Friday, August 3, 2012

The Dirty Streets of Heaven Book Review

Post by Dylan

This ARC was courtesy of Deborah Beale and DAW Books.

If The Dirty Streets of Heaven were a ride in an amusement park it would be the one that everyone would want to ride. Honestly, this story was a thrill ride from start to finish and it never once let up or became boring. This again proves that Tad Williams, whether he is writing a languid epic fantasy or a rip-roaring urban fantasy, is a master at pacing. But enough compliments, let me tell what this amazing story is about.

The main character in The Dirty Streets of Heaven is Bobby Dollar (Doloriel) who is an earth-bound angel that acts as an advocate for the recently deceased. However, Bobby is swept up into all sorts of madness when one soul misses its hearing. All of sudden, Bobby seems to have found allies and enemies in the strangest of places.

Now, you have to understand that I really wanted to be objective of this story. I really did. But, fortunately I could find nothing major—or really that minor—wrong with this novel. Yeah, it was that amazing. So, now that you know that this review is going to be a little less harsh than usual, let me tell you everything that was amazing in The Dirty Streets of Heaven.

First, the characters. Bobby was snarky, witty and really down to earth, which made him an absolute joy to read. The whole time you are reading the story Bobby is just as confused as you are, trying desperately to figure out what is really going on. With that last comment, let me clear something up. Bobby is not confused because he is inept and a bumbling idiot. Too many times, I see authors writing characters that are unobservant just so that the reader can feel superior and see things coming before the character. Besides Bobby, there is an entire cast of characters (though not as large as a usual Williams’ novel) that all have there own charms, wit, motives and hilarity.

Second, the world building. Tad Williams had a very interesting take on the after life that I found very intriguing. Not only was it the fact that the concept was interesting, but also the fact that it was explained. The Dirty Streets of Heaven is by no stretch a long book and the way that Tad Williams gave the reader a fully-fleshed world was greatly appreciated.

Now for those of you who have read Patrick Rothfuss you might think Kvothe and Denna have a complicated relationship, just wait until you meet Bobby and his leading lady (that’s right no spoilers here). All I have to say on the topic is that their relationship is complex, interesting and made me never want to stop reading. The way it came to a close in this first installment was in short, genius.

The final aspect of The Dirty Streets of Heaven that was phenomenal was something I’ve mentioned before, the pacing. The pacing in this story was break-neck, but never over the top fast. This story never reached the point where I was grasping for air and wanted things to be slowed down. Williams always had a solid line of explanations throughout the story that always kept me grounded. Also, the action throughout this story and all of threats to Bobby’s well-being made sure that there was never once a dull moment.

So, if you are a fan of Tad Williams—and even if you’re not—this novel is required reading. This is urban fantasy at its best. I even recommend The Dirty Streets of Heaven to fans of the crime/ mystery genre because of how it reads.

Visit Tad Williams at his website here.

Pre-order this book here. Do it now!

-Language: Heavy language use throughout (F-bombs).
-Violence: There is a lot of action and violence, but there is only one scene where it gets grisly.
-Sexuality: Mentioned and shown in two descriptive scenes.

My Rating:



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