Early Group Review: Kill City Blues by Richard Kadrey

Kill City BluesKill City Blues by Richard Kadrey
Book #5 in the Sandman Slim series
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: July 30th 2013
ARC Provided by Edelweiss and Harper Voyager

Synopsis from Goodreads: Bestselling author Richard Kadrey continues his acclaimed Sandman Slim series with this high-octane fifth adventure that takes Stark into a dark and dangerous mirrorworld of LA

“The perfect escapist storyline . . . side-splittingly funny. . . . Gruesome slapstick mixed with down-and-dirty Hammett-esque mayhem and double-dealing. . . . If you’ve been hoping someone would bring the full-strength SoCal toxic waste to the urban fantasy game, then Sandman Slim is your poison.”-io9.com

James Stark, aka Sandman Slim, has managed to get out of Hell, renounce his title as the new Lucifer, and settle back into life in LA. But he’s not out of trouble yet. Somewhere along the way he misplaced the Qomrama Om Ya, a weapon from the banished older gods who are also searching for their lost power.

The hunt leads Stark to an abandoned shopping mall-a multi-story copy of LA-infested with Lurkers and wretched bottomfeeding Sub Rosa families, squatters who have formed tight tribes to guard their tiny patches of this fake LA. Somewhere in the kill zone of the former mall is a dead man with the answers Stark needs. All Stark has to do is find the dead man, get back out alive, and outrun some angry old gods-and a few killers-on his tail.

Christal and AH’s Review – 5 Skulls – A+

Kill City Blues was a definite high point in a consistently entertaining and slightly disturbing series. AH and I both loved this book and gave it 5 stars!

James “Sandman Slim” Stark:

AH: I think Stark has got to be one of the most badass characters I’ve encountered in urban fantasy. I love his “devil-may-care” attitude (pun definitely intended).

Christal: Lol, nice one! I agree, Stark is hardcore and doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything. I think he really grew in this novel and it was the first time we have seen him willingly depend on others.

The Supporting Characters:

Christal: Wow, almost everyone was back in Kill City Blues. It was like a reunion and I kind of loved it. I like the Stark is starting to build a “Scooby Gang” and relying on others to watch his back. I still think Candy is a stand out but I really enjoyed seeing Stark and Kasabian’s relationship evolve.

AH: I loved that you referred to them as the Scooby gang. That was hilarious and I could seriously see one of them going Ru-roh – sharp-toothed demons on your right or something like that. I loved Candy too – so fierce! Kasabian made me laugh. I’m hoping the next book has his head on a Trevor Mosely body. Speaking of Trevor Mosely, what did you think of the Tick Tock Man’s creations?

Christal: I totally want to see Kasabian’s head on a Mosley body; that makes more sense than the hellhound. The Trevor Mosley clones were a bit creepy… especially the one that thought he was a real boy. The animals now, those had definite possibilities. I might fight Candy for a Tick Tock Pikachu. 😉

The World Building:

AH: The world building is so intricately constructed. No details are spared, yet as a reader, you never feel like there is an information overload. The writer did all of his research. I love Kadrey’s version of Hell – “Downtown” LA. It’s a dirty, gritty world.

Christal:I agree, I love how real this series is — you can just picture every place that Stark visits. I liked that Mr. Kadrey combined the typical rings of hell with his own version of a mirrored L.A. Very unique!

AH: The research into the series is just amazing – did you know that the names of God’s “brothers” are from Kabbalistic teachings? The names of God are the levels of the soul. Kind of odd how God is depicted in almost schizophrenic terms, but it makes sense in this world.

Christal: I didn’t know that but now it makes so much sense. I am interested to meet the other “brothers” and see what they are like compared to the “brothers” we’ve already met. I’m especially looking forward to a meeting between Stark and Ruarch.

The Plot:

AH: This book has got to be one of the best reads so far this year. Richard Kadrey writes amazing urban fantasy. One of my favorite scenes had to be at the beginning where Samael, Stark, and Candy are enjoying donuts. Samael ponders the donut and wonders if he invented them to “destroy mortals from the inside out.”

Christal: Ha, I liked that scene too; I also like how Mr. Kadrey carried the joke later into the book with Samael only staying for dinner if there are no donuts. I think my favorite scene was probably the group adventure through Kill City mall. Instinctually, I knew that Stark would probably be okay but that someone else probably wouldn’t make it, but I was not prepared for the emotional impact of the ending. Man, that was intense!

AH: The rescue scene from Hell near the end when Stark “rescues” Father Traven and leaves him in “limbo” I thought to myself that Stark really is a nice guy, or as nice as Stark could be.

Christal: Completely agree, he really does have a heart of gold deep deep down. The rescue and eventual compromise with Mr. Muninn were a nice resolution for everything that happened in Kill City.

AH: For some reason during the Kill City scenes, I felt like we were in the middle of an Indiana Jones adventure, complete with booby traps, scary critters, and even a treasure. Speaking of treasure, the Qomrama Om Ya, aka the Magic 8 Ball, aka Stark’s holy grail – what do you think will happen with it? Will the Angra come and destroy everything?

Christal: I don’t even want to guess. Mr. Kadrey always takes what I think will happen and then twists it into something completely unexpected. I have faith in Stark though, I think he and Candy will both go down fighting in the end no matter what they are up against. I can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for Sandman Slim in the next book and to see how he continues to grow and adapt!

Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Voyager for providing an ARC copy of this book!

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Series Reading Order:

1. Sandman Slim
2. Kill the Dead
3. Aloha From Hell
4. Devil Said Bang
5. Kill City Blues

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