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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 23 January 2014
"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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"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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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 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 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 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 8 August 2015
Weird. I like this genre and Tom Holt is a good writer but just seems to be a tad too self-congratulatory at times for his cleverness. Cannot say that I a-door-ed it, but I did like it when it began to get unhinged.
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on 22 January 2014
There is one problem with this Tom Holt novel. He forgot to make it exciting or interesting in any way. Essentially we have five or six characters chasing each other round different universes for no clear purpose. Because there is always an escape route (anything with a hole in the middle) there is no peril. The only surprise is that the characters are so inept at making devices with holes in. I can do it with my finger and thumb but that didn't seem to occur to any of them. None of them even though to carry a tube of polo mints around with them, though there were a clear references to the utility of the sweet.

Following on from the previous book, Doughnut, we are back in multiverse territory again with a very unlikely and reluctant hero by the name of Maurice Katz. We are supposed, by the end, to believe that Maurice in one universe is a no hope slacker but in another he is a a multi-billionaire high achiever. Unfortunately its the same Maurice in both universes so its totally unbelievable, even with the suspension of disbelief. We are also supposed to believe that the love of his life, Stephanie (aka Steve) is attracted to this putz while also being a highly efficient warrior. We are never offered any evidence of the latter as Stephanie is either absent or appears in a different disguise.

The baddy is a guy named George, but he is so badly drawn he is as shallow as the rest of the characters. He is also absent from much of the book and Maurice just isn't interesting enough to carry the story line by himself.

Maurice's motivation to be a hero is to rescue the love of his life, who accidently got used as payment for the removal of a dead dragon. OK, I'll buy that, but to rescue Steve Maurice must first rescue both Max and Theo Bernstein, characters from the equally dire 'Doughnut'. Theo is the guy who created the multiverse by blowing up the Very Very Large Hadron Collider and Max is his venal and feckless brother. This rescue takes up most of the book and just serves to show how inept Maurice is, making his multi-billionaire alternate persona look even more unbelievable.

So bereft of ideas is this novel that Holt actually has to revisit an idea from a previous book (Valhalla) just to pad out the story for a few more pages. I did get one small chuckle. Half way through there is an reference to a goblin by the name of Mordak who runs a news empire. But that was about it for humour.

I have been a lifelong fan of Tom Holt, but he's clearly run out of intersting or amusing ideas now so I won't be buying 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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