Book Review: The Management Style of the Supreme Beings

The Management Style of the Supreme Beings by Tom Holt

When the Supreme Being and his son decide that being supreme isn't for them any more, it's inevitable that things get a bit of a shake-up.
It soon becomes apparent that our new owners, the Venturi brothers, have a very different perspective on all sorts of things. Take Good and Evil, for example. For them, it's an outdated concept that never worked particularly well in the first place.
Unfortunately, the sudden disappearance of right and wrong, while welcomed by some, raises certain concerns amongst those still attached to the previous team's management style.
In particular, there's one of the old gods who didn't move out with the others. A reclusive chap, he lives somewhere up north, and only a handful even believe in him.
But he's watching. And he really does need to know if you've been naughty or nice.

For me Tom Holt is one of the funniest writers out there. Ever since reading my first book by him The Portable Door I was hooked. Over the last years he has steadily released new books with his YouSpace series. This year he is coming back with a completely new concept. What if Heaven and Hell were run like a corporate situation? 

Meet the Supreme Being and his son Jay are tired of managing Earth. They have been doing it for a long time already and they feel that it's time pass over the rod to a new management, its not really passing, more like selling. Enter the Venturi brothers, aliens from a different planet that have been managing other planets in a pretty solid way. With Father and Son selling Earth, they didn't really take into account how Kevin (the second son of God) would feel about it. Kevin saw this selling as a shock. The interpretation of the Venturi brother on religion is one of the biggest differences compared to the now retired God. There are new rules that make it a lot more easy for some certain people to commit crimes, and to create more income for the Venturi brothers. While God and his son Jay are trying to figure out what to do with their immortal rest of their lives, they have gotten a bit tired of just sitting about fishing all day. Kevin, the second son, takes account in his own hands. Revoking belief and wishing and talking to one other God that roams the North Pole in particular.... A very creative plot that you wont be able to guess. 

The whole concept of The Management Style of the Supreme Beings really clung to me, granted I did expect a slightly different story, but what I got was beyond my expectations. The world that Tom Holt creates in this book is stellar. Involving many different planets, some sort of multiversish, very cool sentient beings on said different planets. It also shows Heaven and Hell being run like a corporate organisation. There is even a hotline that people who have a special code can call into to ask for help. But only during office hours, the out of office hours is pure for emergencies. How brilliant is that? 

This last bit comes in particular show with one of the characters of the book Jersey, who we first meet when he is stuck inside of a pyramid. Its a cool concept that just works for me. Similarly you have something of a callcenter in Hell where for example maintenance needs to be scheduled to keep the furnaces going etc. Funny stuff. 

Within the story there are many different subplots that take place, secondary storylines. Utilizing these secondary storylines there is some nice growth among several of the characters. For example there is Kevin, the second son of God, how for starters didn't like the fact that his father sold the right to the Earth to the Venturi Brother. Kevin, however, was always a bit of a screw up and completely throws a different ball standing up for himself and doing what he believes is best. To make people happy. Another character that really caught my attention from the first moment I read about him was Jersey, the relic hunter, he is on the hunt for proof that Gods exist. So far he is coming closer and closer. Jersey has a nice energetic attitude that helps to energize the story even further. 

The Management Style of the Supreme Beings, is another cracking read by Tom Holt. Its and easy read, has lots of wacky ideas and is in short just extremely enjoyable. Just wait till you read about Santa...


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