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3.9 out of 5 stars
When It's A Jar
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"This ... is a jar. A jar being a jar. Therefore it's not a door."

When I read Doughnut, the previously published book by Tom Holt, I thought at the time that he was really back on form; the old wit and delightful nuttiness of a Tom Holt book was back in this one. And When It's a Jar is even better. If you haven't read Doughnut, you are likely to want to, before reading this. Otherwise you may find this book a rather more mind-bending experience than Tom Holt novels generally are.

This book follows on in a fashion from Doughnut; that is, the multiverse theory, and Theo Bernstein and his legacy from Professor van Goyen are referenced, and a whole new series of misadventures result. Maurice Katz finds himself an unwitting `hero', and as he's not sure what that even means, killing a dragon that has appeared in his bedroom seems to be the least of his worries.

This is a wonderfully witty and funny book; I enjoyed it even more than Doughnut - I think When It's a Jar has a more coherent narrative and has found its feet in the multiverse whereas Doughnut was still laying down the credentials. When It's a Jar has a delightful cast of characters, of whom Maurice is a great example of a chap whose life goes so far off course that he feels like his brain is leaking out his ears when he tries to make sense of it.

I complained in my review of Doughnut that the cover picture of the gloriously sugary doughnut kept making me hungry; the lovely rich jar of jam on the cover of this one didn't help any - now I just keep thinking of jam doughnuts ...

Wholeheartedly recommended, although you should definitely read Doughnut before tackling this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 March 2015
Begin forwarded message:

From: Ronit Dassa <rdassa@hotmail.co.uk>
Date: 13 March 2015 20:02:44 GMT
To: rdassa@hotmail.co.uk
Subject: Review

I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett, Diane Wynn Jones, and fantasy in general, so when I came across this book I was excited to find a book that looked funny-fantasy with lots of recommendations and praise. Unfortunately I found this book a great disappointment. The characters were flat and undeveloped, I find that I didn't care about any of them, Stephanie (who was meant to be a love interest) just existed as a name, I knew and cared very little for her, and considering that she was meant to be the love of the Maurice life he seemed to not care about her very much either.

The humour rested on him being a reluctant hero but he was more like 'I don't give a fig' hero and as the story unfolded I didn't give a fig either.

In addition I know that there was meant to be some sort of clever social analysis underplaying the plot (e.g. Maurice gets a job in a company that operates by having the least important member of staff doing all the work and getting the least pay etc), but it read like a cliched politics essay written by an over ernest teenager for his A level.

At one stage thinks about playing chess with Death, but thinks to himself "I can't play chess I wonder if we can play Ludo", is a comic plot that's already been done by others (most notably by Bill and Ted and so much funnier).

Its a shame, as I really wanted to enjoy this book but it was unfunny, un-clever, boring and I did not care about any of the characters or the plot. Sorry.
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on 19 January 2014
If you've not read Doughnut, stop, and go read that first. This gets quite convulated at times, but if you've not read the previous book, I'd doubt you'll get through this. I was not overly impressed with the first book, but thought at the time it was a set up, and i think this shows I may be right. We're back in the world of multidimensional hopping, but with some new characters. We're also back to one of Holts favourite ideas, the reluctant, if not downright running away in the opposite direction, hero. And best of all the jokes are back. There are some wonderful little set pieces that should raise a chuckle, and they work well. At times it gets a little complicated, there's only so many worlds you can keep in your head at the one time, but I don't think he ever gets to the stage where it's too complex to follow.
All in a return to form
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on 25 January 2014
If only sliders had been as entertaining as this book it may have lasted longer.

Would love to see this and doughnut made into films by a creative director they could be great. Perhaps Terry Gilliam or someone with his vision.

My only criticism of the story is that the female character is sort of absence not sure if she could have had more impact.
I realise that these books work best from one characters perspective, though it may have been nice to understand what George was up to as realities never seem to make that clear and Stephanie seemed like great character though never clear in my mind.

Every one that likes to be entertained should read these books!
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on 5 January 2015
As a follow on to Doughnut and its multiverse ideas this is a hugely entertaining book, and strikes me as a real return to the best writing of Tom Holt, i found it a pleasure to read, and was as daft, complicated but ultimately beautifully plotted as anything that he has written.
If you are a fan of his work then i would recommend this book right away.
If you are new to his writing then you would perhaps be best to start with Doughnut before this book. Or maybe delve into the back catalog a bit to get the hang of his style!
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on 19 February 2014
I read this book before I realised that it was actually a sort of sequel to Tom Holt's previous book 'Doughnut' but it didn't matter, it can be read on it's own without knowledge of any of his other books. I've never read a Tom Holt book that I didn't like and this is no exception. Loved it!
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on 13 January 2014
I have enjoyed novels by Tom Holt although I have always considered him a bit too clever for me. Certainly "When it's a jar" is a bit too convoluted for me. I found it difficult at times to follow the storyline. Maybe that's just me. It wouldn't stop me reading any more of his books.
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on 10 January 2014
Engrossing book, and I did feel transported into another world, and engaged with the plight of the book's hero. It was bound to be confusing given the multiverse, and it was, but not too bad, once you just let yourself be carried away, and stop trying to figure it all out.
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on 9 February 2014
Really enjoyed reading this book, which I bought for my kindle. Engrossed from the beginning I compled it in a couple of days. Liked its so much I the bought "doughnut" which, on reflection, i should have read first.
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on 29 May 2014
Yet another triumph for Tom Holt. Well written, a little off the wall as you'd expect, but so well constructed with characters who come to life as the story develops. Looking forward to whatever's next.
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