The Agony of the Gods: Softly Falls the Snow by Tom Wolosz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
BOOK DESCRIPTION: Who is killing the Gods? Man created The Machine. The Machine gave to each man or woman a world of their own design, to do with as they pleased. They became Gods – omnipotent, absolute rulers; but also vain, arrogant, hedonistic and brutal. Now someone is killing them. The enforcer, a servant of the Gods, is tasked with finding the killer, but first he must train a new apprentice. Given a list of worlds to investigate, they set out trying to find a key to the identity of a killer they cannot hope to overcome. In their travels they come across worlds dedicated to the study of butterflies, to the perfection of music, to eternal war, and to a magical storybook existence where animals talk and act like characters from a children’s story; and on each world they find a brutal disregard for the people who serve the Gods. As the death toll mounts, and the pressure from their masters to find the killer increases, they learn more and more about the strange universe of The Machine, and about themselves. But soon they face the ultimate question: is the killer a monster…or a hero?
MY REVIEW: A fascinating, though difficult, read. I got about a third of the way through and found I was really struggling to find the motivation to continue. It seemed slow and lacked tension - except for the relationship between the enforcer and the apprentice. But after reading all the glowing reviews of the book, I decided to push on - and am glad I did. THE AGONY OF THE GODS is a very different read to the usual fare - and so achieves the purpose of the publishers of the book to produce books that different. The story is actually pretty intriguing and delves into all sorts of issues in a very subtle way. The investigation of who is killing the “Gods” almost recedes into the background at times and focuses more on each of the worlds that the enforcer and apprentice visits and the issues going on there. Once I shifted my focus within the narrative, the book actually became quite enjoyable and I started wondering just where the author was going to take me. I don’t think this book will be for everyone. But if you are looking for something more sophisticated and “literary”, but with a tinge of mystery, then this might be for you. I’m looking forward, now, to the next book this author gifts us with.
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