When deciding how to review The Everything Box, a couple approaches immediately came to mind. The first was to go with BUY THIS BOOK AND READ IT IMMEDIATELY. AWESOME!1! The other was to quote the book in full. The first lacks a certain panache. The other wouldn’t quite fall under Fair Use. So I will try to muddle through with a bit more specificity.
Kadrey is best known for his Sandman Slim urban fantasy series (my review of the latest, Killing Pretty, here). The Everything Box represents somewhat of a break from that. Not in that it is not urban fantasy, because it is. And, like the Sandman Slim novels, it’s set in Los Angeles. And it’s not even that the Sandman Slim novels take themselves too seriously. It’s that The Everything Box doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Or that it takes spinning a funny fantasy tale entirely seriously.
The Everything Box starts four thousand years in the past with angel Qaphsiel doing a bit of post-Flood cleanup on God’s account. He just has the small job—and it being a very big flood having left very few humans, and Qaphsiel being more regularly relegated to holding the great golden quills and silver Chroma and holy vellums, the fitting job—of wiping out the rest of humanity. The representative of whom promptly points out Qaphsiel is the “angel of office supplies.” It’s that sort of book.
Unfortunately (he’s very earnest), Qaphsiel has lost the Everything Box that will bring about the full apocalypse. Which brings us to the present day. A quick job gone bad and a quick spin in prison (for us), and our everyman Coop gets a job-offer-he-can’t-refuse to steal the Box. It won’t be the last time.
From there it’s all one caper after another, with no page left un-joked. It’s all heists, humor, and every myth and monster Kadrey can squeeze in. “You know, in the last few days, I’ve taken orders from a dead man, hung out with poltergeists, vampires, werewolves, people with tentacles, people with gills, and seen the inside of a turd submarine. After all that, I shouldn’t be surprised when someone tells me they’re an angel, but you what? I am.” And all that just in the Department of Peculiar Science (DOPS, a rather awkward acronym). I could sit here and copy some of the many, many jokes for the rest of the night, but I will instead reiterate my earlier sentiment: buy this damned funny book.
Disclosure: I received a (unsolicited) copy of The Everything Box from Harper.