Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Review: The Chosen by John Hartness
This book is described on Smashwords thusly: "A cross-country road trip with angels, demons, immortals, smart-aleck waitresses and a whole lot of whiskey. Great for fans of Christopher Moore and Kevin Smith." It pretty much lives up to this promise. An immortal Adam (yes, THAT Adam, the biblical one) tries to save the world with the help of Cain, Eve, the devil and a few other people. The book is at times super-funny (the 'voice' for Adam is great---snark, but measured, grown-up snark) and the interplay between some of the other characters is very well done.
The book did feel a little bit talky at times. There were a few Grand Speeches to explain Important Things, and a few contortions to make the 'canon' of the biblical narrative work with what the author was trying to do. In particular, I found Cain a little confusing. At times, he pontificates as if everything he's known for was all part of this grand, misunderstood sacrifice, yet at other times he jokes about it and comes across as a huge jackass. And the portrayal of Eve was a tiny bit sexist---Hartness sets up her 'fall' from the garden as part of the grander cosmic interplay which underpins the novel's central conceit, which is nice, but then she's a stripper and possibly an alcoholic too, and I'm not sure that agrees with me.
There were a few late-appearing typos were not deal-breakers for me. But overall, this was a fairly polished Smashwords word. This wasn't quite a 4 for me---almost, but not quite. A little more action and less mytharc, a little more consistency in some of the characterizations and a little less retconning to make the canon fit, and it would have pushed it up there. I'm going to say 3.5/5, but with that said, I definitely think that readers who enjoy this sort of story will enjoy this book a lot.