He drops a meteorite on the Nyvan colony to wipe out all life on it, makes it it his mission to destroy every shred of human decency, and will devour the souls of all those he considers too weak to share the new Hell with him.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Possession. The Melange. The Beyond. Also, being a ghost. If you don't want to give up your mortal life, you spend an eternity in the Beyond, where 5 minutes feels like an eternity, all the other souls are screaming to get out, and when you do get out, the souls in the Beyond compel you to open up bodies for possession by souls from the Beyond.
    • The Beyond is a nightmarish void inhabited by the souls of the dead. The souls are reduced to powerless energy beings who can vaguely sense but never interact with the real world, and spend all their time digging through each others' memories because they can't do anything else. Incidentally, this same process causes them to perceive the passage of time at a slower rate, prolonging their already-eternal agony, and at least some have been there for tens of thousands of years.
    • Possession. From the first opening of a rift to the Beyond, they spread into living bodies. They can only possess a willing person, which they usually do by torturing the person until they have no choice but to accept or die. The body's original inhabitant is stuck inside, unable to even use their body's senses unless the possessor lets them. Their partial connection to the Beyond grants them the power to warp matter and energy; they can shapeshift, regenerate, shoot white fire from their hands, and reshape surrounding objects and creatures. One possessor, for instance, deals with the long-ago loss of her baby by finding a random wild animal and warping its body into the rough shape of an infant.
  • Unfortunate Implications: The Confederation practices what they call "Ethnic Streaming"; planets are specifically stated to be Planets of Hats - Christian-ethnic, Islamic-ethnic, Jewish-ethnic, Hindi-ethnic, etc. At first, Earth's government sponsored extrasolar colonization on a cosmopolitan basis; immigration was controlled so numerous ethnic groups were represented equally. This experiment came to a crashing end when these colonies erupted into religious conflicts, which were only solved when the minorities immigrated to planets where they were the majority. Nyvan - the closest terracompatible world to Earth - is the worst case; the planet has been ravaged by nonstop holy wars right up until the Possessed showed up and conquered the whole planet. Afterward those initial failures, colonies were sponsored by specific nations and corporations, which limited colonization to their own ethnic groups. These were much more successful, and by the time the trilogy begins it's commonly accepted that only an idiot would expect multiple ethnic groups to share a planet peacefully. A similar idea would be "separateness" AKA "Apartheid".