Friday, April 12, 2013

The Good, The Bad and The Infernal - Guy Adams

Release Date: April 11th, 2013
Publisher: Solaris
Age Group:  Adult
Pages: 320
Format: e-book

Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

“You wish to meet your God?” the gunslinger asked, cocking his revolver, “well now... that’s easy to arrange.” Every one hundred years a town appears. From a small village in the peaks of Tibet to a gathering of mud huts in the jungles of South American, it can take many forms. It exists for twenty-four hours then vanishes once more, but for that single day it contains the greatest miracle a man could imagine: a doorway to Heaven.

It is due to appear on the 21st September 1889 as a ghost town in the American Midwest. When it does there are many who hope to be there: traveling preacher Obeisance Hicks and his simple messiah, a brain-damaged Civil War veteranHenry and Harmonium Jones and their freak show pack of outlaws; the Brothers of Ruth and their sponsor Lord Forset (inventor of the Forset Thunderpack and other incendiary modes of personal transport); finally, an aging gunslingerwho lost his wings at the very beginning of creation and wants nothing more than to settle old scores.

A weird western, a gun-toting, cigarrillo-chewing fantasy built from hangman’s rope and spent bullets. The West has never been wilder.


I’m still not sure if I should give this book 3 dragons or 4, and I’m pretty sure I still won’t have made up my mind when I finish writing this review.
The Good, The Bad and The Infernal is the second weird Western/Steampunk/SF (hard to put a label on these books)  I’ve read this year, the first one being “The Six Gun Tarot” which I really liked because it was something I had never read before. Unfortunately, GBI (let’s call it that from now on) doesn’t have that advantage, but it still was a very pleasant read.

GBI is a book that hinges mainly on its strong characterbuilding and weird situations.
In the  first few pages Adams introduces us to an eccentric cast of characters whose roll in the whole picture is still unclear. I’m always a bit confused by such introductions. A lot of books with an extensive cast of characters use this approach to give us a first glimpse of every person who’ll play a part in the story. This is both a positive and a negative approach in my opinion. It’s good to have a first short introduction, but it’s also very confusing for the reader.
The rest of the book was split in 4 different parts, making it a lot easier to get to know the different characters and keep them apart.
All the characters are rather colourful and though they are all from different layers of society, with different professions, secrets, lives, they have one thing in common: Wormwood.
I really have to applaud the characterbuilding which was very well done and made for very pleasant reading.

The book kicks off, after the prologue, with a chapter of Elwyn, a character who wasn’t introduces before and the predicament he gets himself into in a little town he’s traveling through.
The second part takes us along on the journey to Wormwood with an adventurer, an inventor and his daughter and a group of monks.
The third part is all about a band of misfits, former Freakshow performers, a fake preacher, a warhero with brain damage and the girl who’s in love with him.
All of them take a different route and meet different challenges along the road to Wormwood. As you may have guessed, reaching Wormwood isn’t going to be easy. The road is full of supernatural dangers trying to stop them from reaching their destination. Only the strong can survive and reach the mythical Wormwood.

The story is told with a certain sort of dry humor that really suited me. This is my kind of humor and it gave an extra touch to the book that I really appreciated. The writing was very sharp and clean, easy to read and taking the story to a higher level.
Sigh, I still don’t know how to rate this book. I really enjoyed reading it and it’s a fast read, it’s certainly a strong new player in the weird Western/Steampunk/SF genre, but I feel like I’ll have to wait for the second book to form a conclusion about this one. GBI has an open ending and the great mystery the author has been working towards will only be described in further detail in the second book.
As a build-up to the second book, this was definitely a good one.
Let’s say 4 dragons, because I’m in a good mood and I had a few cosy, weird evenings reading The Good, The Bad and The Infernal.


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