Aloha From Hell

Aloha From Hell  - Richard Kadrey, MacLeod Andrews I started reading Aloha From Hell on February 15th of this year. Here it is, September 20th, and I've just now finished it. What began as a read on my Kindle changed to the hardcover edition in July when I found it at the library. I made it to about page 100 before I had to take the book back so someone else could tear their fucking hair out. Finally, I downloaded the audio book, because MacLeod Andrews can make Cannibal Corpse lyrics sound like Catholic hymns. And whataya know? I actually finished this mother-humping book. Amen, and pass the maledictions!

Oh, how I loved the first two books in this series. The witty sarcasm, the foul-mouthed humor, action that explodes on the page... What in the name of Tom Cruise's bleached asshole happened here? Sure, Stark is just as sarcastic as ever, but the humor was like listening to an obese comedian tell his hundredth fat joke of the night. It was funny the first 99 times, but now it's just kinda sad. Doesn't he have any other material, for Cruise's sake?

Aloha From Hell drones on about religious bullshit and other godly mythos as Kadrey tries to figure out who God is and what purpose the deity will serve in his Sandman Slim urban fantasy series. As far as action is concerned, we get an anti-climactic exorcism, three or four gladius battles that seem ripped from the Sword Fighting Playbook of 1940, Stark driving a Ferrari Testarossa out of Hell and into a war with Heaven ( literally pause the audio because I was laughing so hard at the mid-life-crisis-fantasy-porn), and a finale on par with the ending of the Richard Donner's Superman. Other than that, we receive roughly two billion conversations. There's so much dialogue in this book, I though I was reading a script. And, for the most part, the cast are not talking about anything worth a fuck. No! We get page after page of hellions whining about why Hell sucks, bad guys spouting off exposition, and good guys complaining about having to be good guys. By the time I was done with this (and I never thought I'd say this, but...), I was chomping at the bit for some of Peter Straub or Stephen King's infamous walls of text, wherein we get paragraphs that last two or three pages without a single shred of dialogue. I was actually tired of hearing people talk. More than once I thought, "Shut the fuck up and get on with the goddamn story, you mouthy pricks!"

This book is packed full of filler. It's bursting at the seams, really. I mean, for fuck's sake, it takes Stark until the 54% mark to get to Hell. The book's story doesn't even really start until halfway through the goddamn book! All the bullshit before he goes to Hell is superfluous. Wanna know how I know? Because I forgot everything that happened during the first section of the book and was not even close to lost at the end. I got the full picture, and I can't even remember the first fifty percent!

Oh, and Jack the Ripper's appearance was pointless. So very cliched and pointless. What about H. H. Holmes or Albert Fish, or someone who hasn't popped up half a trillion times in books about Hell.


(*takes a deep breath* Sorry, about that. Now back to our regularly scheduled review)

I almost rage-quit this pile of dumpster leavings five times since February, but friends kept telling me, "The fourth book is SOOOOO worth the trouble." You guys better be right, or I'm going to burn this book and use the flames to light your pubes on fire.

Now, with all this cussing and fussing, I bet you're asking yourself how in the name of Tom Cruise's waxed weasel hole did it garner three stars from me? Well, the answer is this: There are parts in this book that I liked quite a bit. All the emotional stuff was handled expertly, and I even teared when Alice tells Stark how she really died. I got another sentimental boner while Stark was ranting about how God was just another deadbeat dad in his life. Any scene that was designed to tug at my heartstrings worked like a bodybuilder bench pressing bags of cotton. And that's what I don't understand, Mr. Kadrey. This is urban fantasy, not literary fiction, so why the huge emphasis on emotional content here? Some of your prose herein is fucking gorgeous, but when it comes to action and plot progression, Aloha From Hell eats all the ass with pancake syrup and sprinkles on top. Had the fight sequences been up to par with the tear-jerking shit, and the dialogue edited down a couple dozen pages, I believe this would have been the best book in the series. Because, Kadrey,dude, you had some important shit to say, it's just that most of it got buried under a metric-fuck-tonne of bloated text.

In summation: I don't know if reading this volume was worth it yet, so I cannot recommend Aloha From Hell, nor can I tell you to stay the fuck away from it. I will tackle that after reading the next book in the series, which, strangely enough, is a novella. Devil in the Dollhouse (book 3.5) comes before Devil Said Bang (Book 4), so to the Dollhouse I turn. It best not suck, Kadrey. Best not!

Three balls sucked out of five.