The Everything Box
by Richard Kadrey
Cover Artist: Photo: Paolo74s / Getty Images
Review by Wes Breazeale
Harper Voyager Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062389541
Date: 19 April 2016 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Over the course of seven books (with an 8th coming out this year), Richard Kadrey has created a very popular urban fantasy series featuring anti-hero Sandman Slim. The series has gotten progressively more complex and a bit darker, despite Kadrey's keen sense of humor. In the Sandman Slim books, that humor takes on a cutting, biting edge that nips at our societal norms. His latest book, The Everything Box, is the start of a new series--and the start of a new sense of humor as well.
The Everything Box is similar to Kadrey's other recent work in that it deals with magic and magical beings, God, angels, and the potential end of the world – your standard fare, really. But while the Sandman Slim books are seen largely through Slim's eyes, giving the reader only Slim's jaundiced view of L.A. and its inhabitants, The Everything Box provides a few different perspectives and gives a much greater feel for the world in which the story takes place. And there is less darkness and a bit more hopefulness throughout. But like the Sandman books, most people don't know about magic and the greater forces at work.
The Everything Box focuses mainly on a thief named Coop, an expert at stealing magical objects for his clients. He possesses a "particular set of skills", that make him very well suited for his work. When he successfully pulls off one mission, the recovery of a small box possibly containing humanity's doom, he finds himself in the crosshairs of several groups that want the box for their own purposes. Among those groups is the angel Qafsiel, who originally misplaced said box, and the Department of Peculiar Science, an agency in charge of managing all things strange and magical – think Men In Black meets the Ministry of Magic and you'll get a feel for Kadrey's take.
Kadrey introduces a variety of likeable and unlikeable characters, and infuses just enough mystery into the story to keep the reader intrigued. Qafsiel, in particular, is quite sympathetic as a less than perfect angel, and Coop himself falls squarely into the "loveable rogue" category.
And of course there is plenty of Kadrey's trademark wit and snark, as well as his snappy dialog. There are plenty of pop culture references that are pretty spot-on, from Marvel Comics to the movie National Treasure, and the characters act and react as you would expect people to react.
The Everything Box is a very fun read and a great addition to Kadrey's cadre. Though distinct enough to differentiate it from his Sandman Slim books, The Everything Box should still satisfy those who like them.