I don’t know how I managed to stumble across this review page on GoodReads.com, but I found it hilarious and accurate, so I wanted to share.
Keely rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the inconsolably confused
Shelves: contemporary-fiction, fantasy, religion, reviewed
“I usually like historical fiction, but this particular example has been so mitigated by the poorly-hidden didactic tautology of its too-many-cooks legion of anonymous authors and editors that it was rather difficult to enjoy. It also fell into a similar trap to the somewhat similar ‘Da Vinci Code’, in that it utilized a lot of poorly-researched materials and claimed them as fact.
A lot of the data matched up poorly with other historical accounts, especially when it came to numerical data. It seems that the authors of this book had a need for an epic beyond epics, and several bodycounts beyond the capability of a pre-modern war.
There was also a problem with the moral and ethical position presented by the book. Normally, I’m not one to nit-pick about such things, since the exploration of ethicism is an important and interesting philosophical task; but, again, this book went in so many different directions with it that it was difficult to keep up. Though the intermittent noir-ish first-person narrative made a lot of moral claims about peace and justice and acceptance, the actual actions depicted by the self-same ‘protagonist’ were often in complete contrast, such as when he killed all the people in the world except one family.
In fact, the entire book seemed to be filled with sensationalist violence, sex, and incest. It’s surprising that I haven’t heard more crimes blamed on this book, which often orders the reader to kill people by throwing stones at them (I’ve heard the sequel, the Qur’an, is even worse).
Eventually, I began to suspect that the book was some sort of in-joke. I think that when all of the editors and writers saw what the other ones were writing, they decided to take their names off the book. Eventually, I guess they just decided to pull a sort of ultimate ‘Alan Smithee'; but of course, once all culpability is gone, I think a lot of the authors lost their will to make this into a good book, and so it just got published ‘as is’.
I know there are a lot of fans of this book, which makes sense, I guess, since it is really a lot like that Da Vinci Code book, which was also a bestseller. It is pretty fantastical and has a lot of really strong characters, like Jesus (though he’s a bit of a Mary-Sue, isn’t he?) and Onan. One of the main reasons I read it was because there’s this really awesome Fanfic this guy Milton wrote about it, and apparently a lot of other authors were inspired by it, but I have to admit, this is one case where the Fanfic is a lot better than the original.
I guess it’s like how sometimes, the first example of a genre ends up not really fitting because it feels so unsophisticated and erratic. I know that it can take a long time to try to get these ideas down pat. Maybe someone will rewrite it someday and try to get it to make some sense. Then again, it wasn’t that great in the first place.
There was some really great writing in the book, though. Some of the poetic statements were really cool, like ‘do unto others’ or ‘through a glass darkly’, but I heard that those parts were stolen from Shakespeare, who stole them from Kyd, so I’m not really sure what to believe.
I think this is one of those cases where the controversy surrounding the book really trumps the book itself, like ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ or ‘Gigli’. In fact, the Bible is a lot like Gigli.”