Doughnut – Tom Holt

“One mistake,” Theo said sadly, “one silly little mistake, and now look at me.”

I sometimes wonder why I keep reading Tom Holt books, when I invariably find them disappointing. Possibly even more so since the revelation that the wonderful, dark and twisted, KJ Parker books are flowing from the same pen. All I can suggest is that they’re my equivalent of chick-lit: easyish on the brain, mildly amusing. I hear Holt likened to Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams, but really, his work is a poor substitute.

That said, his more recent novels are a vast improvement on the early ones, and this one – Doughnut – did keep me entertained while I wasn’t feeling great. The first in the YouSpace series, it covers the invention of this marvellous thing, this create-your-own-reality-type adventure in a bottle. Literally, in a bottle.

While this is a completely brilliant idea, the execution is a little… hmm. This is my usual problem with Holt: fantastic premise, meh execution. The main issue I had was the wetness of the lead character, who has no idea what’s going on, but is manipulated throughout the book by characters who end up being less important than they’re set up to be.

The kicker is the ending: a long and unfortunately necessary chunk of exposition, where the lead explains exactly what the whole plot has been about – ‘cos it’s terribly complex and clever and everything. Which it sort of is, but that ending is a damp fizzle out. Sigh. I do keep reading them, though, don’t I?

Paperback: 370 pages / 5 sub-divided parts
First published: 2013
Series: YouSpace book 1
Read from 7th-11th October 2015

My rating: 5/10

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