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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