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Butcher Bird: A Novel of the Dominion Paperback – July 1, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Buffyand Angel fans are likely to enjoy Kadrey's offbeat supernatural romp, which blends demonic evil and quirky humor. The relatively normal life of San Francisco tattoo artist Spyder Lee goes thoroughly crazy when he's rescued from a mugger by Shrike, a mysterious blind woman who reveals that Lee's assailant was actually a demon. The wounds he suffered in the assault give him the ability to see the Dominions, other spheres of existence that regular mortals are unaware of. Soon Spyder finds himself hip-deep in demonic trouble, protecting his friend Lulu by offering his body to the organ-collecting Black and then dragging her off to join Shrike on a madcap journey to Hell, where they encounter monsters, Lucifer and even an alternate-time version of Lee himself. Kadrey (Kamikaze L'Amour) juxtaposes gore and brash insouciance in the face of apocalyptic evil, a blend that may not suit everyone's taste. (July)
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About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey has published nine novels, including Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, Aloha from Hell, Devil Said Bang, Kill City Blues, The Getaway God, Killing Pretty, Butcher Bird, and Metrophage, and more than fifty stories. He has been immortalized as an action figure, his short story Goodbye Houston Street, Goodbye, was nominated for a British Science Fiction Association Award, and Butcher Bird was nominated for the Prix Elbakin in France. A freelance writer and photographer, he lives in San Francisco, California.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books; First Edition edition (July 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597800864
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597800860
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #521,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Richard Kadrey has been characterized as a 'poor man's Neil Gaiman'. Actually, the comparison does both writers a disservice: if Gaiman were a German Shepherd, cerebral, loyal and mostly friendly, Kadrey is a junkyard dog out to kick some...

The differences between the authors are more obvious than that, though: almost all of Kadrey's fantasy writing is firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian theology of angels and devils; Gaiman tends to write using Celtic and Norse mythology. Where Gaiman writes airy or bloody fantasy; Kadrey's writing reminds one more of grease and dirt.

Kadrey is what would happen if a J.D. Salingeresque novel tripped through tattoing and motorcycle mechanic school and accidentally ingested something slightly hallucinogenic. Indeed, this book was apparently partially self-published, which makes it all the more amazing that it's so engaging. It's well worth the ride.
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Format: Paperback
When I had 50 pages left to go in this book, I put it down for two days. I knew I'd read those 50 pages at the same breakneck pace I had raced through the rest of the book. And I wasn't ready for this to be over - I wasn't ready to leave the world of Richard Kadrey's Butcher Bird, to leave Spider and Shrike and Lulu and all the rest, behind.

Of course, I finished the book and it ended exceptionally well, but I shouldn't have been worried. The world is so vividly realized that, as I pass the book on to other people, I get to visit it again every time we talk about the story.

Kadrey's prose is visceral, his characters utterly realistic. The magical elements of his world compel you to believe in them.

The editing on the book, however, could have been tighter. My copy was rife with typos and transposed words. It's a testament to how good the writing was that I was able to overlook the error rate and still enjoy - indeed, thoroughly love - the story!
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Format: Paperback
A really interesting angle on religion is in the heart of this story. Genuinely original ideas consistently appear in it's pages and a solid plot twist or two make it a generally enjoyable read.

That said, it has some problems. Most prominent among them is the dialogue. It feels synthetic a lot of the time: Like the counterculture that the author is trying to embody - that of tattoo parlors, punk rock and erotica - is nothing but a caricature of the reality. References to sex and emotion are particularly hollow, and oftentimes forced in for no particular reason.

There is also a pretty serious editorial problem. There is a pretty high volume of typos and grammatical errors in the published text. Although one or two are forgivable, the amount in this book is sort of ridiculous.

All in all, a worthwhile read. I'm interested in the authors future, but for now he comes off as the poor man's Neil Gaiman.
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Format: Paperback
Interesting book. The "I'm really cool and my main character is wisecracking and this world is way weird and I'm going to play games with whether Lucifer is evil and what demons are and... and... and..." breathlessness is old hat, of course, but it never gets to the annoying "breathless" stage and the cheap one-liners are actually funny. I kept handing pages to my gf to read.

The plot: our protagonist learns about multiple worlds and layers of invisible weirdness, sells his body to the supposedly-good-guys who keep the universe in balance (but who are hated and feared for destroying people at random) to save his best friend from being killed by them, joins up with an assassin because she's cute and he's gormless, agrees to go to Hell to steal a magic book (dragging along his best friend), meets allies along the way, and ultimately has to learn to shut up and trust himself enough to destroy the universe to save it.

Like I said, old hat, but not truly tiresome. And some of the jokes are great. The character development is subtly handled and pretty nice, especially since it's never really commented-on after a change, only before.

The deus(?) ex machinae are fine. This kind of book needs some. The side characters are fun. The locations are entertaining and no one stays around long enough for them to get tiresome.

The best part is the lack of pretension in the main character. He's pretension enough for the setup, but he knows it and doesn't try to hide (most) of his flaws. He's willing to admit mistakes and he doesn't mind acting like a not-hero. Actually, learning to act like a hero is part of his arc.

Throughout the book, I kept thinking that it had snuck by as readable and enjoyable, but there was no way the next chapter would hold my interest without annoying me. But no chapter actually did annoy me enough to matter and they stayed interesting.

Worth a read if you like the genre.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read all of the Sandman Slim books so I thought I would give this a try. I believe this book was written before the Sandman Slim saga and there are definitely some similarities between the two. That said it is still Great read that could have carried on as it's own series. I even preferred the third person format over the 1st person model that most writers of the urban fantasy genre of adopted. So if you are waiting for the price to go down on the new Sandman Slim, but want your Richard Kadrey fix, check this one out.
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