01/04/2012. Contributed by Andy Whitaker
pub: Fingerpress Ltd. 338 page Kindle edition. File size: 451 KB. Price: Free - was GBP 2.66 (UK). ISBN: 978-095649-253-1. ASIN: B004GNFMLO.
check out website: www.fingerpress.co.uk
‘Smallworld’ is an odd book written in a humorous style. It is set on a world called Mount Ararat which happens to be the size of an asteroid and has an atmosphere and, perhaps surprisingly, a reasonable amount of gravity. This provides tolerable conditions to allow the extended family of Mr. and Mrs. Reborn-in-Jesus to go about their daily activities. The family is protected by a Devil that just happens to be a mechanised killing machine. The Reborn-in-Jesus family share the asteroid with a strange hermit called the Anchorite who is obviously more than he seems.
At this point I should really give a precise of the plot here, but this is where the book falls down. There is a series of events where people turn up, something happens, usually fatal to the visitors, and that’s it. It is like watching re-runs of ‘The Waltons’ where each episode had the same list of characters, in the same location, with usually short guest appearances by people visiting. Exactly the same format for ‘Smallworld’. After a few initial episodes, we get a double-length feature for the latter part of the book.
As I mentioned, the book is written in a humorous style, but I found it got tedious after a while. The only part which made me actually laugh was towards the end of the book in the new Health Spa and did not involve any of the Reborn-in-Jesus family. The lack of laugh-out-loud comedy moments was a disappointment as I was looking forward to a good comedy after reading a lot of serious stuff.
Another thing I found tedious was the names used. For example the Reborn-in-Jesus clan have names such as Pitch-Not-Thy-Tent-Towards-Sodom, Only-God-Is-Perfect Ogundere and Beguiled-of-the-Serpent Raffael. You can lose an awful lot of a printed page on a Kindle when the full names are used. Very long names are not restricted to the people neither. One of the family’s donkeys is called Carries-the-Saviour. Apart from the biblical names, religion does not play any part of the story other than in a passing mention.
The ending strongly suggests that there will be a sequel. Based on the disappointment of this book, it is not one I would go looking for.
One last note: it is a common theme that the formatting of the text could be improved with the Kindle edition. With this book there are some very large gaps in the text and a few typos. Considering how many Kindle books are being sold, I do wish they (Amazon, editors, authors, anybody) would spend some time and effort to improve the overall quality of the finished article.
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