Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Jesus Pickle: ISCARIOT: A NOVEL OF JUDAS by Tosca Lee

Iscariot by Tosca Lee
I have gone and got myself into a rating pickle. I only read Iscariot: A Novel of Judas to approximately halfway and yet I feel it is okay to still give the book 3 stars out of 5. Usually I have a twinge of remorse when I rate a book I have not finished. In the case of Iscariot, however, I do not feel remorse at all. Because it was not the quality of the book itself that made me stop reading, it was the discovery that it was fantasy.

Calling it a fantasy may be a bit strong for those who believe in the miracles Jesus is said to have performed, but for those who are not religious and who do not believe in these kinds of miracles (I fall into both of these categories) this book cannot be anything but fantasy.
And that is the base from which my opinion stems.

I chose to read this book based on the marketing. Iscariot is marketed as the real story of Judas Iscariot. I took this, and the book's advertisements and promotional videos, to mean the book would be the story of Judas and Jesus, only without the supernatural elements. And yes, I honestly believe that if an author wants to write such a story, it is achievable.
I thought the author had written a book that would appeal to all. Irrespective of religion or religious stance. I thought she would keep the miracles and the supernatural elements within the realms of the plausible. So you can make of them what you will dependant upon where your beliefs lay.
If you wish them to be religious miracles they will be. If you wish them to be explainable they are. Clearly this was a mistake. To go into this book expecting an unbiased tale.
Tosca Lee blew a great opportunity to bring the story of Judas and Jesus to every kind of reader. She made this a book only for Christians and that is disappointing to me, because I have seen how interested people were in this book...until they tried it for themselves and discovered what I discovered. That Tosca Lee's religious miracles could not be rationalised.

On the other hand. It is a good book for Christians. I would recommend it to you if you are one. But if you are not, and you want to read a book that tells the story of Judas without the fantasy element. This is not the book you want.
And if you do want to read about religious miracles, the book you probably want is the bible.
If you want to read about miracles, you should probably just go to the source and read the real deal. Even being non religious as I am, I will admit, that apart from the writing being a lot better than this book, there is no better book to relate the story of Jesus and Judas than the bible itself. Not sure why anybody would want to rewrite a story from the bible and not re-purpose it to accommodate readers from all walks of life...but, there it is.

I gave it three stars. I had to be honest about what I was reading. The book is nicely written. Sure, it is not rocket science and there are no literary high wire acts here. It is not as well written as the quotes on the book say and that the Christian reviewers make it out to be. I do not mean it is poor writing, or naïve writing. No. It is good enough. It is just not clever or broadly skilful.
Up until a point I was enjoying the book. If the implausible had not shattered the serenity, this may have been a 4 star book for me.
Since I cannot blame the book for not being what I had expected of it, I had to rate it based on how the book was making me feel up until the point I threw it in.
And that feeling lands somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. Seeing as I did not finish it, I figure 3 is good enough.

- MM

No comments:

Post a Comment