When it’s a Jar by Tom Holt
I love Tom Holt; most of the time he gets it right. My all time favourite of his is You don’t have to be evil to work here, but it helps. My problem is, I have read loads of his book one after another and can’t really distinguished between them anymore. He is clever in a way I appreciate – mixing reality with ridiculousness. So I was excited when the ‘Jar’ showed up on our book club’s list.
‘Maurice has just killed a dragon with a breadknife.’ That’s the description of the book. I was hooked. You can imagine my disappointment as this was the only dragon in the book.
I liked the idea of the multiverses etc but the writing felt bit forced and Tom Holt was trying too hard to be clever. The plot wasn’t the strongest point, there were snippets of good ideas but it didn’t really work as a whole. For me there wasn’t enough fantasy for a book that promotes killing dragons.
The ending was very linear, no anticipation or climax, just a full stop. It also didn’t help that the Maurice character was without ‘flavour’ and he never managed to own the role of ‘unexpected hero’. Also there were not enough dragons (not sure if I mentioned that).
However it was interesting to read it after 1984 – there were parts that echoed the feelings from 1984 – and I can’t really explain why.
Another issue – not Tom Holt’s fault this time. This book also has a predecessor – Doughnut. Which we only found out after finishing the ‘Jar’. I guess that’s why our reading experience was mildly confusing and I wasn’t always sure what was happening. Of course I have read the ‘Doughnut’ book after the ‘Jar’. I liked it better.