by Hal Duncan.
I wanted to like this book, but I didn’t.
No, I liked it enough to finish it – almost more to see whether the ending would work than to find out what happened, which was that there was going to have to be a sequel.
It looks like a lot of people liked it unabashedly, which confuses me.
The book is “about” a guy who’s looking for a book, called the Book of All Hours, which may or may not contain the actual Word of God. However, it turns out this book is just a doorway for the real story, which is that our world is just one fold in a multiverse parchment call the Vellum, which is the entirety of creation. You follow various versions of the characters through various nonlinear timelines, learning the angels and demons are at it again, and more pissed off at the independent agents than each other.
One, it’s disorienting, and it’s me saying this, having truly enjoyed James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Two, it’s bland. You don’t spend more than a few pages with a character before he’s killed off and you shift to another multiverse.
Three, it’s all been done before. What? You’re expecting me not to have read Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash? Or Roger Zelazny’s Amber series? Or Umberto Eco’s Foucalt’s Pendulum? Or Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson’s and Illuminatus! Trilogy? How about not having read John Crowley’s Little, Big? Okay, granted, most people haven’t read all those, but I have, and I can see that Vellum is a mishmash of the good parts of those books, with little plot an no characters. Also, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere has better thugs. By far.