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Butcher Bird: A Novel of The Dominion

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,777 ratings  ·  185 reviews
Spyder Lee is a happy man who lives in San Francisco and owns a tattoo shop. One night an angry demon tries to bite his head off before he's saved by a stranger. The demon infected Spyder with something awful - the truth. He can suddenly see the world as it really is: full of angels and demons and monsters and monster-hunters. A world full of black magic and mysteries. The ...more
Paperback, 257 pages
Published July 1st 2007 by Night Shade Books (first published 2005)
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My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana RowlandRiver Marked by Patricia BriggsLa croix d'ossements by Patricia BriggsEven White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana RowlandButcher Bird by Richard Kadrey
Best Daniel Dos Santos Book Cover
5th out of 56 books — 87 voters
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The Birds
112th out of 407 books — 71 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeremiah Genest
There are basically two versions of hell and more importantly Lucifer existent in modern fantasy, and pretty much the western imagination, Dante’s and Milton’s. Oh sure there are a few other versions out there, like Blake’s, but frankly they don’t have the staying power of those two models.

Butcher Bird is Milton all the way. Milton as imagined in the hazy postmodern pagan relativistic world we exist in. Its Gaiman’s Lucifer and the Lucifer we’ve seen in so many other fantasy novels. Frankly I wa
...more
James
Mar 11, 2008 James added it
Man, if this is the state of contemporary literature, there is little hope for the written word. Like wading through a prose version of the mediocre dregs of Deviant Art; all edge for the sake of edge. This is the kind of tripe middle aged "social outliers" write in coffee shops in the hopes that some pale beauty will take notice. This is writing without skill and blind to art.
Thomas
I've had my fill of urban fantasy. It's as played out as a Scarface t-shirt.
Really, I should only be mad at myself. I read about this book on the movie news website CHUD, and they never reviews books. It was five stars all the way, and promised an exciting new voice. So I picked it up in the bookstore, and there was a blurb from William Gibson, telling me: if you like Juxtapoz, you'll love Butcher Bird!
The cover art gave me misgivings. It's very well painted, but it had me thinking 'This is that
...more
Loren
The book started slowly and the characters' hipster snark grated on me enough that I might have put the book down except that it had come so highly recommended. The pace picked up the deeper in I went, to the point that it was hard to put the book down to go to the publisher's party Friday night.

I'm told that Sandman Slim (Kadrey's newest) is even better.

In Butcher Bird, it was refreshing to read about a truly honest, truly compassionate male character who wears his heart on his sleeve. The othe
...more
Kristen
Interesting. It was good. And I liked the trip to Hell - it reminded me of Milton. Language doesn't bother me - but if you have misgivings about reading things that might make a sailor blush, you might want to reconsider this one. Fu*# is in ever third sentence (ok, that's an exaggeration, but there were times when it felt like it). I had 2 small problems with this book - first, the smoking is so in your face - I mean, I know people smoke and so do book characters. But every time I put the book ...more
Jason

4 Stars for fun

Having read the first two Sandman Slim novels I decided to go back and read some older stuff by Kadrey. I was not disappointed. Like the Sandman Slim novels this book centers on demons, angels, monsters, and even Lucifer himself.

Comparing this book to the later Sandman Slim novels shows many of the flaws of this being an early work.Overall, this book plays along main stream avenues, the plot, the conflicts, and the outcome can all be seen from a mile a way. Even the ending has bee
...more
Althea Ann
I felt like I am part of the target audience for this book. On the other hand, I felt like the book did a bit too much poking about that: “Hey! This is a book just for people like you! Who like tattoos! And bars! And are into mythology and fantasy! You’re badass and cool! Check it out!” Yeah, ok. Unfortunately, I sort of felt like the ‘cool’ stuff was a veneer laid over a fairly typical and not-that-riveting quest fantasy. Who the characters were didn’t really affect or inform what happened to t ...more
Osiris
Te maldigo, ¡oh Richard Kadrey!, por no hacer una continuación.

Pero bueno, la reseña, se trata de Spyder, un tatuador quien un día descubre que hay una esfera de realidad entrelazada con nuestro universo donde existen demonios y ángeles y justo cuando descubre eso un demonio intenta comerselo, pero justo cuando va a pasaar eso una mujer ciega que pelea con una espada lo salva, pero después resulta que la mujer ciega (Shrike, aka The Butcher Bird), es una asesina y le pide a Spyder que lo acompañ
...more
Bryce
I want to see pulp authors Richard Kadrey and Charlie Huston battle each other to see who is really the reigning king of the super-gritty urban supernatural thriller. I imagine the pre-fight insults would be epic, but I also wouldn't rule out the possibility that things would devolve into a slap-fight pretty quickly.

