Review: The Worm Ouroboros

The Worm OuroborosThe Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The literary quality of this book is superb, and the mythopoeic nature is paramount. However, the book lost my interest somewhere in Chapter 4.

The book is about the onset of a war between Demons and Witches. It has received praise from literary masters J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and it was on their recommendation that I began my study of it.

I was a little wary of reading a book that describes demons as heroes, and for me this intuitive thought has accreted into a general dislike for the underlying philosophy.

In Chapter 4, as the witches are plotting a sinister attack on the demons using dark magic my stomach began feeling queasy. I don’t mind seeing evil in a story––it does exist. Yet I hate it when an author engages me in the evil itself.

It confused me at first to feel this way about the story as the works of the authors mentioned above never left me feeling like that at all. While I thought about it, I remembered that another of my favorite authors, George MacDonald, had similar scenes of conjurations of dark magic in “The Light Princess,” yet those didn’t leave me feeling the same way at all.

I felt it unnecessary to continue. After a little more research I discovered that C.S. Lewis praised the sinister nature of the story, while J.R.R. Tolkien felt it to be rather rebarbative.

Three stars for its masterful handling of the Victorian literary style.

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  • πŸ™‚ Hopefully my readers will give me a pass on my book too! πŸ™‚

  • Oh, good. I just hope I pass the “blech” test. πŸ™‚

  • Glad you liked it:)
    Just to be clear: evil is a necessary…evil that must be in stories. It’s when an author engages in it, tries to excuse it for being what it is, or brings the audience beyond the point of a spectator and into the realm of a sympathizer that I have to stand away.
    I can’t exactly pinpoint what it was that bothered me about Chapter 4, perhaps it was that the narrator seemed to be flaunting his creativity here…? Maybe, I dunno. It just made my stomach go, ‘blech.’ Whenever that happens, it’s time to move on. Too many good books out there; never enough time.
    Your book is still sitting upright on my desk, waiting to be read:) I won’t judge you:) Ha ha.

  • You’ve piqued my interest. Too bad I can’t download only Chapter 4 to see what it was in the writing that turned you off. I hope my book doesn’t have the same effect on you, because I don’t shy away from depicting evil in a few scenes. I don’t see how I could have written it differently given the circumstances of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Still, maybe you’d be better off reading my second novel. It’s not nearly so grim!

    As for your review, I’d give it a 4.5 out of 5 simply because you managed to use three words new to my vocabulary. It’s apparent that I need to read a good deal more.