Well, you'll have to read a fair bit of this novel before you discover that, encountering mishaps and madness, madcap mayhem and wonderful weirdness along the way. Don't expect Terry Pratchett's variety of humorous fantasy, despite the fact that Tom Holt's name often seems to be coupled with his. There is magic, yes - and fairies - and goblins - but they are all to be found in a rather boring, mundane office environment, popping up disguised as ... In creating Paul Carpenter, Tom Holt has invented a hero who might seem strangely familiar; a hero with whom - let's face it - many will identify. This apology for a smart, ambitious successful young man has only one way to go in a comic novel, and we are rooting for him from the start. We meet Paul at the beginning of the novel, living in a dismal, shabby English bedsit, having dropped out of university and been told in no nonsense terms by his parents to sort himself out. After a disastrous interview, (Paul's response to the question, "What do you most admire about the works of Chekhov?" being "The way he says 'Course laid in, keptin' is pretty cool"), nobody in this or any other world would expect him to be accepted. So Paul finds bemusedly that he has landed a job with J.W. Wells & Co, but is at a loss to know what it is, or what the firm actually does. Paul becomes increasingly (and hilariously) traumatised, not even completely sure to whom he is responsible, or what his next work will be. Expect time travel, the sword in the stone, photocopiers and of the course "The Portable Door" to all play key roles. The Portable Door, published in 2003, was about his 35th novel. By his third novel "Expecting Someone Taller", Tom Holt had already established his trademark style of comic fantasy - juxtaposing the mundane with the fantastic - and his novels became increasingly popular. He has also written a few serious historical novels under the name "Thomas Holt".
I hated this book not because Holt is a bad writer, but because his protagonist is a complete and utter, impossible to relate to idiot. Everyone else in the world would sacrifice a limb to be a magic user!' Which is exactly how I feel whenever an idiot in books or film says, I never wanted to be a magician, it scares me.
I like the concept of a business catering to those who need magic, particularly how pragmatic they are.
Paul Carpenter is the typical Holt pathetic main character, who starts a very strange office job with a sour-faced girl, who he happens to falls for and refrains from quitting his insane job to stay with. I found the story came together very well, with lots of very strange things happening near the beginning all being explained at the end.
It is the story of Paul Carpenter, and how he takes a mysterious job in a mysterious firm where mysterious goings-on occur. I think one of my favourite passages can best sum up the wit and wryly weird writing that Tom Holt employs: "There's this to be said for being hungover; if you've got a job to do that involves substantial levels of ambient weirdness, it helps, because you can't be bothered to notice stuff that under other circumstances would come close to frying your synapses.
the main character is a dynamic loser stuck in his own head. the premise had promise of being a really fun mystery to solve (what kind of company was he working for???) and the clues are whimsical and spirited (items in the basement storage ranging from pop-culture surprises to literary-references-turned-real-life-objects), promising to reveal a delightful adventure.
And god, so funny!
World: The world building comes in slow as this book tries to set up the mundane and the banality of working in a mindless job to set reader expectations and then twist it around. Story: I've not read this book since probably 2008 so more than 10 years ago I imagine and during that time when I read it I found it surprising, I had not read a lot of British humor novels at that time and I found the juxtaposition of the mind numbing work environment, the bland office environment to the utter ridiculous and fantastical and this is what this story is about. Add to that John is an interesting character but he's intentionally super boring and rather a sad sack of potatoes and this character is not always good to read or is it interesting. There are a lot of things that Holt is trying to make mundane and in doing so it does lose it's readers and the book does plod.
eby nie byo nudno, bdzie siedzia w pokoju kobiet, w której zdy si zakocha podczas czekania na rozmow kwalifikacyjn. Take mamy troch romansu, potem rozwija si wtek fantastyczny, kryminalny, a w midzyczasie pitrz si inne absurdalne historie. Jego posta w ogóle jest tak miaka i nijaka, e w pewnym momencie miaem go serdecznie do.