Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams

Book Summary (From the book)

Bobby Dollar is an angel -a real one. He knows a lot about sin, and not just in his professional capacity as an advocate for souls caught between Heaven and Hell. Bobby's wrestling with a few deadly sins of his own -pride, anger, even lust.

But his problems aren't all his fault. Bobby can't entirely trust his heavenly superiors, and he's not too sure about any of his fellow earthbound angels either, especially the new kid that Heaven has dropped into their midst, a trainee angel who asks too many questions. And he sure as hell doesn't trust the achingly gorgeous Countess of Cold Hands, a mysterious she-demon who seems to be the only one willing to tell him the truth.

When the souls of the recently departed start disappearing, catching both Heaven and Hell by surprise, things get bad very quickly for Bobby D. End-of-the-world bad. Beast of Revelations bad. Caught between the angry forces of Hell, the dangerous strategies of his own side, and a monstrous undead avenger that wants to rip his head off and suck out his soul, Bobby's going to need all the friends he can get -in Heaven, on Earth, or anywhere else can find them.

You've never met an angel like Bobby Dollar. And you've never read anything like The Dirty Streets of Heaven.

Brace yourself -the afterlife is weirder than you ever believed.

My review

This is the second book I've read from The Sword and Laser book club. And this time, I finished on time!

I really liked this book, at first I thought it was a YA, which I have nothing against, but I wasn't planning on reading one any time soon. However, I think is safe to say that this book is more to the adult type, not only for the content but the way things develop. 

Bobby Dollar, also known as Angel Doloriel is an earthbound angel, and he is an advocate for souls...simply put, he is a lawyer, and he is here to defend your soul from going to hell. 

I loved this part, the way is not just being good or bad, but all you did during your life, how this can be interpreted and argued against. At the end you can't even say anything to defend yourself, you will be dependent on your actions alone.

As most of earthbound angels, Bobby has developed a good taste for Earthly  escapes, such as liquor and women, and he has gotten some insight about the later:

         Women, even female angels, can be colder than men in some really scary ways. 

Anyway, things are shaken up when someone dies, but his soul is nowhere to be found. Off course the first thought is that Hell is doing something to keep the souls for themselves, but later we realize that actually they are as surprised by this turn of events than we as readers. Bobby puts on his detective cap (not really, he doesn't really wear caps, just in case you were wondering) and tries to find anything suspicious about the recently departed, searching for this taste in literature, music, etc, looking for a clue somewhere:
        For instance, a bunch of Nickelback albums would have indicated he never had a soul in the first place.

You will find a couple of sentences like this that will make you at least smile if not chuckle. At the same time Bobby starts being followed and almost killed by this nasty creature, the ghallu, and I will agree with some of the comments in the Sword and Laser forum that it did remind me of the Balrog from LOTR, although in my head it was more like a smaller version of it.  However, when Bobby turns to heaven for help he barely gets any advice and finds himself being sort of investigated, no matter what he says or argues.

         [...] sometimes when things very wrong and even the highest are frightened, innocence is not enough for salvation.

Was it a great book? I don't know, it was certainly entertaining. It wasn't a book I knew was out there. To be honest with you, this is the first Tad Williams book that I've ever read. I think this is the first "real" urban fantasy book I've read (I read The House of Night  that according to Wikipedia falls into the category, but I'm not sure how "urban" that is) and I did not dislike the genre, but I'm not smitten by it. I guess I can give Williams another go.

The romance that sparkles in the book was interesting, but no surprising if I'm honest. You kind off see it coming. However I liked the perspective that we get for Casimira. I think a little bit more of development for her character would've made me "fall" for her. 

As for the twist...I like the premise (no giving anything away I promise). Is a really nice idea, and I wish this would've been further developed. Maybe in the rest of the series, since this is book 1.

I will leave you with a very nice quote: 

         Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight. 

This review makes part of the weekly event Read and Review Hop


  1. I really need to read this one, Tad Williams is the bomb! Thanks so much for your great review and for joining in the review hop :D

    1. Thank you for organizing it. Is my first Tad Williams book, but it won't be the last.

  2. I read Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, & Thorn books like a decade ago. Excellent stuff. I should give this latest book of his a go. Thanks for the review, even if it wasn't outstanding for you.

    1. Thank you fro dropping by :). I am reading another book from Williams this week-end, hopefully I would like it as much as this one or even more ^-^

  3. Thanks for the interesting review. I've got a few Tad Williams books on my shelves, but not that one. I'll have to check it out. :)

    The Rape of Nanking – Read and Review Hop

    1. Is funny, a lot of people I've talked to knew Williams; for me it was my first! If you do read it, I hope you like it.