Sandman Slim must save himself-and the entire world-from the wrath of some enraged and vengeful ancient gods in this sixth high-octane adventure in the New York Times bestselling series
Being a half-human, half-angel nephilim with a bad rep and a worse attitude-not to mention temporarily playing Lucifer-James Stark aka Sandman Slim has made a few enemies. None, though, are as fearsome as the vindictive Angra Om Ya-the old gods. But their imminent invasion is only one of Stark’s problems right now. LA is descending into chaos, and a new evil-the Wildfire Ripper-is stalking the city.
No ordinary killer, The Ripper takes Stark deep into a conspiracy that stretches from Earth to Heaven and Hell. He’s also the only person alive who may know how to keep the world from going extinct. The trouble is, he’s also Stark’s worst enemy . . . the only man in existence Stark would enjoy killing twice.
Before I get into the meat of the review, I wanted to highlight that I love the cover art of this newest entry in the Sandman Slim series. It looks like a movie poster, which seems so appropriate as Kadrey’s books are like the old noir films of Hollywood but with a modern twist.
In Sandman Slim’s latest adventure, Stark is trying to stop the Angra Om Ya, the Old Gods, from devouring the world. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Well, as with most of the Sandman Slim books, it’s anything but simple. As he’s quick to remind us, the angel half of Stark cramps his usual style but it doesn’t figure in to the plot as much as it did in some of the previous volumes.
Kadrey does a good job balancing the present action and reminding the reader of key details from previous books. Fun fact about Stark’s lady friend, Candy: she likes wood prints of medieval monsters (which, I have to say, resemble aquatic sea creatures more than anything so they end up looking hilarious and weird instead of scary).
As with the previous volumes, the same dark and twisted humour is ever-present and skillfully doled out. I also loved Stark’s interactions with a centuries-old mummy, Ishiro, whose instant antagonism and dislike for Stark makes for some hilarious exchanges of barbs. But more than the trading insults, I liked that the mummy challenges Stark’s beliefs and ideologies and forces him to consider other beliefs. Ishiro is essentially brought in as a mystical monk to help Stark figure out how the god-killing weapon he has works (and ideally, how to prevent it from getting into the wrong hands. Or hands worse than Stark’s, at any rate).
As a side note, I pictured James Hong in my head when I was thinking of the Ishiro character and pictured him as looking something like this:
In addition to more face time with Munnin, the guy who Stark made the new Lucifer, we get to learn more about Candy, the Jade, Stark’s main squeeze and she has a higher profile role in this volume than she has had since her introduction.
Kadrey reminds us of the distinction between Hell and Tartarus. There’s also a new war in Heaven, with angels eating their own kind (which can’t be pretty). But the second, and more intense conflict, of the book comes from a character who reminds readers that, as with comic books (and now, it seems, every show on the CW network) the characters you think are dead should never be dismissed of as never making another appearance in the series. And that’s all I’ll leave it at. It makes for heightened tension to an already tense, stressed-out Sandman Slim and raises the stakes in ways that surprise even him.
Even after so many books in the series, Kadrey finds new ways of keeping his loyal readers entertained and interested in the exploits of Sandman Slim, and this volume is one of the most explosive ones of the series so far. It makes for riveting reading and an ending that promises for even more interesting things to come with the next volume.
Favourite quote: “What’s the deal with Skeletor here?” (about a mummy Stark is warned not to touch)