1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2008
I came across this book at random and found it extremely entertaining and superbly written....Ferrari is an excellent storyteller.
without giving anything away, the book involves God and Lucifer having the "same old stupid bet" for the umpteen thousandth time, with this time Gods candidate being a boy called Joby. The bet involves Lucifer trying to corrupt the boy by any means so that he eventually foresakes God, whilst God cannot get involved.
the blurb on the back categorises this as "fantasy" but i wouldn't let this put you off....this could be enjoyed by most people who just fancy a good well written story.
on 3 September 2009
It's not often that you run into such a scintillating first novel. But this one certainly is.
As the first chapter notes, it's all about "the same old stupid bet" - the one between God and Satan that Satan can corrupt a human and make him actively join forces with the dark side. There's only one small difference: for this round, God is forbidden to intervene in events (though, conspicuously, his servants can, if asked for help). For his chosen champion, God selects a young boy named Joby. Joby, like many young boys, is enthralled with the legend of King Arthur, and in a dream promises Arthur that he will fight the forces of evil, and be as perfect as can be. From this starting point, we follow Joby through his life, his successes and his failures, the trials and very real tribulations he is faced with, his dreams, his joys, and his depressions.
Now all this has been done before in other books. What makes this book more than worthwhile to read is the absolute believability of Joby. His character is very finely delineated, along with those around him who are touched by his actions and in turn have deep effects on him. I found myself cheering him on when he was being all he could be, rushing through those pages, uplifted by this portrait of a truly good person, and falling into a depression almost as bad as his when things go horribly wrong, again and again. And throughout the first three quarters of this book, what Joby faces are very believable, and some would say, very normal problems and defeats, things that everyone can relate to, with some real tragedies that will make you groan in despair. Only in the last stages of this book does it really delve into the metaphysical/fantasy aspects, but here again we find a fine picture of true moral dilemmas, not just for Joby, but even for some angels.
In between those pages about Joby we are treated to a rather satirical portrait of Satan and his cohorts, and a portrait of God that might seem rather different than the one you might have gained from church services. While some may be offended by these portraits, the final picture that emerges is one that is fully in keeping with the Bible. Right alongside this, there is some rather sharp commentary about certain types of people and just how `good' goals and institutions can be subverted to where their actual achievements are the opposite of their supposed intentions, and certain aspects of our culture receive a rather merciless pounding. Much of this is delivered with a mild touch of humor, and almost all of it is done by `showing' - no long philosophical essays here.
There are a few not very expectable plot twists here and there, and certain familial relations don't become clear until fairly late in the book, but this merely keeps the suspense alive until the final resolution. The tie-ins with the Arthurian legends are well done, and add an aspect to this story that is not present in most other books that utilize this idea.
An excellent book, populated by people you will remember for a long time, and with a lot food for thought permeating its pages.
--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
I usually would shy away from books like this, fearing that good and evil would be far too black and white. Good can do no wrong, and evil exist just to make everyone unhappy. Not so in The Book of Joby!
This is a fascinating and in-depth look at the old "good vs. evil" story. God and Lucifer have made a wager, and the fate of existence itself rests upon the outcome. Joby is truly loveable, and the trials he endures truly harrowing. I think there is probably something in Joby's life that most of us will be able to relate to.
The Book of Joby is mostly a character driven book. There's not a whole lot of action, and the plot plods along at a slow and steady pace. This is the story of Joby's life, and it can't be rushed or summarized in just a few short chapters. It's an extremely emotional story, one that brought tears to my eyes at points and had me utterly gripped and unable to sleep until I knew what the end would bring.
A must read!