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Sandman Slim: A Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 21, 2009
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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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.
Soon, however, his old boss, Lucifer himself, comes callilng, and Stark finds himself in a new job: protecting the Prince of Darkness while he makes a Hollywood biopic. Meanwhile, members of the Sub Rosa's oldest families start disappearing, Stark loses his government gig, and he meets a world-famous Czech pornstar who is way more than meets the eye. With the help of his grudging sidekick and disembodied head, Kasabian - along with the few friends he has in the world - Sandman Slim begins to unearth exactly what all of these things have in common, and the answer is far worse than he ever could have anticipated.
Unlike many sequels, "Kill the Dead" actually outshines its predecessor. Kadrey spins a great yarn, and the story never quite sits still. There are confrontations, plotting, violence, sarcasm, insults and rich description that make putting the book down difficult:
"I think the guy took out his spinal fluid and replaced it with tequilla. He's epically, gorgeously drunk. If his drunkenness had legs, it would be Alexander the Great and conquer the known world. Then it would puke for a week into a solid gold toilet it stole from Zeus's guest room."
The world of Sandman Slim is rich and compelling, and the author is continuously inventive. If you liked the first volume, you'll love this one.
As to the book, it's pretty darn good, lots of action with low odds of success for the main character. A strange ending, but with a promise of more adventure as Slim watches a video with a talking head.
Charms, spells and magic aren't my cup of tea, but the book is so well written, with lots of jokes and humor, that I can handle 400 pages worth, and I'm actually up for the next volume because the author is so darn talented. Good job.
I never give away any spoilers as I do not wish to encounter them myself (the old Golden Rule) but here is what I thought:
The premise of the book was occultist and interesting. There was a long period in the book when I did not know what to expect whereas once in a while it was very predictable. This was not too often and happens to the best novels sometimes. There was a point in which I had no idea how the parts of the story would be tied together but the author managed to do it (tip of the hat for bringing it together).
I almost did not finish this book as it did start a bit slower than what I like but it swiftly picked up the pace subsequently.
I found the character (the humanistic portion and nothing supra-physiological) likable and I found myself cheering him on sometimes in his quest. This novel is not perfect but I think it was the beginning of a series that will only get better. I am looking forward to starting the next in the series soon.
The biggest knock I had about it is how it felt like it sometimes toed the line between YA and Adult but in the end, it was a good read and listen.
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