The Book of Joby
At first glance, this first novel by Mark J. Ferrari would seem to have a lot of potential. But then the first chapter begins, and everything is ruined.
A ludicrously pompous and oblivious Satan approaches God with an absurd wager, which God accepts. Despite the wager’s winning conditions having serious negative consequences for Satan (which is clumsily lampshaded despite or perhaps in order to set up the eventual reveal at the end of the book), he busily begins making life miserable for a child God has selected (in guise as King Arthur) as his representatiave/gaming piece.
Except this child was offered the choice to turn down this task, and accepted. And is quickly mislead by Satan (taking the form of Merlin) into striving to be perfect, which is presented to the reader as an effective stumbling block for corruption of the soul. Except… that’s precisely what Christianity tells its followers to do. And the true path of virtue? “Feed your heart.”
Basically, take everything that a hippie would object to in organized Christianity. That’s presented as evil and the work of the Devil. Now take everything that a hippie would approve of, and file down the sharp edges as bit. That’s God’s true path of righteous living. The emphasis is on feeling, and feeling good. Thought – especially to the degree that it inhibits, controls, or restrains emotion – is bad.
Imagine the most modern-liberal, watered-down form of Christianity you can imagine. This sugary pap of a book views that as restrictive and evil.
I am personally opposed to Christianity, and even I was offended and annoyed by the theology in this book. And the characterizations… ugh.
Summation: save yourself the 638 pages worth of reading and skip the novel.