The Book of Malachi by T. C. Farren – A Book Review

Book of Malachi

Blurb:

In this frightening, high-concept science fiction thriller, a mute survivor of civil war must confront the horrors of organ farming on a deep-sea oilrig.

Nominated for the 2020 Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction by Africans .

Malachi, a mute thirty-year-old man, has just received an extraordinary job offer. In exchange for six months as a warden on a top-secret organ-farming project, Raizier Pharmaceuticals will graft Malachi a new tongue.

So Malachi finds himself on an oilrig among warlords and mass murderers. But are the prisoner-donors as evil as Raizier says? Do they deserve their fate? 

As doubt starts to grow, the stories of the desperate will not be silenced not even his own. Covertly Malachi comes to know them, even the ones he fears, and he must make a choice if he wants to save one, he must save them all. And risk everything, including himself. 

Author: T. C. Farren

Publisher: Titan Books

Release Date: 13/10/2020

Pages: 324

Genre: Science Fiction

My Chosen Format: Paperback

My Rating for ‘The Book of Malachi’: 3 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon UKAmazon USAudible UK, Audible US

Review:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I had a really hard time getting through this one. Nothing to do with the concept or the hard-hitting morality questions. It was because of the writing style. I really did not enjoy T. C. Farren’s style. Every sentence, it seemed, had an adjective, sometimes two. A fair amount of the time these adjectives were used to describe things in such an abstract way that you had to stop and try to figure out just how that description in any fit what was being described.

I think the best way to describe the writing was that she tried far too hard to make it far too literary. All it achieved was confusion and a pace that was so slow that, even a speed-reader would have struggled to burn through the pages very fast.

Malachi’s bizarre obsession with sounding like a thesaurus was frustrating. He described his throat as a larynx, his fingers as phalanges, air as oxygen … everything was very prim and proper and educated. Until he talked about his rear end which was always his ‘bum’ rather than gluteus maximus (which would have tied in with his strange fascination with proper names of things).

It’s a shame, as I really liked the concept. The moral dilemma that Malachi finds himself in ‘do I help these criminals, in whose bodies are being grown organs to help the needy, or do I free them from this living torture?’ was an inspired and intriguing story idea.

Sadly, the slow pace and frustrating descriptions made it hard to get my teeth fully into this story. When I did, I enjoyed it. I liked the concept and thought it had real potential. But, that potential was hampered by characters that had no character. Malachi tends to forty prisoners, only a handful of which we know the names of (the rest being barely referenced. Ever.) Out of that handful who had names, even fewer had any actual character work put into them. They were, for the most part just names and their crime ‘John Doe the thief’ etc … Even the characters that Malachi worked with barely had any flair to them. They had jobs and names and were barely defined in any other way than that.

Malachi’s obsession with electrocuting his genitals every time he felt the slightest bit of arousal was strange and added next to nothing to the plot.

For the most part, I felt it would be a two out of five but was swayed by the last thirty pages or so. The ending took the pace from parked to second gear and it felt like a breath of fresh air because of this. Despite the ending being left open to the reader’s imagination somewhat, I still felt happy with how everything got wrapped up and just wish that Farren had injected that same level of pace and excitement into the whole novel. Because, beyond that, it was pretty much just a guy clipping forty peoples’ finger and toenails with an awful lot of memory sequences thrown in mid paragraph that just confused the heck out of me as to why they didn’t have their own part.

12 thoughts on “The Book of Malachi by T. C. Farren – A Book Review

  1. If a man had written a book with a female character electrocuting herself every time she felt aroused, you can bet there would have been a storm of “mysogyny” tweets and probably some campaigns to get the author banned from “All the Awards”.

    But change it to a man and suddenly, it’s an award winner. What a world we live in…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Equality, right?

      As I said, concept was good but the writing really didn’t suit my reading style. So, purely from a personal stand point, I’ll be hesitant to check other SA authors out if this is classed as one if the best 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Man…that is really a shame ! When I read the description I got really excited for it as that sounded like on heck of a great premise. But then after reading the rest of your review, this has really become a pass. Definitely don’t like those kind of writing styles 😔 Oh well..can’t win them all I guess😅

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel like this might’ve worked better as an audiobook? Or maybe worse. I dunno 😂

    Then I got to the part about electrocuting genitals and forgot what else I was going to say.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I listened to the audio sample. Wasn’t a huge fan of it. I think the sentence structures are just too clunky for my tastes.

      But yea, the genital self-mutilation ( that never really had any explanation for it) was far too common and far too unnecessary. It felt like the author was just trying to force shock value in cheaply.

      Liked by 1 person

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