With urban fantasy being the biggest game in town, I was quite happy with the fact that the Bobby Dollar books turned out to be Tad Williams' most accessible series to date. Still, as entertaining as the novels turned out to be, it appears that they were mostly ignored by the wider urban fantasy/paranormal romance readership. None of the installments received blurbs from bestselling or well-known urban fantasy authors, and there has been a near total radio silence regarding the series on various SFF resources. To all ends and purposes, it seems that only Tad Williams' fans gave this series a shot and no one else. Given the popularity of this subgenre, I find this odd. . .
And Tad Williams brings this trilogy to a close with the same snarky style and aplomb which have made the first two volumes such enjoyable reads! Though it leaves the door open for more to come, Sleeping Late on Judgement Day is a fitting and satisfying ending to a quality series!
Here's the blurb:
Where does an angel go when he’s been to Hell and back? Renegade angel Bobby Dollar does not have an easy afterlife. After surviving the myriad gruesome dangers Hell oh-so-kindly offered him, Bobby has returned empty-handed – his demon girlfriend Casmira, the Countess of Cold Hands, is still in the clutches of Eligor, Grand Duke of Hell. Some hell of a rescue. Forced to admit his failure, Bobby ends up back at his job as an angel advocate. That is, until Walter, an old angel friend whom Bobby never thought he’d see again, shows up at the local bar. The last time he saw Walter was in Hell, when Walter had tried to warn him about one of Bobby’s angel superiors. But now Walter can’t remember anything, and Bobby doesn’t know whom to trust. Turns out that there’s corruption hidden within the higher ranks of Heaven and Hell, but the only proof Bobby has is a single feather. Before he knows it, he’s in the High Hall of Heavenly Judgement – no longer a bastion for the moral high ground, if it ever was, but instead just another rigged system – on trial for his immortal soul… Sleeping Late on Judgement Day is the third installment of Tad Williams’ urban fantasy Bobby Dollar series!
The worldbuilding in the previous two volumes was quite interesting. Williams' depiction of Heaven in The Dirty Streets of Heaven was intriguing, but his depiction of Hell in Happy Hour in Hell was a bit over-the-top. When the author's imagination runs wild and go wherever his inspiration takes him, unexpected things tend to happen. With the groundwork laid down and the plotlines established, the worldbuilding aspect doesn't play as important a role in this final volume. Which allows the author's storytelling skills to shine.
Pace was an issue in the second book, as Williams occasionally put the plot aside to explore some weird and quirky corners of Hell. Not so with Sleeping Late on Judgement Day. The storylines keep moving forward, heading toward a final confrontation. The rhythm remains crisp, and like The Dirty Streets of Heaven this one is pretty much a page-turner from beginning to end.
The first person narrative of Angel Doloriel, also known as Bobby Dollar, makes for another fun-filled ride. Actually, it's probably my favorite facet of this series. Not always the sharpest tool in the shed, a lovesick Bobby becomes an even bigger dumbass from time to time. But for all his faults, it's impossible not to root for the poor guy! Once more, a number of familiar faces return in this third volume and new characters make the supporting cast even stronger. The addition of the Ukrainian Amazons was hilarious and made for some priceless moments with Bobby.
Sleeping Late on Judgement Day is a relatively fast-paced affair and each chapter brings the reader closer to the final showdown. Problem is, the ending doesn't offer much in terms of resolution. Tad Williams wanted to keep the door open for possible sequels, this goes without saying. A number of loose ends do get tied up, mind you, offering a resolution of sorts. And yet, as far as the main story arc is concerned, answers to many of the most sought-after questions are not revealed. The Good vs Evil love affair was so clichéd that I was persuaded Tad Williams had something unanticipated in mind in store for us. Otherwise, that plotline was just way too easy, and the author has never been known for taking the path of least resistance. Well, I'm glad to report that Williams didn't go for the sugarcoated "All is well that ends well" sort of ending.
Overall, Sleeping Late on Judgement Day is another fun and entertaining read. Although some will likely find the lack of resolution off-putting, this final volume remains a fine conclusion to what has been a cool series filled with captivating concepts and engaging protagonists. And it's Tad Williams' most accessible work thus far!