My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This one's a toughie for me to review. I guess I'll point out that three stars is a good rating, and according to Goodreads metrics it indicates that I liked the book, which is true enough, but I was also slightly let down in the end, which prevents me from going any higher than three stars. Little of this disappointment, though, has to do with the material or Kit Power, who proves himself to be a very capable author and one I plan on reading more of in the future. Rather, I think some of the disappointment stems from my own expectations and mood, and both of these issues are entirely on me. Your mileage may vary, certainly.
So, what does GodBomb! have to offer? A heck of lot of wonderfully realized characters with strong backgrounds, plenty of powerful and violent moments, a fair share of surprises, and a madman in a suicide vest. And while the mad bomber has taken over a church revival, demanding God to prove his existence, Power is blessedly not the religiously preachy sort (or at least not in print; I have no way of knowing his religious inclinations in real life, of course). If you're worried about this book being akin to those annoying folk pounding on your door in the early weekend hours trying to save your soul before you've even gotten in your first cup of coffee, fear not. Power isn't hear to tell you how awesome god is or isn't, but he is here to tell a kick-ass story that often feels like a sucker punch.
Kit Power has a strong authorial voice, and in this audiobook his words are made all the more powerful by Scottish narrator Chris Barnes. This is my first outing with both of these gentlemen, and I'm already eager to see what other works they have. Barnes has a thick, charming brogue that serves this story well, set in the UK circa 1995 before pesky cell phones were everywhere, and listening to him was a delight. There's a wonderful synchronicity at work between author and narrator here, with the words lulling you in before delivering some mighty powerful action sequences. I might have to give this another listen over a pint or two, because, under Barnes' narration, it just seems like that kind of audiobook.
Any complaints I have about the material are purely subjective and largely emotional, so take this with a grain of salt. GodBomb! is dark; like, seriously dark. There's a lot of misery going on in this book and when those few moments of hopefulness shine through, Power stuffs it in a burlap sack and beats the ever living shit out of it. I certainly have no problem with dark fiction, but because of personal reasons I also was not perhaps in the best mindset to explore this work. I needed a sliver of goodness and maybe even a dash of sunshine and hope after all the real-life darkness, and I wasn't able to find that here. Power puts his characters through plenty of nasty trials and tribulations, which is fine but I needed something a little less gloomy and chaotic. Again, purely subjective and all on me.
I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for this book. Wrong place, wrong time sort of stuff (a predicament the characters within this book can relate to, I'm sure, albeit with far less sympathy for me than I had for them). I certainly understand why it's gotten so much praise from various corners, and it is definitely a powerful work of fiction. But, at the moment, it feels like a "it's not you, it's me" kind of book. I do believe, though, that this is a work I need to return to in the future, with expectations firmly in check and my head set bit more rightly than it currently is. Again, possibly, with a pint or two...
I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook from the author, who is sponsoring the January 2017 promotional group read/listen over at Horror Aficionados.
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