Both authors play on my inner violence-monger and their noir-esque dialog leaves me giddy.

Butcher Bird follows the adventures of Spyder Lee as he discovers a secret world in the sh
...more
Sarah
Bitten by an insect-headed demon, Spyder Lee has been given the ability to see worlds beyond - or rather, parallel to - his own. The three Spheres containing life have been separated for their own good, but still intermingle, unaware of each others' presence. Spyder now finds himself one of the few people in his Sphere able to see the inhabitants of all three: angels, demons, monsters, myths, and madmen. He can also see the Black Clerks, dark-coated men who claim to keep the balance in the spher ...more
Leslie
I had no idea what this book was about when I opened it and I've not read a lot of urban fantasy stuff. I read it simply for the cover. The cover art was beautiful.

My favorite part of stories is the characters. I want to know who they are and I want to hear their voices. I fell in love with Lulu and Spyder within the first two pages. I love the dialogue and mechanics between them. I knew who they were and how close they were from the very first chapter. I loved watching Spyder develop through th
...more
Elizabeth
Spyder is a tattoo artist with his own shop in San Fransisco, living a pretty good life until a demon tries to kill him while he's out having a piss behind his favorite watering hole. He's rescued by a cute blind woman who cuts the demon's head off, but the morning after he's able to see things. All the other creatures living in our world, the demons, angels and monsters that everyone else manages to forget just after seeing he sees and remembers.

He goes to find the blind woman who helped him, h
...more
Mathew Carruthers
Unsettling and awesome

This is just good storytelling. If you were to take a basic quest/revenge story, throw in some unexpected romance, merge it with the Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost, then filter it all through the more visceral aspects of Clive Barker's imagination, you would get a very close approximation to this novel. Well done - but you can really expect nothing less from the writer who created the githyanki (for you D&D buffs out there).
Fantasy Literature
Kadrey’s Butcher Bird was published in 2007, two years before his SANDMAN SLIM series. Butcher Bird, subtitled A Novel of the Dominion, shares some themes with its later cousin, but the shape and the tone of this book are completely different.
Spyder Lee is a tattoo artist in San Francisco. He shares his studio with his best friend Lulu Garou, who does piercings. One night, when Spyder steps out into the alley behind his favorite bar, he is attacked. The attack is terrifying, and for one moment S
...more
Jim
My final read of the year, and it was an enjoyable fantasy romp. I have much liked Kadrey's Sandman series, and what I found most interesting about this book, which seems to have been wriitena few years earlier than the series, is I think you can see the genesis of the Sandman character, as well as others (such as Lucifer), and budding development of life in Hell. There are elements of his later female shade/assassin characters in Shrike, a beautiful blind killer-for-hire, as well as of Spyder i ...more
emily
if i could give half stars i'd give this one three and a half. it was definitely a solid book, better than a lot of fantasy that's out there right now. there were little things that bugged me; some typos and grammar stuff that i can't help but notice, some of the dialogue fell a little flat, and the characters were engaging but never engrossing. that being said, overall the story was a good one, the plot was interesting and the descriptions of the world were vivid and clear. this guy definitely ...more
Stacy
I really wanted to love and adore this book as much as my friends have... but I just couldn't. I liked it - it was a great story.. but it was totally predictable. Brooding sexy tattooed hero falls for the tough strong woman who helps him navigate through worlds he's never seen. I didn't want him to fall for her, that's so predictable and boring. He should of fallen for some crazy otherworldly mermaid or something. Being a fan of Neil Gaiman and his worlds first made this one seem like a copy. Do ...more
Natalie
I absolutely adored Sandman Slim, also by Richard Kadrey, and Butcher Bird had an interesting premise, so I figured I couldn't go wrong. I was wrong. This book felt so heavy handed and klunky, the characters... what's like the evil moustached version of a caricature? Like that. I also felt like Kadrey was trying really, really hard to prove how cool he is and how cool his hero is. Whereas Stark from Sandman Slim just was a bad ass, this hero (anti-hero, really), Spyder, jumped up and down and sh ...more
Stuart Reid
You can see the beginning of Sandman Slim in this novel as it follows the same themes. I love Kadreys writing style and the imaginative settings and characters, but sometimes the plot seems secondary.

