Saturday, October 17, 2009

_Sandman Slim_ by Richard Kadrey

Cover art is from the Harper Collins folks, who presumably would love for you to click on it and go visit them.

Lessee....I devoured this one in just a few days. I liked the premise immediately: dead guy comes back from hell to get revenge on those who sent him there.

It's rather well done, but not too deep. By the end, it resembled the Dresden Files more than I liked...the main character ends up with a situation that seems designed to set him up as a wizard-solver-of-problems, with a sidekick quite similar to one of Dresden's.

However, I thought Butcher's books took several goes to get good. I thought the third Dresden book was fantastic, but was lukewarm on the first. This book was a wild ride from the start. And the Dresden correspondences didn't strike me as being too close until I got near the end.

I label stories like this one "celestial", because I needed a label in my database/journal for stories about angels and devils and the hierarchies of heaven and hell. As with vampire books, the fun of these is that every author essentially sets out to reveal to you the true story of these supernatural beings, with the result that the author comes up with some new twists on the standard genre rules for them.

Here, the charm lies in having some details about hell, which is given a language and denizens called Hellions. The main character has brought some tools with him from hell: a magic item so powerfu as to make you wonder how he was allowed to steal it, and some hellish magic. In fact, he used to be a fancy wizard on earth, and now has trouble with ordinary earth magic, which is a nice touch.

I enjoyed this book, but I never quite understood why it's called Sandman Slim. I mean, the main character eventually gets labelled that, but I don't recall a reason for it, so the connection never resonated with me. And since that became the title, it ought to have been a stronger connection.

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