Spyder Lee is a happy man who lives in San Francisco and owns a tattoo shop. One night an angry demon tries to bite his head off before he's saved by a stranger. The demon infected Spyder with something awful - the truth. He can suddenly see the world as it really is: full of angels and demons and monsters and monster-hunters. A world full of black magic and mysteries. These are the Dominions, parallel worlds full of wonder, beauty, and horror.
The Black Clerks, infinitely old and infinitely powerful beings whose job it is to keep the Dominions in balance, seem to have new interests and a whole new agenda. Dropped into the middle of a conflict between the Black Clerks and other forces he doesn't fully understand, Spyder finds himself looking for a magic book with the blind swordswoman who saved him. Their journey will take them from deserts to lush palaces, to underground caverns, to the heart of Hell itself.
©2007 Richard Kadrey (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."
It’s like a road trip through "The Matrix" into "The Wizard of Oz"— ending up at the "The Sandman" and "Hellblazer."
I’m impressed that Kadrey just made me compare "Butcher Bird" to all my favorite action fantasy epics.
Protagonist Spyder, a San Francisco tattoo artist, is infected by a demon with a power that lets him see other "Dominions" of angels and devils. He now must go looking through these Dominions for a set of lost books that will keep the worlds in balance.
Kadrey describes the coolest other-worldly creatures and scenes:
"People threw money at the Volt-Eater's feet after each demonstration of her electric skills. It made Spyder a little sad to see her. On any other night, she would have been the hands-down highlight... Tonight, however, the Volt Eater was just a pretty girl spitting watts, no more or less miraculous than Bible-quoting kittens or the lion-woman who'd just pronounced him both a fool and a hero."
Narrator, Jonathan Davis brings it all to life.
I haven't yet finished the book, but it has often become annoying and that is due mainly to the narration. I am an enormous Kadrey fan. His Sandman Slim series is unrivaled and the narration of Macleoud Anders is perfectly matched for Kadrey's gritty and intelligent writing style. And I'm a fan of Jonathon Davis so imagine my disappointment.
The problem is, Jonathon Davis is the wrong narrator for Kadrey. His pace and tone are continually off. There are pauses or emphasis that come off as the attempt to be gritty or dark and all I'm left repeatedly thinking is that Davis cannot do Kadrey. His characterizations are okay, but they are all delivered in the same stilted manner.
I seldom write reviews primarily because I'm not good at it, but I had to let other audible Kadrey fans know that if you're looking for the combination of good Kadrey delivered by good narration, this isn't the book. Part of my dissatisfaction could be that this is one of Kadrey's earlier works and he didn't received the best of editing work (that's just conjecture) and in turn Davis is struggling to narrate. What I can definitively say though is that I've been repeatedly annoyed by the narration. I've enjoyed other narration works by Davis. He's a good narrator, but this match up just didn't work.
Is there a number less than zero?
Sandman Slim, by the same author. Similar in tone yet somehow completely different.
Good lord, no! Haven't I suffered enough?!
Well, I'd have to hide anything in the house that could be used as a weapon because I might be tempted to shove an ice pick through my ear after 45 minutes of listening.
This is the worst narration I've ever heard! The lip smacking, swallowing, and sticky tongue sounds, horrible pronunciation, and relentless monotone, yet some sing-songy voice work, makes this a must miss audio adaptation of the source material. The main character of the book sounds like a cross between Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Lennie from Of Mice and Men. In fact, Lennie's brother George would have killed his brother in the first few pages of the book if he'd had to listen to this narrator. The women all sound manly and pissed off - no matter the occasion. In summary, the book is ruined by the narration. If the next book in the series has the same narrator, I'll buy the book instead because the story is a good read - just not by Jonathan Davis.
"A hellish good ride"
Butcher Bird feels like an old fairy tail (more brothers Grimm than Walt Disney) its a dark and twisted tail of anti heroes and dastardly monsters, and im really looking forward to the next book, I've read the Sandman Slim books by the same author and enjoyed them so i was really pleased to see Butcher Bird on audible
theres a few books that have alternate reality stories , Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman) and Nightside (Simon R Green) spring to mind , both of which use similar ideas and while the idea of a world behind the world is a well used one, Butcher Bird is definitely uses it in a new way, cyber punk and magic.
Jonathan Davis really has a good grip on the characters and his delivery is well suited to story, giving a flawless performance
I was gipped from the start and didn't want to stop listening
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