Kenric has been bugging me to read this book for YEARS.
No lie, YEARS.
And to be honest I had little interest in reading it. Not because I didn’t trust his taste in comics, it was simple that I couldn’t get over the fact it was called ‘Sandman Slim’ and NOT related to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. I kept thinking “this is probably some rip off garbage that isn’t worth my time.” Kenric assured me that was not the case.
Well, fast forward to last summer and we start this little podcast to talk about comics and stuff and he goes “We should do a review of Sandman Slim!” So I finally gave in and bought the audio book. Don’t hate, audio books are amazing and allow me to take in stories while commuting and traveling easier. I spent a lot of my free time while I was in San Fransisco listening to Macleod Andrews tell me the tale of James Stark, a.k.a. Sandman Slim.
Side note, Macleod Andrews is amazing at narrating thee books, and after looking him up, he could play Stark in the movie.
If you would rather HEAR me talk about this book, you can check out Episode 22 – Devil in the Book of the show.
Now back to the review. I loved this book. I really did. It was dark, it was sarcastic in the right ways, it was everything I hoped it could be. It reminds me of John Constantine, but only in the way that it’s “A dude with some magic that is crass and kicks ass“. In reality he is nothing like Constantine and is in his own right a bad ass. (Though I would LOVE a oneshot comic book with Stark and Constantine in it. You listening DC Comics and Richard Kadrey? Make that happen! I’ll draw it!)
The story revolves around James Stark who has been in hell for 11 years and for some reason he is able to just kick a giant load amount of ass in the hellion arena. They keep throwing everything at him and he keeps getting back up and knocking them down. Then he finds himself back on Earth, hellbent on getting revenge on the asshats that put him in hell. Stark was a part of this magical coven (they don’t call it that, but I am cause I control the narrative on this review!) and this mega-douche Mason is responsible for sending him there as well as killing his girlfriend Alice after he died. I’m not going to spoil the whole thing for you, if you want to know ALL the details of the story then you should read it, or read this.
Have you ever wanted to be able to step into a shadow and step out somewhere else in another shadow? Well just go to hell for 11 years and be an undeniable bad ass with a bad attitude and you too could have this ability! Though it does mean you have to have a mystical key embedded into your chest cavity, but hey, small price to pay for access to the room of 13 doors and the ability to shadow walk!
In his journey’s he has some pretty awesome side characters like Kasabian who worked with him and Mason and currently runs a video store, and instead of killing him cuts his head off and casts a spell that keeps him alive to give him information. They become the best of pals! Through Kasabian he meets Allegra, an employee at the store who is just a little too eager to get in the world of hell and blood. Vidock, who lives in his old apartment and is an alchemist and immortal by accident (I want that problem). There are more, but those are the fun ones! Read the book to learn about the others. (My reviews are mostly the parts I like then me trying to convince you to go read and enjoy it yourself, cause that’s the fun way to do it!)
There is more to the plot than just a revenge tale against Mason and the ones who sent him to hell. There is this whole subplot with the Kissi, the Golden Vigil, and angel named Aelita who does some not very nice things to Stark and Homeland Security. Oh man so much good stuff!
In the end (I’m jumping ahead here, cause I really want you to read it. I’ve tried not to give anything away as I want this to be more of an overview than a “book report” on the book) they all go out for punch and pie. And if you believe that, you have not paid any attention to anything I’ve said. I wont give away the ending, I’ll just say do yourself a favor and read/listen to it!
Lastly, we were lucky enough to have the author of Sandman Slim on our show! Take a listen on Episode 41 – Richard Kadrey.
Sandman Slim Review –
Conversations with Richard Kadrey –