Stark isn't a nice guy. He isn't polite, he isn't considerate, he doesn't play by the rules. He is continually pissed off, he goes through a LOT of de..Show More »stroyed clothing, he hates almost everyone, and he loves to steal cars.
What's not to love?
The Sandman Slim books aren't perfect, but author Richard Kadrey has managed to create a great character in James Stark. Stark repeatedly refers to himself as a monster, and he is an efficient killing machine -- yet he is also intensely loyal to folks like his murdered lover and the few living people he trusts, and somehow he ends up saving the general populace (and the world) from various true monsters whether he really wants to or not. Kadrey can write surprisingly poetic prose -- a rough hewn sort of poetry, but still effective -- and that in combination with Stark's obnoxious attitude and frequently outrageous violence make for an engaging, humorous, and sometimes breath-taking good time.
Now, these books are not perfect. A lot of the fantasy elements are pretty off the wall to start with, and sometimes Kadrey really strains my ability to suspend disbelief. In particular in this book, at the climax he did something with the angel half of Stark that really had me waving the BS penalty flag (I won't spoil it here). Even so, the way he set up the climax and its aftermath promises to provide a lot of interesting conflict for the next book, so some good reading may come of it. And even given that this sort of believability problem does occur occasionally throughout the Sandman Slim books, they are still a lot of fun to read.
As to the narrator -- I was not all that fond of MacLeod Andrews when I listened to the first Sandman Slim book, but he has grown on me as the series progressed (and, probably, as he got more used to the role). In Aloha From Hell I think he does a fine job of voicing both the rough-edged Stark and most of the secondary characters. Occasionally some of the side characters sound too much alike, but that's a minor complaint.
This installment in the series still has a lot of what made the first book engaging, in its style, irreverence, and brutality but it has slid pretty f..Show More »ar down the hill as far as the quality of writing. The plot is riddled with irrational actions and unconvincing twists that just aren't believable, even in the fantasy universe. Characters repeatedly display incredible power when they're using it to impress but then fail to use it in a fight for their life. Stark continues to walk into every trap imaginable without a thought in his pretty little head and ends up helpless before his enemies, not because of a fiendishly clever and devious deception on the villain's part but because Stark's an idiot. This makes it very difficult to respect the protagonist. There is also some completely ludicrous business with "dreamers" that makes absolutely no sense and frustrated me significantly.
That said, there are interesting developments. His new job as Lucifer is pretty amusing and kicks up a lot of awkward situations. The morality of God, Samael, and everyone else continues to fall further into the gray territory. Stark himself does some pretty nasty stuff but it's always warranted and I still consider him to be a decent fellow in a series of bad situations. Most of the previous books' characters reappear in this one and see about as much limelight as usual. It's Stark's show but, as always, he's just stumbling down the road laid out by his enemies and coming through by blind luck and the help of his friends.
The narrator was fantastic, as always. He really makes Stark's character come alive with the gruff tone and devil-may-care (pun intended) attitude.
I only rate this one as average quality but I'll continue on to the 5th book because I enjoy the universe and I'm interested in seeing if he gets God's job next :p
The stories are good and the narrartor is excellent. The best thing about the book and the series as a whole is how well the author captured the whole..Show More » "punk" vibe. This is definitely cyberpunk, but with a supernatural angle instead. maybe I should call it "Superunk" or something. This book and series is just one of those times when you hit the perfect combination of book and narrator. I actually enjoyed listening to the book more than reading it.
Let's put it this way: I will buy every single Sandman Slim novel in audio AND kindle that Richard Kadrey writes. Writing is excellent, the stories wo..Show More »nderfully imaginative, and lines so funny and/or thought provoking you actually have to stop and re-listen and ponder. Well edited and I have fallen in love with the Extremely Talented Mr. Andrews, as narrator.
Note to Mr. Kadrey - please, NEVER use a different narrator as MacLeod Andrews is perfect. Can't say perfect about too many things in this life.
Richard Kadrey and MacLeod Andrews are a perfect match. There is NO better narrator for Stark's adventures. The latest Sandman Slim novel is every..Show More »thing I'd hoped it would be, and I'm a Stark groupie from way back. The only complaint I have about this series is that the books aren't 500 pages longer! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