Monday, September 10, 2012
This weekend I finished the first entry in the fantasy fiction genre, Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim. Having been (and still) an avid reader of Jim Butcher's Dresden series, all I can say is move over Harry, at least a bit, because I enjoyed this series as much as I enjoy that one. James Stark (Sandman Slim) is an angry, revenge-seeking mythological human/something else who returns from Hell to eliminate the miscreants who sent him to the underworld in the first place. There, as the first human, he is forced to fight in the arena, where surprisingly he finds he cannot die and does well in defeating his Hellion opponents. The result of his battles is that he becomes increasingly stronger and proficient in battle, and he yearns to avenge the death of his beloved Alice. Like Jim Butcher, Kadrey has constructed a world filled with unusual and vibrant characters who infest a major city, this time Los Angeles instead of Chicago, who clash and connive like the demons and angels they are. Slim's sidekicks include Candy, a blood-drinking Jade (kind of like a violent, seductress vampire); Vidocq, a several century old French alchemist; Allegra, a smart video-store employee who is brought into his new circle; Kinski, an otherworldly (I don't want to ruin it for you) magical healer; and a host of lesser characters who are interesting and destined to continue to play roles, I am sure, in the future books. Kadrey is a bit more blasphemous and violent than Butcher, but entertaining in much the same way. There are frequent references to pop culture and witty observations on the dark side of life in the City of Angels (which seems apt). I really couldn't put down the volume, and I know I will be spending a lot of time with Sandman, much in the same way I did when I came under Butcher's spell.