Review: Butcher Bird

Butcher Bird: A Novel of The Dominion - Richard Kadrey

Originally read December 21, 2013


This is an urban fantasy story.  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 must be what it feels like to be on drugs.”


Butcher Bird had some of that inexplicable chaos. Scenes were described that contained a mish-mash of crazy and random imagery, and events occurred that weren’t entirely explained. There were brief chapters throughout the book that focused on the mythology, and that helped serve as an explanation for many of the things that occurred in the main story, but there were still some unanswered questions and some “huh?” moments, especially near the climax of the story.


In spite of that, I really enjoyed this book. Maybe it’s because I thought the story was so interesting, or maybe I was just in the right frame of mind to not be bothered by a little chaos. Most likely it was a combination of those two things. In any case, I had trouble putting the book down. I kept wanting to read “one more chapter” to find out what would happen next. The characters were also interesting and likeable, even if they were a little messed up in the head!