The book starts out somewhat poorly, with extremely dislikable characters popping up in all sides of the (eventual) conflict. However, once it gets goThe book starts out somewhat poorly, with extremely dislikable characters popping up in all sides of the (eventual) conflict. However, once it gets going it serves up a pretty good story of genetic modification, religious zealotry, bigotry, and overcoming prejudice to a broader world view. It is not perfect, but most of the science is reasonable (with a glaring exception involving genetic memory transfer), and if the end relies a little too much on dumb luck, it still ends up a pretty good tale.
This book seems like it should have been good. It had a lot of elements that generally work well, the plot wasn't overly derivative, and it had cleverThis book seems like it should have been good. It had a lot of elements that generally work well, the plot wasn't overly derivative, and it had clever humor to boot. But the last part was the biggest problem. There are any number of reason why you may not find a joke funny. It could be that it is legitimately not funny, it could be that the type of humor doesn't appeal to you, it could be that you just don't get the joke, or it could be that the delivery is poor. Usually we view bad delivery as an issue in spoken jokes. Everyone knows someone who mangles the punchline, and often that is funnier than the joke (although in this case you're laughing at the delivery rather than the joke itself). However, more generally, nothing ruins a good joke more than bad delivery.
Twenty years ago I remember going to see the movie The Last Action Hero, a Schwarznegger action comedy. At its heart the movie is a comedy with action elements. And it's legitimately funny. Many of the gags and concepts are truly truly humorous. But I don't believe I ever laughed once when I saw it. I recognized the humor intellectually, I kept thinking "wow, that's funny", but somehow never once found it in me to laugh at any point of the movie (I'm talking about laughing at deliberate humor, not laughing at something for being bad). This is exactly the same reaction I had when reading this book, the first time I can ever recall feeling like the delivery was off in a book.
There is a lot of humor in this book and a lot of it is truly funny. The mental embodiement (if that's not an oxymoron) of Hell having arguments with itself. Funny. Noting that there have been two major magical disasters of some sort in history, with the first leading to the destruction of Pompei and the second leading to disco. Hilarious. The elderly and aged Greek Gods. Funny. Digging up a groaning one-liner from one of my favorite movies, Young Frankenstein. Pretty good. But somehow, I never laughed. I just kept thinking, "huh, that's funny." Somehow the book fails on delivery, and I'm not precisely sure how that's possible.
Beyond that my major problem was the character of the ghost Jacques. I really disliked him. First, he's a walking (er floating) stereotype, which is usually not a good start to anything. But my real problem is he was an embodyment (er, ectoplasmabodyment?) of sexual harassment. I don't generally read romance novels, and as urban paranormal fantasy this book has many of the common romance leanings found in the genre (although at heart it is much more fantasy than romance), not the least of which is the "male bad boy who the heroine still falls for despite the fact that he's bad for her" and while Jacques doesn't precisely fit this model, he's not precisely not this model either. But the constant innuendo and harrassement which seemed to be the only reason for his existence was so off putting that I really began to hate parts of the book. I may be overly sensitive to this right now because it's been a major issue in some of the social media and professional circles I'm at least cursorily involved with over the past few months (and in particular, the past few weeks), but I found the character to be infinitely more creepy than the charming I suspect the (female) author was going for. It felt overly inappropriate and I think could have been handled in a much better way, without sacrificing any of the necessary plot elements that were cocommitant with the character.
So...a decent concept with failed execution and little reason for me to go out of my way to read the next one....more
A fun and humorous book, Goblin Quest looks at the classic adventurer quest from the point of view of one of the lowly monsters. The main character, JA fun and humorous book, Goblin Quest looks at the classic adventurer quest from the point of view of one of the lowly monsters. The main character, Jig, is smarter than your average goblin, but his intelligence doesn't do him a lot of good in his goblin society. The story quickly takes off after he stumbles into a group of adventurers looking for a mystical artifact hidden somewhere in his mountain. Needless to say, Jig learns a lot about both adventurers and goblins as he is unwillingly dragooned into this quest....more