Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
After his last fight turned him away from the world of professional boxing, Orlando took his cruiserweight title and retired to run a youth mission. But when a hotel incident leaves the world’s current heavyweight champion in want of revenge against Orlando, an old legal agreement forces the retiree back into the ring in The Champion by author Carman Licciardello.
While Christian pop culture (especially from the ’90s) knew Carman as a music artist and evangelist, I was curious when I found out he authored this 2001 novel that a movie by the same name is based upon. Though I wasn’t a fan of the movie when I saw it years ago, my longtime ChristFic-loving self wanted to see how the book would compare.
Although the writing is grammatically correct, much about the novel’s style is like that of a beginner. There are far more dialogue tags than necessary, and the characters say each other’s names over and over while they talk to each other. The story is full of clichés, from the preaching/evangelizing to the characterizations, and there’s no subtlety as the narrator offers commentary about the characters, especially as the story keeps patting the hero on the back for his range of virtues and accomplishments.
The love story is poorly developed and reads like another accomplishment for Orlando: “God had meant for them to be together… She was His gift for a job well done.” And a joke from the hero about his need for sex serves as the lead-in to his marriage proposal to the beautiful woman God is rewarding him with for living a good life.
Plot wise, I found the read to be slow. But I stuck with it because it isn’t a long novel and the ramping-up of the boxing side of the plot got me interested enough at the halfway point to keep reading through to the end.
This author wrote another boxing novel before his passing. Although it’s unlikely that I’ll check that one out, I’m glad I gave this earlier one a look as I continue my journey through ChristFic old and new.