Nothing like a great audio book. Nothing worse than a bad book - audio or otherwise.
I was excited to see that Tad Williams had started a new series. I am a big Williams fan, having enjoyed all of his other books. For those who haven't yet done so, I recommend reading or listening to his Otherland series. I would also recommend any of his fantasy books. The problem with The Dirty Streets of Heaven was that it wasn't near the quality of the other Williams offerings.
Had I not seen his name on the book, I never would have guessed that this book was written by Tad Williams. I would have thought it was a collaboration effort between Jim Butcher (the Dresden Files series) and Richard Kadrey (the Sandman Slim series). Bobby Dollar, it seemed to me, must be closely related to Harry Dresden. Dollar also inherited Dresden's sassy and (oftentimes but not always) endearing sense of humor. Maybe it's because I just got done listening to the (delightful) Dresden series, but I kept finding myself thinking I was listening to another Dresden book.
While the protagonist, earthy angel Bobby Dollar, is far less foul mouthed and depressed than Kadrey's (oftentimes but not always) likable Sandman Slim, he does have the same love/hate relationship with his otherworldly overlords (in Slim's case, the devil, and in Dollar's case, the angels). Dresden and Sandman are both series that took an original idea and ran with it. I hate to say it, but in my mind's eye I kept seeing Tad Williams talking to his editor about what kind of series he should write next. Anyone in the industry couldn't help but notice how successful this whole genre of books (the vampire, zombie, wizard, hellion themed books with a hip, loveable, very capable but self-denigrating anti-hero) has become. I kept wondering, as perhaps Tad Williams did while developing this character, "What would Harry Dresden do - WWHDD'? Where would Harry go? Or, what would a Harry Dresden-type character (who is a well intended, golden-hearted, anti-establishment earthbound angel) do if he had essentially the same personality as Harry Dresden but wasn't a wizard but rather an angel. Well, maybe it didn't happen that way at all. Maybe he didn't talk it over with his publisher at all.
What did Williams do well in this book? I was very impressed with his well considered presentation of the afterlife, and many of the salvation issues involved. His presentation of heaven actually made me excited to experience the afterlife. He deftly and successfully navigated around a lot of thorny theological considerations in a way that should offend few of any faith. In other words, as he does so well, Williams has created a consistent and believable imaginary world. What I found sadly lacking was the story itself and the characters. I expected better characters and character development from Williams. Other than Bobby Dollar and his (evil but virtuous, treacherous but warm-hearted, loyal but untrustworthy devil babe) girlfriend, the Countess of Cold Hands, I found the characters flat and not very likeable. I found the chase scenes and battle scenes with the "spawn of hell, creature, monster character" chasing and fighting with Dollar and his posse agonizingly frequent, predictable and boring. And the monster kept coming and Bobby kept escaping... again and again and again.
There are other shortcomings as well, but I don't want to whip a dead horse.
If I had never read Williams' other books, I wouldn't have expected as much as I did going into this one. Would I recommend it? I don't know. Will I read the next Bobby Dollar book? Probably, because I'm willing to try anything Tad Williams writes. Even when he lays a relative egg, he is a good enough writer that I'm willing to slog through it. At least this time.
I thought that the narrator, Dick Hill, did a yeoman's job. It was a good, but not in any way exceptional Hill performance.
Definitely. Absolutely phenomenal narration to a great book.
the narrator and the humor
Bobby's humor was great but Fox and the wanna-be had me rolling with laughter.
No. At sixteen hours I'd probably go into some sort of fantastical coma. No. I'm good with spreading it out over a week.
Great stuff. On par with Peter Grant series, Dresden, and Matthew Swift.
aaaaa no it was great but i dont even watch the same movies twice...
i think he did a good job and pleasant to listen to
ahhh..yes and have been through all three in the series
If you enjoyed this but haven't heard of Harry Dresden, check that out too.
Felt a bit copycatish, but Tad, being the brilliant writer pulls it off on its own merits.
Good character development, snarky dialogue, and a grand conspiracy theory meld together along with a theme that questions the religious bones in your body. A great combination.
Absolutely. Tad Williams weaves a wonderfully imaginative tale of grit, action, suspense and non-stop snark all rolled into one in this tale of Angel and Demon advocates.
Williams' voice for Bobby Dollar reminds me of other authors such as Larry Correia, Christopher Moore, Tom Holt, Terry Pratchett, Carl Hiaasen and the Nightstalkers (Area 51) series by Bob Mayer, so if you enjoy one liners and dialogue that make you laugh so hard you snort coffee out your nose mid sip ...
No, I've never had the pleasure of listening to George before and OMG, my world has been lacking because of it! George was awesome. He truly gave life to all the different characters.
Laughter -- to the extreme. Especially whenever G-man or Foxy showed up. On the first meeting of G-man, I was laughing so hard, I almost wet myself. (Yes, George's voice characterizations are that good. I was actually seeing the entire scene play out in vivid color in my mind.)
Come on, you know you want to hear it. Get it now. Your life won't be complete until you listen to the tale about a gun packing, smart talking, boozing, get in trouble Angel.
I agree with those saying this series is like Dresden. The main character is scrappy and resilient, stubborn, snarky, has a dark and mysterious past, and has an interesting cast of quirky supporting characters. If you've read the Dresden files, you probably won't be able to help comparing the two. In my head, I kept hearing how James Marsters would have delivered some of the lines.
I think the order you read them (Dollar first or Dresden first) will affect your opinion. Bobby seemed a little too quippy, and the romance aspect made me roll my eyes multiple times. After seeing the plot description for the second book, I'm skipping to the third.
But just because this book is similar to another series doesn't make it less entertaining, just less novel. The narration was great, the world and characters were enjoyable, and I'm definitely interested in reading more - just not about the amazingly beautiful mesmerizingly perfect demon lady.
No, once was enough. I liked it enough to try the second book. But while this one raised interesting ideas about the nature of morality and what comes next, the next book went much darker very fast, and stayed there. I did not finish it.
After reading the first, I was involved enough to go on to the second book.
As a defense attorney myself, I was amused that we were God's emissary's for souls, and prosecutorial duties handled by the dark side.
Interesting story, well written. Dislike the narrator, especially when he tries to do accents. There ought to be a rule that if the narrator can't pull off an accent he isn't allowed to do them. Characters can be differentiated without resorting to bad Scottish, Australian and Hispanic accents, especially when the characters are angels and have no country of origin. If bad accents don't bother you, give it a try. If they do, read the physical version.
This book is a detective/mystery novel. The aspects of Heaven and Hell that it describes are not integral to the main story line.
Bobby Dollar's voice and sense of humor is reminiscent of Harry Dresden's, giving this book a similar "feel", but the storyline is purely original. Here we have angels and demons (as opposed to wizards, vampires, fae and other paranormal creatures found in the Harry Dresden books). This is the first book in the series and is a great start. Bobby gets caught up in all kinds of craziness, including the search for missing souls and an investigation into the murder of a demon all while trying to stay alive himself. There is a lot going on and Bobby tells his story with a very entertaining narrative voice.
Narrator George Newbern is fantastic! He does a wonderful array of voices and his cadence and tone are perfect. Well worth the audible credit!