City On Fire, Hearts On Fire.

*As seen on*

When you pick up this book you get the initial impression, ‘okay impress me’. For two reasons, one it’s huge and with big books comes the need to make people feel the hours and hours of time put into it was worth the pay off. And two because it’s been shuffled around so much as the book which is worth two million freaking dollars, at least the advance was that much.

But upon cracking open the spine you feel the fireworks on the page come to life. The first book in it starts out just as anticipated, the introduction of a select amount of characters that you will inevitably learn their entire life story. That just comes with the territory of reading so you can get over that. But when you delve into the two million dollar book it becomes apparent that this book is worth a good amount of money and yeah maybe it did deserve to incite a bidding war. It’s wonderfully written with explosions coming in the form of fireworks, 10 cent words, and remarkable descriptions of characters, buildings, and landscapes. This two million dollar book is…rather good. Hmm.

But that’s the problem. It’s good, not great or spectacular or two million dollar good. Because at the end of the day when you hear that it’s worth that much it’s going to nag at you. You’re going to read it with the expectation that it’s a novel that should blow you away with every sentence and word and syllable. Which it’s good but come on, did any of the monuments of literature blow you away with every damn syllable?

The books have been released in England as a box set and has been described as an HBO series in the version of a book. Which it absolutely lives up to. But does that mean the price tag on it will look more reasonable? For some it should, especially when patrons of the show Game Of Thrones heard about the exorbitant cost of filming a scene of a cgi-ed nude person having feces thrown on her and being spit on. Shame on us for not caring. Shame.

And why didn’t we care? Because we were fucking entertained. And because it was television, that stuff is normal, look at the cost of filming an episode of Breaking Bad, Walking Dead or choose any high budget HBO series. But with a book the expectation rises tenfold. And that’s a shame because no book will live up to that expectation with the exception of maybe Thomas Pynchon photos and his signed autographs with pictures of him signing the autographs and autographing those pictures. And even then it will still be too much.

If a part of the advertising of this book was addressing it’s advance cost then they may have failed and/or doomed this author to not letting him live up the expectations.

As you delve into the zine conveniently placed midway you become the journalist. Because as Richard dies the story seems to go cold for a moment. Then Pulaski discovers something and then you read the zine, the last one, the one Richard had in his possession. You become the journalist and embark on the journey of discovering the shooter and the deeper truth about Sam, Charlie, and the PHP. You also get a kick ass zine that is fun to read along.

There will be a certain amount of pain. Of heartbreak. Of emotion that leaves you inexplicably sad. But after hundreds of pages it only seems right to feel this way when someone is dying, figuratively or literally.  It’s a beautiful sadness, one that comes when your emotions get wrapped up in fictional characters.

Now to enjoy this novel it isn’t hard, shut off, tune in, ignore the price tag, and move your eyes all over the words. It’s a wild ride into punk rock, love, hate, sex, and murder.


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