The Absolute Book

Elizabeth Knox
The Absolute Book Cover

The Absolute Book


Somewhere in this 650-page book, there's a decent 350-page portal fantasy. I wish the editor had had the gumption to find it.

The prose has some nice descriptive aspects, but it is very oblique, in that it does a lot of jumping from point A to point C: C seems to be a non sequitur or a "huh, what?" in relation to what has gone on before, and the reader is apparently supposed to infer how the story got from A to C.

The worldbuilding is sort of a mishmash of beliefs from various religions and mythologies, and it's not terribly coherent.

For me the biggest issue is that the main characters seem very flat; the reader is told that they develop feelings for others or have emotional resposes, but rarely actually sees it happening. There's a real detachment from the characters in the narrative, which made it hard for me to feel invested in them or care what happens to them.

I really wanted to like this book and made myself read all the way to the end in the hope that there would be a good payoff. The ending does redeem it somewhat, but ultimately, I found it dissatisfying.