- File Size: 3273 KB
- Print Length: 404 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reissue edition (January 8, 2010)
- Publication Date: January 26, 2010
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00338QF1E
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,888 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Sandman Slim: A Novel Kindle Edition
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Also, his powers are pretty much completely broken and the only thing keeping him in check is the fact that Kadrey never puts any sort of reasonable power system into the whole series of books. Things just "magically" work or don't depending on where the plot is supposed to go and this is probably my biggest gripe with the series. It's not much fun to have a power system that's this broken, guns/knives/fire/power of old Gods all boils down to about the same level of danger for characters and are relatively interchangeable. Pretty much no one can actually die until the author suddenly lets them and then you have no idea why this one type of magic/attack worked where it has failed in past encounters.
And the world, don't even get me started on it. They live in this weird universe where there is technically a planet called Earth but apparently is populated by LA and nothing else. No one ever leaves LA nothing takes place outside LA. If they somehow manage to leave LA for some reason, they only go to an alternate plane that is alternate-LA and is almost exactly the same. It's pretty hard to care around a world this simplistic, especially when the author is nihilistic and seems to actively hate LA and makes every effort to make it sound like a pretty miserable place.
Finally, this book is a bit weird from a religious angle. The first book is pretty decent, but we soon find out that angels and demons are pretty wimpy all things concerned and neither are particularly good or evil. God is not holy, the devil is not evil and they aren't very powerful either. Everything is kind of mashed together in a nihilistic, bland stew. Some surprises or reversals are interesting, but Kadrey somehow managed to make supernatural beings boring and mundane.
Despite all this, I still generally enjoyed the books. Not sure how, but they might be worth a read if you can put up with the cons.
Background: I typically buy my Kindle books as part of the Kindle Daily Deals and plan them for airplane reading or times when I am away from home and cannot do more exciting or responsible tasks. This means that my standards are not too high and I am looking for books in the beach read category under the fantasy/sci-fi genres. I try to rate fairly on the star scale and personally consider anything 3 stars and up to be fine.
Among the things I loved more was to read the thoughts of Sandman Slim about anything, specially about L.A. Los Angeles is a city that I know from movies an it is a kind of magic place so his point of view is fantastic as he seen it as if it was the first time: he is exploring L.A. with us. Without spoiling the story one of the most amazing parts is the trip to the famous Bradbury Building (if you are fan of Blade Runner you know this building) that turns an already spectacular place into something eerie and magical, specially I felt what I felt when I read Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth.
+ Characters. A demon fighting gladiator dropped onto the streets of LA, especially one that suffers from impulse control, make for an interesting novel.
+/- Writing. While including a large amount of internal thoughts and exposition, the writing was a-ok: it didn't impress or hinder the story.
+/- Tone. While i liked the general Noir/Anti-Hero tone that permeated most of the novel, the book sometimes became sidetracked. At these points it felt odd and misplaced.
- Plot Scope = Plot Holes. Numerous instances early in the book where characters know things they shouldn't. Later in the book the plot goes from 'revenge-plot' to a 'world-ending-conspiracy-plot'. The transition wasn't handled great. The 'villain' details and information feel rushed and poorly fleshed out.
Top international reviews
Sandman Slim is a not particularly original but entertainingly written, pure comic book action from beginning to end. As such, it's not going to be everybody's cup of tea. Don't read if you are looking for romance, fairies or subtlety. Do read if you like sardonic, violent anti-heroes, wanton destruction and supernatural horror reference spotting.
Stark is throw into the cosmic battleground, where there appears to be no good guys (the Angels do not come across as particularly angelic).
The book is written in the first person so we know what is going on in Stark’s head. The narrative tone is full of dark humour, sarcasm and conveys someone who is a bit full of himself; Stark allows his mouth to get him into trouble, as he normally speaks before he thinks. Despite this Stark is a likeable character. While we know Stark is not evil (despite what the Angels say), we see that he has his own crooked moral code – save his friends and seek revenge.
For me there were two flaws in this the book. The first was the use of Alice (Stark’s love interest before he ended up in hell), we never see the type of character she was or what Alice and Stark really shared. Instead she comes across as a device used by Kadrey so that we can sympathise more with Stark and see him as a flawed hero rather than a virtuous villain. The second is where did the name Sandman Slim come from. Even the title character is confused over the name choice and we never receive a sufficient answer.
Despite these flaws, Sandman Slim was a thoroughly enjoyable book, and was from beginning to end a roller-coaster ride.
This book is the start of an urban fantasy series with a difference. It has angels, hellions, Lucifer himself makes an appearance, anti-angels and any other ghoul you could imagine. Sandman Slim, a.k.a Stark, a.k.a. Wild Bill is a magician of immense skill that 11 years previously was sold out by his coven of magician friends and dragged to hell for eternity. During those 11 years Stark was effectively, a gladiator, used by the hellion upper echelons to fight any and every demon. But what no one foresaw was that Stark became immortal. Fast forward, and Stark is back on earth looking to kill everyone responsible for the death of his girlfriend Alice. Once back in sunny LA, stark gets to grips with technology and forms some unlikely alliances with people he doesn't usually deal with, and makes friends with some usual characters.
