Ostensibly inspired by the book of Job found in the Bible, The Book of Joby is actually a somewhat odd meld of Arthurian legend and fantasy set in modern times. Who knew that such a thing could exist! There are several characters who have been drawn from the Bible, namely God, Michael and Gabriel — both archangels — and, of course, the devil himself. Any biblical resemblance to characters and plot ideas in The Book Of Joby ends there. For example, the story of creation according to The Book of Joby is that the devil created humans by causing apes to evolve; God swears, hangs out in bars, drinks, lies, and can be sneaky, patronising, sarcastic, and even vindictive. Mark Ferrari was possibly trying to create a down-to-Earth appeal with his depiction of God, but God just comes off as a hick. And the devil character is not all that evil, really; he’s more a petty perfectionist than anything.
If you are prone to being offended by such things, you will not enjoy this book.
So what about the actual story? It’s very well written for a debut novel. The writing is mature and tacks along at a good pace. The characters are, for the most part, well fleshed out and believable within the context of the book. I do think that the book starts much better than it finishes, though. Towards the end I found it to be over-wrought to the point of bordering on soap opera. It just isn’t written nearly as well in the last quarter or so of the book, unfortunately. The characters become less believable and the Ferrari’s attempts to get emotional reactions from his readers are about as subtle as reality TV. Also, there was so much negativity and angst that I found it draining to read. When I finished the book I was relieved rather than satisfied. It wasn’t the sort of pleasure you get from finishing an engaging novel; it was more like the sense of wrungout peace you get when your neighbours finally turn their loud music off at 4am — Ah! At last!
I’ve given this three stars, because it is mostly well-written and absorbing. I haven’t scored it higher, because I didn’t especially enjoy the story.
Mark Pawlyszyn, one of our earliest guest reviewers, has always tended toward the creative side of life and had careers in music and painting before settling into his current position as the owner of Unique Images Photography. Mark has visited and lived in twelve countries and can ask for directions to the bathroom in several languages. He currently lives in Canada with his wife, Sherri.