Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Review: The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams

I just finished this one, so I thought I'd do a short review on it. As a writer who writes primarily epic fantasy, I've long admired Tad Williams's ability to build interesting worlds with characters I want to root for. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn and Shadowmarch are both series I've loved. In science fiction, he wrote the Otherland series, another one of my favorites. I also enjoyed his standalone The War of the Flowers.

This one, however, is an urban fantasy. I wasn't sure what to expect going in. I'm always a little worried with urban fantasy because I (unfairly) compare everything to Jim Butcher. Did Tad Williams measure up to Butcher? No. Was it still a great story? Yes.

In this book, Williams present us with an urban fantasy world where Heaven and Hell exist. Our main character, Bobby Dollar (or the angel Doloriel), is an advocate for departed souls. That is, he argues their case to get into Heaven. Of course, he also ends up being drawn into a vast conspiracy involving some of the major players from both Heaven and Hell.

One thing I noticed here was that Williams didn't take as long to get going as I'm accustomed to. While I love Williams's series as a whole, the first books are often a chore to get through. Not this time, though. This one wasn't all setup for another story (though it's clear there's more to come). It featured a plot that moved pretty quickly, though there were still a few slow sections. There was also some good action, and we got to it more quickly than usual with Williams.

Overall, I'm very interested in the world Williams created (as I always am). It actually felt like something I haven't seen before, and eventually I was able to abandon my urge to compare every urban fantasy to Jim Butcher.

Now, I really liked this book, but I see that it's gotten mixed reviews.

Rating: 8.5/10

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