Am höchsten bewertete kritische Rezension
am 3. Juli 2014
The story of a 'naturally good' boy born into a society where wickedness is considered the ideal has some appeal and results in a lot of reading fun. As he leaves home to fulfill his quest, Waldo tries hard to be evil yet cannot hide his true kindness, especially when he acquires a 'slave' who, in her turn, considers herself his wife and equal. Try as he might, Waldo succeeds neither in putting her in her place nor in stopping her from loving him. Because, of course, being really kind inside, he cannot stop himself from loving her back.
There's a lot of humor in that, peaking in some hilarious scenes. In terms of entertainment, I would give it 4 stars, maybe even tending to 4.5. But there are a few things that annoy me.
For one thing, this whole good-evil reversal just doesn't really work. I think it was C.S.Lewis who wrote something like: `only good can be desired for itself, evil can only be desired for the good it might bring'. This may sound abstract, but it's exactly what the book often stumbles over. Just two examples: (1) Waldo's mother Lilith is described as one of the most evil persons alive, and proud of it, yet the whole story wouldn't work without her often acting from love. (2) Waldo thanks anyone who tells him he is cruel, because he takes that as a compliment - but hasn't he been taught that being thankful is not a desirable trait, and shouldn't he at least try to eradicate it? Such scenes and dialogues are funny but also pretty incongruent.
Then there's the lack of development. In Waldo's peculiar position regarding ethics, his travels and experiences should lead to discovery, questioning of his beliefs, and change both conscious and unconscious. Exploring that would have been worthwhile. Instead, Waldo stays exactly the same from beginning to end (and, by the way, right down to the end of Book II). What some reviewers regard as character development is, in my opinion, pure opportunism: yes, he learns some manners, but not from any conviction that his former behavior has been wrong but for purely pragmatic reasons: better manners make for an easier life.
And finally, there is the question of who this book is intended for: it's written in a simple, childlike language (not to mention the load of typos), and the whole good-evil topic is treated in a naive childlike way. Yet for children, there are far too many horrors, from skeleton armies to an undead grandfather trying to kill his grandson. This in itself is another element I don't enjoy, since I'm not really into horror stories.
But after all this complaining, the fact remains that reading this book was a lot of fun. So, judge for yourself whether it is for you or not.