The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey
The Everything Box is a fun and entertaining read, a bit of a madcap caper really with lots of different elements that, like most roads, all lead back.
It seems that a few thousand years ago God decided that the end of the world was not nigh – it was here. He sent one of his trusty Angels, Qaphsiel, to carry out the deed and carrying a small and unassuming box, a box that makes Pandora’s box pale into insignificance, he descended upon earth ready to wipe out the human race and return home. The box was a doomsday machine. Unfortunately Qaphsiel fumbled his mission, he had one job, and he dropped the ball. Somebody stole the box right from under his nose and so the human race had a brief reprieve whilst Qaphsiel roamed the planet trying to retrieve the box, complete his mission and go home.
Meanwhile, Coop a thief of magical artifacts, has been commissioned for a new job. With his team he sets off to steal a small box. Nobody knows what this box can really do? Perhaps it will spark the apocalypse, raise demons, grant eternal life, give three wishes to the owner! Who knows. Perhaps it could wipe out the entire planet just by cracking the lid.
And so it begins. A strange sequence of events where a couple of religious cults, a secret Government Department, a bunch of thieves and a powerful business man who wants the artifact to sell to the highest bidder will all embark upon the same path.
The characters. Well, the main character is Coop. We have Qaphsiel and another unknown celestial being who seems to be wandering the planet. Both of these characters can literally rain down fire and brimstone not to mention change the face of the planet with a sweep of their hand! There are two religious cults pitted against each other in a bid to raise their own particular demon and end the world and a secret government agency which has a Men in Black feel about it with some of the strangest agents ever – some not even alive any more.
The world. Well, it’s basically the world we know and love but with a few additions and some very unusual towns that can be reached in the most unexpected ways. Most people seem to be blissfully unaware of these more unusual elements of the world I hasten to add.
Basically I thought this was a fun read. It’s light entertainment, fast paced and with plenty of action and imagination.
I remember watching a film, I can’t remember the name or when, something about a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World which was basically all about a bunch of people racing to gain the same object and their crazy capers along the way as they tried to outdo each other. This story kind of puts me in mind of that. It has comedy moments and it also has this whole feeling of one small disaster leading to the next and so on. Now, this isn’t for everyone and sometimes comedy can be difficult to achieve in a book because what might be meat for one is poison for another.
In terms of criticisms. Nothing really severe. Like I said above, this was a very easy to read book, you could almost call it the beach read for the speculative fiction reader! It’s entertaining and certainly not taxing on the brain! I think personally I was expecting something a little darker and so in that respect maybe I was a tiny bit disappointed- it felt almost like this could have been a heist story/end of the world/comedy that had a couple of supernatural elements tacked on to make it feel different. That being said I did find this very easy to read and given the chance I would continue however I have no idea if this is a standalone novel or not. I think the ending could be complete but also leaves openings for more.
On the whole, a light hearted and fun read with a Men in Black meets Dogma sort of feel.
I received a copy through Netgalley courtesy of the publisher for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.