Top critical review
Humour with a Theological Side
7 November 2011
Paradise - A Divine Comedy by Glenn Myers is a comic fantasy novel, written in a manner that is reminiscent of many British comic authors such as Robert Rankin, Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams.
The story itself is set a round web designer Jamie and criminal lawyer Keziah who, after being involved in a car crash, end up heading to the afterlife together. Once there, they get captured by some spirits who seem intent on forcing them to live in an artificial paradise in an attempt to trial a new form of spiritual worship. The story follows Jamie and Keziah's experiences in this artificial paradise as they face off against each other and the spirits who are holding them captive.
The humour and wit that the author has used in the book is there to try and enhance and complement the serious themes being discussed and it does work to an extent. For example, the wit and banter that is present throughout the novel did make me smile and laugh, especially the discussions between Jamie and Caroline who was basically a self imagined version of his ex girlfriend. However, as the story progressed I have to admit that I began to find it harder to pick up the novel and finish it as the theological elements of the novel became more important to the plot which required me to really try and grasp the points being made. Then again this was probably my own fault as I read the final parts of the book after taking part in a 24 hour read-a-thon!
In regards to the characters, I found it quite hard to dislike Jamie even though he was self-absorbed, a coward and selfish. I think these traits actually increased the level at which the reader could be amused as they were utilised cleverly by the author to create entertaining scenes between him and the other characters. I actually don't think any of the other characters are really developed in as good a detail as him, even Keziah who is one of the other main characters. They all mainly seem to be there as different foils for Jamie to bounce his wits against.
Overall, this was a funny and amusing story and I did enjoy the humorous elements, however I struggled a little bit to keep going through the theological elements. Basically, I believe that this book will probably appeal to people that like the humour of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett but also want to read something with a deeper underlying meaning.