Review: The Book of Doom / Author: Barry Hutchison / Publisher: HarperCollins / Release Date: Out Now
The Book of Doom is a sort of sequel to Hutchison’s previous book, The 13th Horsemen, in the sense that it’s part of the Afterworlds universe. This is a world in which Gods, demons and monsters lurk just round the corner, but all of them seem to be cartoonish and silly, rather than horrifying manifestations of mankind’s greatest worries.
This time round, we follow the actions of a 15-year-old boy called Zac who, having fallen on hard times, has taken to being a master jewel thief on the side. This extremely unlikely hero is recruited (rather reluctantly) by the forces of Heaven to retrieve the titular Book of Doom from Hell; a book that contains everything that has and will ever happen between it’s pages. Obviously, having such a thing in the hands of Demons is a very bad thing, so the young lad teams up with a half angel called Angelo, and on the way they pick up a young Valkyrie looking for some fun.
Or to put it another way; this is a very silly book. Hutchison is the master of making the ridiculous believable, at least until he’s finished setting up the next gag. This is a book aimed squarely at children as well as those who like their comedy wacky and daft. Fans of the likes of The Beano will find a lot to love here.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have a solid plot; Hutchison layers on the ideas quite thickly in places, and even though this a romp through mythology, it’s packed with some great notions and has just enough depth to make even the most jaded of hearts smirk at least once. If you ever thought that Good Omens lacked slapstick and puns or if you just fancy a simple read that will make you laugh without being too challenging, this is for you.