Tuesday, May 10, 2005

[Book Review] Faust Among Equals by Tom Holt

Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of the classics. Which unfortunately includes Faust. But hey, perhaps the mark of a good writer is that the reader enjoys it when he’s unaware of what you’re spoofing, right? While not the first person to satirize literary classics, it’s interesting to see the kind of comedy Holt is capable of weaving.

Suffice to say, it’s thankfully not a retelling of the original Faust story. It’s more like a sequel. Faust manages to break out of hell when hell gets new management. The best bounty hunter is hot on his trail, and chaos ensues. It’s a funny premise, and even a funnier read. Thankfully, the pace is faster in here compared to Flying Dutch. It’s not a can’t-put-down book, but was compelling enough for me to manage reading it by the end of the week. Holt’s style is improving, mind you, and there’s progress compared to Flying Dutch.

Thankfully, Faust Among Equals is a stand-alone book. Unlike some Discworld novels where prior knowledge is sometimes needed to fully appreciate the book, that’s not needed here (although being familiar with Faust can be helpful). Heck, I enjoyed it and I’m not even that familiar with Faust. At this point, I find Holt enjoyable. Not as enjoyable as Pratchett, but he’s getting there. At least it’s more enjoyable than Pratchett’s earlier Rincewind books. And why do I keep comparing Holt to Pratchett? Because Pratchett is God, at least in terms of fantasy comedies. And Holt seems to be following in his footsteps.

Honestly, Faust Among Equals is a funny book. It’s not as polished as I want it to be, but it’s good enough. Some might not even consider Holt fantasy, since he’s using the modern world as the setting, albeit with fantastical elements (oh, I don’t know, like hell, Faust, and other supernatural entities). If anything else, Holt’s writing style is improving, so that’s a good sign, especially if you’ve read his earlier works. I mean it can only get better, right?


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