Tuesday, 20 April 2010

‘Blonde Bombshell’ – Tom Holt (Orbit)


If I’m after something a little humorous in my reading then I never seem to travel too far from the tried and tested authors that always make me laugh. Sometimes you just have to stick with what you know, especially you’re a little low and need your spirits raising. For me, my ‘humorous writers of choice’ are messrs Pratchett and Rankin; two writers who never fail to make me chuckle at the very least. I’m always after trying new stuff out though and although Tom Holt doesn’t quite fall into this category (having read ‘Paint Your Dragon’ some years ago) it had been long enough for it to feel like I was trying out something new for the first time!
Things didn’t quite work out the way I’d planned...

A planet destroying bomb has been fired from an alien planet and it’s aimed directly at Earth. You would have thought that the job of such a bomb would be fairly straight forward but when there’s a certain level of sentience involved that’s when things get tricky...
Before the bomb can fulfil its primary objective there’s one small job that it has to do first. Another bomb had been fired at Earth some years ago; the Earth is still very much there but the bomb itself has vanished. Where did it go? ‘Our’ bomb has to answer this question if it’s to do its job of protecting its home planet. The way in which it goes about answering this question is about to make things even more complicated than they already were. Certainly more complicated than there was any need for them to be...

The bottom line is that you either find something funny or you don’t. There’s no middle ground; even if something only elicits a quiet chuckle then that’s enough, you found it to be funny. That’s quite a fine line for a book to tread when you think about it. A comedic book is going to stand or fall on it’s humour and jokes; like I said, no middle ground...

With this in mind it’s probably fairest for me to say that if you’re a fan of Tom Holt’s work then you’re going to enjoy this one. If you find his jokes funny then you’re in for more of the same. I on the other hand...? Well, I didn’t laugh out loud once. Not a chuckle, not a snigger. The corner of my mouth may have twitched upwards at one point but that could just have likely been my fighting off an encroaching sneeze as it was a smile. I didn’t find the jokes funny, I didn’t find the situational humour funny. It just didn’t work for me. Not good for a book that sells itself as a comedy.

This was more than a bit of a shame really as I liked the concept behind ‘Blonde Bombshell’ and the way that seemingly disparate strands of plot all seemed to come together at the end and form something cohesive. I also liked the clever little riff on ‘Planet of the Apes’ that was present throughout the book. I found myself wondering how different my opinion would have been if ‘Blonde Bombshell’ had been marketed as sci-fi instead of humour. There was certainly a story there that was worth a look.

The thing was though that ‘Blonde Bombshell’ was marketed as humour and that’s where it fell down for me. I didn’t find it funny and a result of that was that I was faced with characters who were trying to be funny but not succeeding at all. An interesting concept that came across as flat in it’s execution.

Humour is a funny thing though isn’t it? ‘Blonde Bombshell’ wasn’t my thing but, like I said earlier, if you’re already a fan of Tom Holt’s work then it could very well be yours...

Six out of Ten

3 comments:

tomlloyd said...

sounds like a pretty odd sort of book. The only one of Tom Holt's I've read is "you don't have to be evil to work here, but it helps" was surprised me in a good way, I really enjoyed it. This one I'm not sure I'd pick it up so maybe he's just quite hit and miss.

Graeme Flory said...

I don't know if he's hit and miss, I wonder if I just don't get his humour... A book that's sold as a comedy would usually have me chuckling at the very least but this one didn't even make me crack a grin. Oh well, at least I've still got Pratchett and Rankin (mostly Rankin these days) to keep me going :o)

Aaron said...

I'm the same with Tom Holt.

I read a couple absolutely years ago, and they passed the time. Then a few years back I picked up Snow White and the Seven Samurai. It sounded great, even the title made me smile.

But not one chuckle, and I kept thinking, "why aren't I laughing? This is my kind of thing."

And I still can't work it out! Like yourself, though, I still have Rankin, God save all here! Pint of Large, anyone?