Monday, February 4, 2013

It's a wonderful Maltese Falcon?

Slogging through The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams. This isn't to say that it's a bad book, it's just very dense in a few spots and my normal reading times keep getting curtailed by other pursuits that I can't seem to shake.

I've also been hesitant to start writing this, since I'm almost to the end and I'm still trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

The basic set up is this. When humans die, a demonic prosecutor and angelic defense advocate show up in a bubble of frozen space and hold a trial for the dead soul in front of a Principality. Bobby Dollar (nickname for the Angel Dolorial) works as an advocate, trying to save souls from being damned. (There are 3 options for sentence, since Purgatory is an option in this universe.)

To qualify, this is how it's supposed to work. After one case to give us an idea of how the system works, we follow Bobby to another incident where the soul doesn't show up for his own court date. Which really isn't supposed to happen. Which of course sets in motion a plot that's involved several layers of bureaucracy on both sides of the afterlife, a guy who got his family curse reversed in a unique way, dead sisters who set their parents on fire, a monster that predates the old testament, and a character I'm trying to figure out a trope for. Is she the Bond girl? A love interest? Or, given the hard boiled narrative, the femme fatale?

While I'm enjoying the story, the pacing could use a little work, and I would have appreciated more breadcrumbs earlier to grab the imagination more. (Because really, my mind was going full Buffy Season 5 plot twist with one character, although that seems to have been disproved now.)