6000 Pages 2011, Expecting Someone Taller – Tom Holt (pages 6366- 6589)


I was ill this week, had a cold, which involved spending the best part of two days in bed. As such I didn’t do much other than sleep, eat and read. Also I wanted to re-read something I knew I’d enjoy.

So, Expecting Someone Taller, is comfort food reading for me.

I first read it when it came out which was whilst I was a student. I’ve re-read it a few times since, once in the last few years (but before the blogging of every book modern obsession). I have to say that the first time I loved it, at mostly because of the ending. Subsequent reads I enjoyed it but certain flaws jumped out at me. It’s thoroughly in the category of guilty pleasure.

Expecting Someone Taller is the story of Malcolm Fisher who hits a badger with his car one evening. As he watches it die he discovers that it’s not just a badge but a shape-shifting giant. The giant gives Malcolm a helmet that allows him to become any person he wishes and a very special Ring. This sets off a series of events where a catalog of mythical characters, apparently real, are after Malcolm and more especially the Ring.

This is very much a comic fantasy in the Terry Pratchett mould. It does for Wagner’s Ring Cycle what Discworld does for fantasy in general.

It’s basically a rom-com with the fantasy elements thrown in. Malcolm, a nobody who’s just been dumped by his girlfriend, is suddenly in possession of the most powerful magical item of all. How will he cope and will it help or hinder his (theoretical) love-life?

I’m not sure I ever found this laugh-out-loud funny but it’s definitely amusing and light and warm-hearted. The main character is likeable, most of the time. As a younger man I enjoyed the rom- part of it and the associated happy ending. I guess I still do though with a slightly more cynical eye – except when I’m ill in bed and wanting a comforting view of the world.

8/10 – mythical nonsense and jolly good fun.

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About shuggie

My name is Shuggie, Paul or LatePaul depending on where you know me from. I work in computers (databases) and occasionally write about softw
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