First let's get this out of the way. Writers reading for their own audiobook is always a mixed bag. On the plus side, they get the tone and the genera..Show More »l intent of the book better than anyone else possibly could. On the down side, they often aren't the best actors in the world, and tend to over-enunciate to the point that it's distracting from the storyline. I thought that was the case with Neil Gaiman reading his own audiobooks, and also true for Daniel Jose Older on this book.
Plus his overuse of the word "fuck" got a little monotonous and distracting. At first, I wondered does this writer know any other adjectives? or verbs? or descriptors? non sequiturs?
Luckily, the answer is yes. As the story progresses, Older's luxuriant use of the English language is one of the main reasons to read this book. I'm not sure what he was after in the first 1/3 of the book, but so many "fucks" came across like a nerdy kid trying to prove he could fit in with the cool kids, but overdoing it. It was almost enough to make me not give a... well, you get the idea.
Now for what I loved. Too many Urban Fantasy books follow the same wish-fulfillment formula. There is always a useless comic relief character that is there for no other reason. Most portray every male character that is not the protagonist as evil, or worthless, while every female character instantly desires the hero (or hates him at first before admitting that she desired him all along). And of course there are the equivalent female wish fulfillment variants where the males all fight each other for her favor while the petty females all hate her.. but everyone talks about how much they all love her... you know the ones. The humor in this book stems from situations that are naturally funny. So silly characters that behave like something from a Saturday morning cartoon. The main character doesn't suddenly make Road Runner sounds during the most critical, tension-filled scene of the story. Very refreshing. These characters are adults and written for an adult audience. Also very refreshing. The "bad guy" thinks he's the good guy, and just can't understand why someone would want to oppose him. Yes, that fits. That's how real humans behave.
Another thing that many fantasy books don't get, that this one handled well: no matter how outrageous our situation is, human beings tend to behave like normal people while we're in it. An over the top situation just becomes our "new normal", and we deal with problems accordingly. I liked the feel of that in this book. These people were used to their supernatural lifestyle and dealt with the situation like real folks would. I'm looking forward to reading the next story in the series. Hopefully, the dialogue will rise to the level of the excellent storyline and great characters.
I really dug Older's first book in the Bone Street Rumba series, Half Resurrection Blues, when it came out at the beginning of 2015, and am enjoying t..Show More »his second installment just as much. The author is an interesting character himself, until 2014 an EMT by day, and a musician and author by night. His musical side comes out in a lot of his prose, which is very attuned to the sounds of NYC, where the Bone Street Rumba books take place. These two books, along with Salsa Nocturna, his first collection of short stories, introduce many wonderful characters in Brooklyn, "civilian" and supernatural, primarily Carlos Delacruz, an agent for the Council of the Dead, and himself an in-betweener, half dead and half alive. The second character that comes to life in a great deal more detail in this book is Kia, a teenage girl who, against her will, is becoming all too deeply involved in Carlos' supernatural world. Although Carlos was the narrator for the entirety of H-R Blues, Older has chosen to structure this second book by alternating the first person narration of each chapter; thus, Carlos narrates one chapter, Kia the next, and so on. It's a really interesting mode of storytelling, and Older is satisfyingly believable, in both his writing and his spoken narration, in both these voices. Unlike the majority of books in the urban fantasy world, most of the characters in The Bone Street Rumba 'verse are men and women of color, a beautiful and rich layer to Older's already imaginative and cool storytelling. There are many beautifully drawn characters, wonderful comedic moments, great action, some creepy scary stuff, some lovely sweet moments, and a few awesome monologues of just plain philosophizing. Bonus; the author himself reads his works and is a terrific narrator, giving each character a very specific sound. He's quite good and makes the listening experience super enjoyable. There's some language, nothing terribly rough, a few f-words, but it is, nonetheless, a story with some sweetness at its heart. The hero and the people he is surrounded by are good, kind, and funny. If you want to start at the very beginning, start with Salsa Nocturna, a nice introduction to the Bone Street Rumba 'verse, then dig right in. If you're a fan of urban fantasy, I know you'll enjoy it.
DOLLS OF DEATH ROOM I could not in good conscience go above three stars for this collection. Older is a good word smith, sometimes waxing very poe..Show More »tic. BARTH'S WORDS FLUTTERED AROUND ME LIKE A STUPID MOTH. I really like the story titled SKIN LIKE PORCELAIN DEATH. TENDERFOOT was cute, but most of the rest were just average. Some are going to give this a higher rating, for the coolness. A lot of urban language is used, YOU FEEL ME. I will say none of the stories sucked.