My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Review: I Call Him HIM

I Call Him HIM I Call Him HIM by Scott W. Kimak
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Sadly, it is very hard to find quality “Christian” fantasy stories … with many, like this one, focused on imagining the dystopian world of the “Tribulation” coming with the Eschaton (End of the World), they all seem to eschew any true world building and character development in favor of streams of descriptions (info dumps) that overly emphasizes the Mary Sue/Gary Stu nature of the hero with the requisite deus ex machina plot points and the unredeemable evil of the “ultimate” antagonist … complete with a appalling voyeuristic telling of how said evil manifests in the world (presumably for shock value … though frequently it’s gratuitous).  

This book fits neatly into that apocalyptic style … with the added detraction of what appears to be a freshman debut of the writer’s craft.  Conceptually it was pretty interesting, but there is little to no nuance in this extremely derivative story (so many tropes so little time) … and pretty much everything is obvious or otherwise predictable.  While there is a hero … the hero’s journey is nearly unrecognizable and flat.  Character interactions were nearly cartoonish in their simplicity and the humor overly crude … and the POV disciple was almost non-existent (switching between 1st person to various 3rd persons).  The “Big Guy,” aka HIM, apparently doesn’t speak (vow of silence?  to make him darkly mysterious?), so the author adds a narrator and sex crazed “Bill” to provide the needed dialog … until HIM speaks for some unidentified reason (sort of … so not an actual vow?  just being a jerk?) … 

Seriously … this book needs a few trigger warnings (and maybe some bleach).  Also Physics (or pretty much any realism) was apparently only a suggestion (possibly the result of lazy research which seems undermine a significant portion of the book).  Finally, without any connection to the protagonists (I actively disliked them), it was extremely hard not to feel disappointed at the missed opportunity (the flap copy was the best part).  I wanted to like this story … I just couldn’t (almost a dnf).

Unfortunately … where good narration can sometimes improve a marginal story, the narration here had the opposite effect for me.  The cadence and enunciation were so extremely discordant that it gave the whole work an unnatural and amateurish feel that emphasized the shortcomings of the story itself.

I was given this free advance listener copy (ALC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#ICallHimHim  #FreeAudiobooks

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.