10 November 2011

Book Review: To Join the Lost

Title: To Join the Lost
Author: Seth Steiznor
Publisher/Year: Antrim House / 2010
Date Finished: 8 November 2011
Source/Format: TLC Tours / Print
Book #: 84

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

The Short and Sweet of It
Seth Steinzor’s To Join the Lost revisits the route that Dante traveled through his Inferno, depicting the sights, sounds and scents of evil as they appear to a modern American. As with any great and ancient city, a lot has changed in Hell over the past seven hundred years. The travelers encounter horrors and escape new perils while dodging age-old invitations to self-destruction. Their adventures invite us to contemplate evil’s eternal and ever-changing nature.

A Bit of a Ramble
I love Dante's Inferno with an all-encompassing passion. I am not sure if that means I was predisposed to like this re-imagining or just the opposite. My first reaction to the idea of a modernization of Dante's Inferno was curiosity, followed shortly by derision, which slowly morphed back into curiosity. Whatever preconceived notions I had mean very little as I ended up truly enjoying the work and was happy to add it to my Inferno collection.

Just like the original Inferno, To Join the Lost is a wonderful combination of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, apropos punishments, and intriguing philosophy. While a small part of me worried that I would be distracted or frustrated or annoyed by the inevitable changes, I actually found most of them quite humorous and fitting. For example, I couldn't help but giggle when the entry to hell was paved with cubicles and paperwork instead of the sinner-tossing Minos.

I am most impressed that Steiznor made this work his own without neglecting or demeaning the original. While I, obviously, compared this to Dante's Inferno, I definitely could have read, understood, and enjoyed To Join the Lost without having read Inferno; at the same time, having read the original did not detract from my enjoyment. I feel like I may be harping on this fact a wee-bit, but seriously folks, a re-imagining of a story I love is held to a pretty high standard whether it's a parody, film, modernization, homage, re-workings, etc.

If you enjoy Inferno, or even if you haven't, I recommend picking this one up!

This Book Around the Web
If I've missed your review, let me know!

I received this as part of the TLC Book Tours, so be sure to check out the other reviews!

Question: What the phat is the appropriate word? Reworking, retelling, reimagining, homage, pastiche, etc.? Someone should do an in-depth post on all this. :)


  1. That's right you are the Inferno lady, aren't you? I think the idea of the road to hell being paved with cubicles and paperwork is hilarous!!!

  2. Trisha, thanks for your review. I am glad that you like my homage, especially since you are a fan of the Inferno.
    Sandy, Dante sets a high standard for low humor, what with his farting demons and all. I tried to keep up with him. Or down.

  3. I have heard varying things about this book, and am glad to hear your opinion on it. It sounds like something I might like, and although I haven't read The Inferno (it's on my list, I swear!) I would also like to read this one! It sounds like a great reworking. And as to your question, I have been known to use all of those descriptors in a review, so I am not much help :)

  4. I'm glad to hear you liked this! Especially since you are such a fan of Dante!

  5. This one sounds truly amazing. I love Inferno, and I'm totally intrigued by an update. Thanks for this review, Trisha!

  6. I'm impressed that you liked this one so much since you are such a huge fan of the original. Still, it sounds like the author did an amazing job with his version of the story.

    Thanks for being on the tour Trisha!

    (Hope you're feeling well and that everything is great with the alienette!)

  7. It's been a long time since I read any Dante, but I remember liking it in high school. Well, as much as one can like a book that supposedly depicted hell in its reality. o.O

    I'll see if this is at the library next time I'm there.

  8. Zibilee, Andi, if you read the book, stop by my web site and let me know what you thought.
    Couchpotatocritic, you won't find To Join the Lost at the library, at least not yet, but you can get a copy at my web site, tojointhelost.com, or at Amazon or from my publisher, Antrim House.

  9. It does sound like an interesting take on the Inferno. I'm SURE there would be cubicles in Hell!


Talk to me baby!