Monday, August 26, 2013

The Dirty Streets of Heaven: Blog Tour

The Dirty Streets of Heaven (Bobby Dollar, 1) by Tad Williams, July 2, 2013. 441 pages. Published by DAW. Source: Publisher for honest review.
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 he can find them.
First Sentence:
I was just stepping out of the elevator on the 43rd floor of the Five Page Mill building when the alarms began going off-those nightmarish, clear-the-building kind like the screams of tortured robots-and I realized I’d pretty well lost any chance at the subtle approach. page 96

While I was excited to try a novel by Tad Williams, I was a little disappointed in my first books of his, The Dirty Streets of Heaven.  Theologically, there were many things that bothered me about this book that he had written, but I’ll leave that off for another time so as not to ramble one.

Even though Tad William’s The Dirty Streets of Heaven did not work for me, I leave the decision to read it up to you dear readers. These are just my personal thoughts on this one.

Well, I guess that best place to start is the writing. Since Tad Williams is supposed to be a really good fantasy writer I was excited to get to read one of his books, even if it was urban fantasy, but I was sadly disappointed because his writing in The Dirty Streets of Heaven was a clear reminder to me why I don’t read urban fantasies…especially by male writers.  The thing that really turned me off from this book was the coarse language and how the author overused it throughout the book. It made it seem like he could not express the situation or character’s feelings without using ill placed language.
     Had Mr. Williams been able to tell his story with less profanity-and without the unneeded “romantic” angle-trope, the book would have been so much more original and less like your typical male written urban fantasy. I hope that the next urban fantasy I read will be less predictable and better written. 

So, the plot had promise, but could have used either a different protagonist or have benefited from having Bobby Dollar as something other than an angel-because let’s face it, he didn’t really fit the bill. My biggest problem with Bobby himself would have to be that there was no middle ground with his character. He was either all stupid, with the whole dive in without knowing what’s going on; to bordering on extreme paranoia, which kind of made it hard to get into his story. When all is said and done, the problem with his character boils down to one thing, too many troubles wrapped up in one character’s past/present to really sell the story.
   Again, had the author tried to make the story more about the battle between good and evil, and less about Bobby's paranoia and failed relationships this story could have had a lot of potential. To me, the entire book came across as a male writer trying to appease male readers, which in the long run does not work since the story loses any depth it may have had.

Alright, so, while this may not have been the book for me, there is one thing that I really enjoyed about The Dirty Streets of Heaven. I found it quite interesting to see the job of the advocates, and how they fought to save the souls of the deceased. What made this one point so interesting was seeing how the recently departed soul acted as their fate was fought over in a judicial like setting by representatives of both heaven and hell. I don’t want to spoil this part of the book, so, I’ll just leave you with I've already said on it.

While the excessively crude language and R-ratedness of the scenes in this book was a huge turn-off, the thing that really kept me from liking this book was his take on angels, heaven, and the grand scheme of things. Even though the premise sounded interesting-souls going missing between death and judgment-I felt that the story strayed too far from what the main plot point was to truly be good.
  One of the reasons I disliked the authors portrayal of angels is that he made them seem too much like those of the fallen, even the ones that were still in good grace. So, while this one may have been a general miss for me, I leave the choice of reading it entirely up to you the next potential reader.

I do not recommend The Dirty Streets of Heaven for any one UNDER the age of 18.

Final verdict: The Dirty Streets of Heaven- Had potential that was lost due to trying too hard to be “popular”.

The Dirty Streets of Heaven earns 2 out of 5 pineapples.

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