This is subtitled "A Novel of the Dominion" but I'm not sure if there's any more stories of Spyder, Shrike and Lulu. An urban fantasy universe is set up well but perhaps Sandman took over.

To summarise the plot: Spyder, a tatooist, and Lulu, his BFF and the one who handles piercing in their partnersh
...more
branewurms
May 22, 2011 branewurms rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to branewurms by: Katie
Kind of uneven - Kadrey's writing seems to have improved a lot between this and Sandman Slim, or maybe he just got a better editor. A really fun read, nevertheless. I was surprised by how generally upbeat it was, having read the two first Sandman Slim books in all their grimdark glory. This was more like a strangely seedy Gaiman novel. Was interesting how a lot of the ideas set out in this book were like proto-ideas for Sandman Slim.
Christopher Mudiappahpillai
I enjoyed this book to no end.

A world similar to Kadrey's Sandman Slim, but from the viewpoint of a hedonistic tattoo artist with a heart of gold. Throw in a sword-wielding, blind assassin, a few nefarious 'monsters', and the Prince of Darkness, and you've got all the ingredients for a rollicking good time.

Pulpy, yes, but thoroughly entertaining.
Elaine Cramer
William Gibson writes in the blurb on the front of this book, "If this novel had been rendered in oil or acrylic, it would be kicking world-class lowbrow ass in multi-page spread in Juxtapoz or on the walls of La Luz de Jesus. Go for it. The man is mad, in every best way."

Well, I'm not cool enough to know what Juxtapoz or La Luz de Jesus is, so there's that. But I agree, the book was a lot like a painting. It was interesting to read about all the things in Richard Kadrey's vivid imagination, but
...more
Amy
This formula was so similar to Sandman Slim that I found myself comparing the books and characters. The characters were a bit lack luster and most were non-essential. the last ten chapters managed to quickly pull a disorganized story together, but I can't say that it was good.
Rosemary
Taking a tour through Hell with Richard Kadrey is always a joyride through the steaming guts of world mythology. But beneath the tough guy troubles beats a heart of pure marshmallow (both hero and author). A truly sweet fable of love, demons, and nicotine addiction.
Sourabh Mookherjee
Aug 02, 2007 Sourabh Mookherjee rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
One of the best sci fi fantasy book I have read. And what's special about it is that it is freely downloadable from the web. No. Not piracy. A free legal download.

It's a rollercoaster of insights that I have not been able to forget even after so long.
Rastlin98
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rosalind M
This book is definitely not for everyone. But if you stick with it, it'll give you a lot to think about. Definitely an unusual way to think about the people behind the masks we see every day.
Jake Barlow
From the perspective of a lighthearted comic book style of read, it was reasonably entertaining. As a work of literature, it is pedestrian at best.
YouKneeK
Although I normally enjoy traditional fantasy books, urban fantasy is more hit-or-miss for me. In my somewhat limited experience, urban fantasy books often have less clearly-defined world building and more of what feels to me like inexplicable chaos. I prefer the worlds I read about to have clear rules and logical, consistent cause-and-effect relationships. This helps me feel like I understand everything that’s going on. Sometimes, when I read an urban fantasy novel, I think to myself, “This mus ...more
Les Chroniques Aléatoires
Les critiques disent que ce livre ressemble à un film de Tarantino, comme si l’auteur avait emprisonné l’essence même des scènarios de Tarantino dans son roman et ils n’ont pas tort !! Butcher Bird c’est un peu le mélange de Kill Bill et Jackie Brown dans un livre totalement dingue qui mélange une tonne de choses et de références. Et bien évidemment, tout cela se consomme sans modération et avec plaisir !!

Spyder est un tatoueur totalement paumé qui va voir son monde sortir de son orbite pour ent
...more
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Richard Kadrey is a freelance photographer and writer living in San Francisco. He photographs under the name Kaos Beauty Klinik. His new novel is Sandman Slim (Eos, 2009).
More about Richard Kadrey...
Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim, #1) Kill the Dead (Sandman Slim, #2) Aloha from Hell (Sandman Slim, #3) Devil Said Bang (Sandman Slim, #4) Kill City Blues (Sandman Slim, #5)

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“All losers are romantics. It's what keeps us from blowing our brains out.” 69 likes
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