This book has tonnes of action and is a page turner from the get go. Kadrey has an easy to read writing style and there are some great passages that made me laugh our loud. The characters are likeable and the story line is gripping. I can't wait to start reading the next book in the series, Kill the Dead.
If I now have your attention come in take a sit let's talk. If like me you have been following the trend of urban fantasy you maybe familiar with other authors and heros or antiheros in the series.
You may like Hellboy or Constantine. You may also be more familiar with books than comics. Ok so how about Harry Dresden, Anita Blake, Mercy Thompson and Nate Temple? If you have read one or more of these types of books then hopefully your still here as this is where it gets good.
Sandman slim isn't like the others, he is in your face he's angry and he isn't crying about his crabby day. Yes as a character he has flaws and makes mistakes but they are within his character not world breaking trying to string the book out.
I've recommended this series several times and no one I got to pick it up hasn't finished it or didn't want to talk about it or recommend it to others.
The book often feel like a discount Hellblazer, Stark is similar to Constantine but lacks the humour of the better Hellblazer stories.
The plot is straight-forward, there are a few twists but the aren't very surprising since there are so many different back-stories etc being introduced that any plot device could be explained away.
It is clearly intended as the start of an open ended series, not a lot of depth or originality but some slightly gritty style, a guilty pleasure rather than anything special.
"Why'd you come back?" a bartender asks him.
"I'm going to kill some people... Probably a lot of people."
Survival in Hell, where in his eleven years of incarceration he has fought and been scarred by innumerable gladiatorial battles in demon thronged arenas, has been a tough learning curve. Unknowingly metamorphosed to the eponymous Sandman Slim, he's going to need that experience to survive in a world dominated by demons, vampires, judgemental angels - and worse.
Welcome to the creative universe of author, Richard Kadrey. It isn't a world for the squeamish - those too delicate for cantankerous behaviour, hard-core swearing and the philosophy that goes with it. It most certainly isn't the world for the devoutly religious, who might resent impious references to god, angels, and all of the rest of the Christian pantheon, and who might become apoplectic with the novel's alternative explanation for the origins of angels, humans and life in general. For the humour, consider... "I am parked on a major thoroughfare in a stolen van. I have no shirt... I'm dragging around a dead guy accessorized with building materials. This is not a precise or subtle situation. This is a situation for mindless violence and brute force. First good news I've had all day."
I suspect you have the idea by now. Lightning pace. Darker than jet humour. Irreverence piled on top of irreverence with a JCB shovel. Sword fights with angels. Beings worse than devils on your hero's tail. Battles involving the FBI, Homeland Security and a hero in no mind to consider saving the world. In other words, expletive-most-certainly-not-deleted filthy-ass fun.
I am now on the fourth book of the series, this one being book one. Overall I would thoroughly recommend this book and series.
We are told the story by the titular character, also known as James Stark, but renamed Sandman Slim by the denizens of Hell and other monsters. Eleven years ago, he was betrayed by his friends and now he only has one thing on his mind: revenge. However, he may need to rethink his strategy when he discovers there is much more on the line than simply getting even.
Kadrey creates a brilliant anti-hero in Stark, someone we know is deeply disturbed and damaged and not a person we would want to be friends with, yet we root for him the whole way through the story. His shattered humanity does shine though on occasion, as when he defends those characters that need protection, hinting to us that he is not beyond redemption.
There is a lot of comparison to Dresden Files and Felix Castor being bandied around about this series, but Sandman Slim is far grittier than either of these series. The one thing it did have in common for me was that when I finished this book I wanted to pick the next one up straight away. This is a fun, action-packed assault to the senses and the imagination and if you are in any way wanting more bite to your urban fantasy, pick this up! You won't be disappointed.
For Jim butcher & Mike Carey fans definately - but darker & bloodier.
Kadrey's novel is darker than most urban fantasy. It's full of violence and snappy dialogue making it very fast-paced. Kadrey uses pop culture references, slang and has a dark sense of humour. These combine to create an easy read with some really funny moments.
The protagonist, Stark, steals cars, uses Hellion magic and racks up a sizable body count. He isn't a particularly complicated character - he's motivated by vengeance and usually wants to beat someone up. Of course, being an anti-hero, he smokes and drinks and wears a long coat. Despite all this, I found him entertaining and sufficiently sympathetic.
Kadrey's L.A. is dark and sleazy and the hidden 'sub rosa' (magic) community doubly so. Angels are less likeable than Lucifer and many of the characters are morally ambiguous.
This doesn't have the imagination or wonderful writing of Gaiman's novels and is less likely to appeal to those who aren't already fans of urban fantasy. It would likely appeal to fans of Aaronovitch's 'Rivers of London' series, Butcher's Dresden series or Griffin's Matthew Swift novels.
Maybe at times the author tried a little too hard to be `shocking' but that is only a minor misgiving. There is a fair amount of violence and swearing but it is not too excessive.
It works as a thriller/crime novel and as `urban fantasy.
Great descriptions, some nice little touches - some very memorable lines. This is a series I really can't wait to get more into.
Do yourself a huge favour - get Sandman Slim now.