Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Review: Mercury Falls

(A serious review about a funny book. I can do that every once in a while!)

This is why I don't do reviews much on this blog: I read this book when I was in the midst of chic #4's infancy, and like most of my life, forgot every detail except "this is nice and I wish I had more sleep." I reread it this summer, and in the meantime, now the author (Diesel from
Mattress Police, aka Robert Kroese) has gone and published another book, The Force is Middlin in This One. A day late and a buck short, as usual, but here's the review.


The Shack it ain't.

Mercury Falls is a novel about Galileo Mercury, a loner cherub who enjoys Ping Pong and "missed the meeting" about the Apocalypse. He meets Christine, a spunky yet world-weary news magazine reporter of all things Apocalyptic, who has gotten a great deal on linoleum, a choice news story, and has recently escaped death with a attache case. They become entangled in a situation as to whether to assassinate or protect the Antichrist, who seems to be a clueless middle aged man named Karl, chosen in a Harry Potter style book series giveaway, who's clearly in it for the free food and part-time employment. Confusion ensues.

First, let me give you the goods: this is one clever book. And funny, truly laugh-out-loud funny in spots, while smiling throughout the rest. If you have read the Douglas Adams books, well, Doug and Rob were literary twins separated at birth. I tell you, I'd give you a few choice quotations, but just open the book and you'll find one. The other good is that this book is smart. Not overbearing smart, but Kroese knows some things about the apocalypse, millenialists, and predestination vs. free will arguments, and you see it in the book. In my opinion, those goods really make it worth the read.

The "not as goods" (at least for some people who will be reading this blog, and for me): You have to take this book as a complete "we're just having fun" romp with hints of real meaning in it--but just hints. Even so, the whole conceit of the angels as a bungling bureaucracy grated on me, even when played for humor. It really doesn't square with good theology about the angels at all--AT ALL. So, you have to let it go. It's not that kind of book, and doesn't claim to be. The other piece is that I think the book could be about 1/5 shorter. That's not to say it dragged--it actually picks up and moves quickly throughout--but there is so much going on I was having a hard time keeping it straight (which is part of the fun, I know, but still, a little character and plot confusion goes a long way). It does make sense (mostly) in the end.

So, in the intriguing world of "no accidents", I reread this book and The Shack back to back. The Shack is an earnest allegory that clearly intends to move people to embrace a God of love. It largely works in that intention. Mercury Falls is a romp with much satire regarding American Christian culture, and how we Christians, who claim we cannot know the day or the hour, strive to know the day and the hour. It isn't going to further your life in God. But it will make you laugh: the humor, imho, is worth it.

I really look forward to the promised sequel (Mercury Rises), as well as Diesel's work in general. He's a talented writer and a very funny man (whose Calvinist stripes occasionally blink in neon colors). I encourage you to check it out (you can e-read the first 50% on Smashwords).

(P.s. Rated PG-13)


And hey, I just discovered Goodreads. If you want to "be my friend" on Goodreads, click here (and you can be Kroese's friend as well). If you're not familiar with it, it is a social networking website for book lovers--reviews and discussions galore, and lots of book giveaways and such. Very fun.

1 comment:

Jeff Miller said...

Just went on my list.