The Getaway God is the sixth book in the Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey. I have read every book and have never really been disappointed in any of the books from this series. this book is no exception, although I did find some things about the book tedious. It could just be that I’m so used to the genre (I’d call this book Urban-fantasy) that I know all the “tricks”. The characters are still fun and interesting, although i still haven’t connected to some of them which poses a bit of a problem in this story.
The basic story is as follows: Sandman Slim (James Stark) is in a rush to save not only himself and all his friends but the entire world from the Angra Om Ya (the old gods who the gods we know of threw out of this world and then took over management of the universe.). The Angra Om Ya are pissed and are bent on revenge.
That may be the biggest issue in the book, but it is far from the only thing eating away at Stark. There is also the fact that LA is sinking into chaos and madness, Hell is suffering from the same, and there is a crazy evil serial killer stalking LA that isn’t quite what he seems. Oh and something is seriously going wrong with Candy, Stark’s lady love.
One of my favorite parts of the book is the clever dialog and sarcastic humor to be found in these books. I always find myself smiling or laughing a bit during the story which is good because these books have a lot of violent action and serious stakes that could be bogged down in excessive angst and gloom in the hands of a different writer. Richard Kadrey ‘s voice shines in these books and I often find myself laughing during scenes of violence simply because of the sarcastic humor found there.
This book more than any of the others seemed very philosophical. By that I mean there were a lot of passages where James Stark questions the basic foundations of the universe and his place in it. Should he fight for this world? Which kind of God is best – tired and indifferent or vengeful and mean? Why does all this terrible stuff keep happening to Stark? Is it just coincidence or some sort of twisted fate?
These passages were interesting to read yet by the end I did start skimming through them. There is only so mach introspection I can take at a time, and this book pushed my limits. I think Richard Kadrey did a fine job looking deeper into the character of James Stark and what it is that he really wants out of his life. There is a lot of introspection, and dare-I-say, navel gazing done in this book, but if you can handle a bit of that the action and surprises are still a lot of fun.
Along with the introspection, another thing that may grate on some readers is the fact that although we are told many times about the danger and End Times approaching it never really feels all that urgent. Yes there is a lot of rain (even in Hell) and people are running out of LA in droves, and the people that remain are stressed and going a bit crazy, but it never really seems all that bad. It might be a product of the more laid back nature of Stark himself (he is our view point character after all), he’s seen it all so this stuff just slides off his back. It could also rest on the shoulders of all the people and friends he interacts with who are basically in the same boat. They have all been through so much that they just seem to shrug at the apocalypse. It is OK in small doses but after a while it can pull the reader out of the story, if the characters don’t seem to care why should I?
The characters are as fun as usual. James Stark is rad and bad ass as usual. I really love his mean sarcastic streak and the fact that he will fight for his friends until his last breath if needed. The Golden Vigil and Wells are back and the book doesn’t shy away from how much the two hate each other. Reading this book felt a lot like getting in touch with some old friends. It was fun but some of you have changed and grown up, become different than you were. The supporting cast was fine as usual, some are funny and some get hurt, but they all pull through fine in the end. This might be the first book where Stark doesn’t lose someone close to him (?). Which I am going to use to segway into the Candy story-line.
So, Candy and Stark are the same in this book as they’ve always been. Fast talking and quick with a joke or some random pop culture mention. That’s the problem. There is absolutely no growth or change with Candy in this book. She remains the same as when you first meet her. Even when things get slightly interesting with her the story pulls back from it with a quickness. I really don’t need to know how much she likes Spirited Away or how many pieces of furniture she and Stark break while having sex. Yes we get it, they are violent in all aspects of their lives. After a while it just gets boring and makes me sigh and roll my eyes. For a lot of the book Candy is just this cardboard cut-out wonderful girlfriend. Everyone, and I mean everyone, comments how much better Stark is when he’s with her. There is no real conflict between them here, like I said the story tries to make her interesting but backs away from anything remotely interesting so fast that it might as well not be put in there. I am also underwhelmed by the end of her story-line.
Obviously many of my problems here could be explained in subsequent books, and I hope they are! But right now it just isn’t as interesting to me as it used to be.