Review: 1 Samuel 17
This is a short story within a larger collection, featuring themes of war, faithfulness and deliverance. It was written by some guy called Samuel. The main character of the whole book also seems to be called Samuel and he’s regarded as a bigshot, so this might all be some huge author insert kind of thing. I don’t know if it’s a pseudonym or what.
The narrative voice is a bit dry, formal and humourless, with a distinct overabundance of telling rather than showing, which didn’t work for me. This nation is having their arses handed to them by a superior army, and it comes down to one enormous badass soldier saying “hey, let me fight someone one-on-one and that’ll decide the war.” I don’t know why he did that since his side were already winning, but they needed to focus the action I suppose.
It’s a YA story I think? The hero of this story is pretty young. They don’t actually call him The Chosen One, but he’s a member of the Chosen People, so I think that’s implied. And of course he’s a farm boy (shepherd, but whatever) without military training. OF COURSE. He shows up at the military camp with bread and cheese for the troops, which is nice, of course. But let’s not forget: David is basically the pizza delivery boy.
None of the real soldiers want to fight Monster Man. But instead of saying “No, you’re some kind of nine foot mutant beast dude, and we don’t want to settle this war with a move that we’re gonna lose, so let’s get on with other kinds of fighting, k?” they faff about wondering what to do. Then David The Pizza Boy says “Hey, I’ll fight this guy!” and at first the commander just tells him no, you’re a farm boy pizza deliverer. So David is all, “Yeah, but… I’m really religious.”
Well you can imagine my heart sank there because there is NOTHING worse than a religious teenager. But the commander goes “Oh, you’re really religious? Fair enough. Go and hand our arses over to the Phillistines.”
David goes off in his shepherd outfit and he uses his slingshot and kills Monster Man. I feel that this payoff was a bit quick? It was all of three sentences. And if you walk it back to some of the other short stories, David and his slingshot start to feel more and more like a deus ex machina. I think Samuel wrote himself into a hole here. He built up all this tension and he didn’t know how to get the heroes out of it. So then they pull in the ol teenage farm boy trope. I feel like that’s been done too many times but to be fair to this book it is pretty old.
Not very rewarding and I doubt I’ll bother with the rest of the anthology, tbh. 2/5.