by Jesus Ibarra
Aloha From Hell was just released yesterday, October 18, 2011! Link below to order your copy!
Aloha From Hell by Richard Kadrey concludes the trilogy he began in Sandman Slim. In it our anti-hero James Stark, aka Sandman Slim, finally gets the chance to finish what he started by killing the man, Mason, who sent him to Hell and murdered his first love.
After the events of the second book, Kill the Dead, Lucifer is back in Heaven, God is on vacation, Mason is ruling Hell plotting to overthrow Heaven, and a psychotic angel is out to kill God and replace him. So why is our hero mixed into this? Well if you have kept up with the series then you know he still wants vengeance and Lucifer has bigger plans for him as well. If along the way he manages to kill his sworn enemy and save the universe, then so be it. With all the plotlines that have been invested into this series, I have to say Kadrey easily pulled it off, resolving the biggest storylines while leaving the door open for us to return to Sandman Slim’s world.
The plot is straight forward, it is just nearly impossible for Stark to accomplish, and reading about how he does it is insanely satisfying. The use of the Christian mythos with a leaning towards Gnosticism serves this series amazingly and it gives the main character a way to examine the human condition and the contemporary world in a politically incorrect, yet insightful, way.
The main character Stark is crazy, impulsive, brash, sarcastic, and generally, a freaking monster who at his core fights against everything and everyone no matter who they are just because he can. This gives him an insanely bleak outlook on life. At one point, he burns down the Garden of Eden just because he can, to get God to notice that humans aren’t completely worthless.
It’s this quality of Stark that I love the most, and acts like that are generally what you are gonna get in this book. It is an insane thrill with crazy stuff happening left and right. The supporting cast is great and the dialogue between them and Stark is humorous, and natural. And although the novel gets dark sometimes, with Stark declaring things like, “Everyone of us, human and monster alike, lives with an angelic boot on our throats. But we don’t see it so we forget about it and limp along doing the stupid little things that make up our stupid little lives…We’re just bugs on God’s windshield.” In addition, declaring life “is learning how to live with the intolerable.” It has some contradictory optimistic views to go along with it, like Stark choosing to go back to Hell to rescue a lost love because she doesn’t deserve to be there. That is the best thing about this series–for all of its seriousness it has equal parts of mindless gratuitous self-indulgent fun. Which is perfect for me. Kadrey’s prose was built for this kind of juxtaposition of the seriousness, and fun over the top violence. Nothing is done small whether it’s the violence or the metaphysical discussions.
If you are uncomfortable so far with the tidbits I mentioned, particularly religion sometimes being knocked around a bit here and there, then this book probably isn’t for you; hell the whole series isn’t for you. However if you are an urban fantasy buff you have to read this book and series, and even if you think you might not like this series TRY IT!!! It’s that good; it has easily become a definite top ten book in my collection.