Friday, October 30, 2009

Fool's Gold

I debated whether or not to post my thoughts on the book "Fool's Gold" by Hank Quense or not. In the end, I decided that I would.

The description of the book from
Aliens, ancient gods, beautiful Valkyries, old-fashioned heroes, conniving nobles, betrayal, greed, incest, a magical gold horde; this story has something for everyone. Fafner, the most notorious criminal in the universe, is stranded on Earth after civilization has been ravaged by disease, war and pollution. He decides to hone his felonious skills by stealing the powerful artifacts developed by another alien, Alberich. But Alberich is determined to regain the artifacts or at least make Fafner pay for stealing them. Alberich's devices, made for the magical Rhinegold, give the user vast powers. The Chip, allows the user to receive information instantaneously from anywhere in the universe. The second device, called the Helm is a beanie-like hat that allows the wearer to see the life lines of every creature in the vicinity. Wotan, god of the Saxons and Vikings, has to recover the Rhinegold in order to prevent his aging. He recognizes the greatly enhanced power of the golden horde, thanks to Alberich's genius. He plans to make a big comeback and regain millions of worshippers. To take the devices away from Fafner, he needs an old-fashioned hero: one who is strong of arm and weak of brain. While these conflicts rage on, Brunnhilde, an ex-Valkyrie, searches for the meaning of true love. Despite a few false starts and some problems such as the wrath of the god Wotan and mean-spirited men, Brunnhilde struggles to understand mortal love while she seeks a good man to try it out on.

Unfortunately, this is a book I need to give a rating of "below average" to, despite being excited by reading the description. As I read it, I just couldn't help but feel that it read like a retelling of a myth, with no character development or depth at all. Since it was a "multi-generational" book, and a lot of characters just kept dying, perhaps the author didn't feel it necessary to expand on the characters or make them grow only to be killed off. But as a result, I felt less compassion or connection to the people in the story than I would hearing about someone's death on TV or reading about it in the newspaper.

I think it is an interesting idea that just needs to be worked on a little bit more.

Mr. Quense says that his story is a retelling of an ancient German myth other than the fact that he changed a couple of characters to aliens. And of course, that is his right to do. However, even with a retelling, I expect there to be more substance to a story.