Book Review: The Good, The Bad and The Smug

The Good, The Bad and The Smug by Tom Holt, YouSpace #4

New Evil.

Same as the Old Evil, but with better PR.

Mordak isn't bad, as far as goblin kings go, but when someone, or something, starts pumping gold into the human kingdoms it puts his rule into serious jeopardy. Suddenly he's locked in an arms race with a species whose arms he once considered merely part of a calorie-controlled diet.

Helped by an elf with a background in journalism and a masters degree in being really pleased with herself, Mordak sets out to discover what on earth (if indeed, that's where he is) is going on. He knows that the truth is out there. If only he could remember where he put it.

I was first introduced to Tom Holt's books about 6 years ago when I was reading Christopher Moore. Tom Holt was a high recommendation based on his books. My reading adventure started with The Portable Door and to be honest that was one of the first books that really put a smile on my face. When it comes down to finding a smart and funny read, Tom Holt is the author to look for. 

The Good, The Bad and the Smug is already the fourth book in the popular YouSpace series with the earlier books being: Doughnut, When it's A Jar and The Outsorceror's Apprentice. The YouSpace series focuses on a multiverse principle, you know where you have not one universe but parallel universes to may have some things in common or may not. Well the multiverses that Tom Holt shows aren't wholly similiar as there are universes with elves, goblins and dwarfs! And that by looking through the whole of a doughnut! Be careful when you eat one and what you wish for.

The story follows multiple threads but the most pronounced one is that of the goblin king Mordak. Over the course of time the human's on his world (were dealing with multiple universes here remember!) are strangely getting more and more income in the form of gold, and thus accelerating their growth with more weapons and other threats which could possibly cause the humans to win the war against the the goblin empire led by Mordak. This is something where Mordak can't sit idle and let it just happen. He wants to get to the bottom of how the humans get their new found source of wealth. To make it all worse Mordak is assisted in his endeavors by an elf, a female elf known as Efluviel. Elves and goblins haven't really gotten along in the past, and both are rather reluctant to work together in the first place. Added to this comes the fact that the elf community are rather peculiar in their doings and Efluviel is no exception. All that Efluviel wants to do is write piece for the magazine known as the Face, an stylish elfish magazine, but well now she has to work with Mordak, a goblin. With two opposite people AND Tom Holt's witty, sharp and stinging humor you can quite imagine that there are plenty laugh out loud moments. A different point of view is offered by a set of humans not the human that live in Mordak realm, the humans that want to win the arms race. But the human from a different universe. They stumble upon something that will have massive consequences for the multiverse. Because somethings just cannot be done without a cost. Rumpelstiltskin, give him some straw and the whole universe might collapse. These human are trying to find away to stop this from happening. Luckily there is always plan B!

As with all of Tom Holt's stories The Good, The Bad and The Smug, really is an outstanding piece of humor (I can imagine that not everyone will be a fan of these books, well actually I can't, they are that funny!). There were so many funny moments that definitely puts Tom Holt on top of his game. He sticks to his own created puns en jokes but also uses that of our own. Like the one with "your mission should you choose to accept it" and plenty more where that one game from. For me Tom Holt's writing style is unique: it's clever, it's sharp, it's to the point and above all very funny.

Now for the characters. Brilliant. Just brilliant. From the start I loved the small little goblin Mordak. Though he is seen as one of the dark lords he isn't that dark, he likes to eat humans, because well they are great staple, he wants to go to war because it is in the nature of the goblins. But next to that he isn't extreme. For such a dark person he actually has quite a good sense of humor. A sense that did have to grow mainly due to the forced interaction with Efluviel, the elf. It was a blast to see their interaction the constant outsmarting, trying to out do the other. Efluviel is also pretty sharp the part where Mordak falls and Efluviel rescues him is just awesome. It those kind of moments that make this book so much fun to read!

I have read some books which also focus on multiversing but these had a more serious background. The idea of looking through a circular object with a hole that then transports you to place you think off is quite imaginable and can and actually does go every which way. This unique twist given to the science fiction theme of multiversing is just well pretty cool especially with the heavy influence of Epic Fantasy in the result of it all. Awesome.

The Good, The Bad and The Smug continues the stellar and out of this universe YouSpace series perfectly. This is precisely one the things Tom Holt has made a name in for himself creating a smartly funny story. Wherein he not only challenges the reader but also himself in trying to write something funnier each and every time. The ending of the book shows that this might not be the last in the YouSpace series, I hope! Because when you look through a doughnut everything can happen! When it comes down to finding a smart and funny read, Tom Holt is the author you want to read. 


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