Thursday, July 5, 2018

Powerful Pages: Baal by Robert R. McCammon (1978)

Powerful Pages: Baal by Robert R. McCammon (1978)

McCammon notes in the afterword that Baal was both his first novel and an "Angry Young Man" book, and it reads as such.  With that in mind, while it is energetic and compelling from start to finish, it is crude and simplistic enough at times to border on being amateurish.  Those who have never experienced McCammon's wild imagination should surely start elsewhere, and those who are accustomed to his more profound works will find this one far too elementary to share a shelf with titles like Carrion Comfort or Gone South.  Yet anyone marching in without any expectations may find this provocative battle between good and evil to be bold and shocking enough to rate it far higher than I can.  There are some creative flourishes, and the violent passages (of which there are a great many) are forceful and dynamic enough to have a powerful impact on the reader.  I did enjoy the three protagonists immensely, particularly Virga, and the settings were well drawn, so I don't mean to disparage this one without due cause.  In fairness, I should note that my first novel was also an "Angry Young Man" opus with apocalyptic leanings, and I keep that thing in a box where I pray no one ever finds it.  I'm positive that Baal towers above my first stab at bringing life to a book in every way, shape, and form, and this grim page-turner is not without its strengths.  As a whole, however, it is a bit underwhelming, and while I couldn't put it down, I did breath a sigh of relief when it finally reached its inevitable conclusion.  

Final Grade: C

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