We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Other Possible Prompts: 5. Chapters have titles, 8. Involving the art world, 22. An unlikely detective, 23. An author with an X, Y, or Z in their name

This is not my favorite Grady Hendrix, not by a long shot. I knew it wasn’t going to be, but what a bummer! I just really, really hate band books I think. This was no exception.

Spurred by a gap in her own personal sense of time, Kris Pulaski embarks to find what’s left of her Dürt Würk metal bandmates from the 90s. Believing their former lead singer to have sold their souls to “Black Iron Mountain”, she endeavours on an epic road trip to find all her former bandmates and stop Terry “The Blind King” before his Hellfest ’19 music festival: which Kris believes will bring the end times.

If this synopsis sounds like a bad trip, that’s because it is. I love Grady Hendrix’ creativity, but this one was so far gone to me I couldn’t keep up. Whatever it was, it made a lot of sense to the characters…but I guess I missed that critical point where everything was supposed to click. I got the general idea of things, like “Black Iron Mountain = bad”. But it just took things a lot further than my mind was willing to go.

Good god, I have absolutely no idea why I still try to read books about bands. Excepting Daisy Jones & The Six, which to this day remains one of my favorites ever, I can’t think of a single book about a band that I liked or cared about. That atmosphere, those types of characters: I really dislike everything about them. I should’ve known to quit while I was ahead when it came to Hendrix and this novel. It doesn’t alter my opinion of Hendrix as a writer, because I cannot objectively say this a bad book. My judgments here are heavily based on my bias.

And speaking of Hendrix, his horror writing skills remain top notch. Nothing about the scenes of horror in here were bad, I just couldn’t be bothered to care if the characters lived or died through them. Is that bad? I’m also very curious where they all found their wills to live, particularly Kris: her life had gone to complete crap, she finds out her former bandmate sold her soul for fame and money, and she’s like… “better go round everybody up and stop him”. I’d just lay down and cry, frankly. Even so, Hendrix remains one of few writers who can unfold a jump scare movie in my mind. Even if I did not care for this story, I cannot deny it is written with giving the reader the creepy crawlies in mind – and succeeds.

This book really did just…bore me. I hate saying it but it’s so true. I couldn’t stop zoning out, and the only character I was really invested in was Melanie. I can’t go any higher than 2.5 stars for good horror, but a bad story. I just didn’t like it for me, and I don’t think I’m the only one…no one talks about this novel when they talk about Grady Hendrix.

So thus concludes my thoughts, of which there are few, on We Sold Our Souls. I won’t say it’s not up to his standard; I just really, really didn’t like it. I’ve used a lot of really’s and very’s…point being, not for me.

Have a great week, peeps!

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Rating: 5 out of 5.

HOLY *&%$@)%&!!! I just finished the audiobook version of Daisy Jones & The Six and then I cried, at the office. THIS is what a five star read looks like. I have so many thoughts, and they’re literally all good. Prepare yourselves.

Daisy Jones & The Six tells the story of a rock band in the 70s: what brought them together, what tore them apart, and everything in between. It’s told in a series of interviews, pieced together to create a whole picture of what happened here between Daisy Jones, Billy Dunne, and the five other bandmates who spent the late seventies making incredibly angry, romantic, heartfelt, and heartbreaking music.

You all know how much I hate band books. I think I’ve mentioned it once or twice when the trope comes up in romance novels. It feels over dramatic, repetitive, I could go on…but this? This. It’s just such good stuff! This book is so much more than glorifying the “band life”. It’s a poignant drama about seven talented artists whose lives are so entangled it becomes beautiful and messy. About love. About life. About anger. About addiction. About reality, not the dramatization of a life on the road singing songs. I adored this book. And I only picked it up because a friend told me it wasn’t something you can pass over.

Of course, this book is loosely based on Fleetwood Mac. Because of course it is. I love Fleetwood Mac, and Stevie Nicks. I could see their charm all over this book, and see some of the parallels Reid was drawing. Maybe that was part of the draw for me – but I know for sure, whatever did it, I cannot recommend this book enough.

I think part of what makes this novel so amazing is these characters. Listening to it, I thought it might be a struggle to keep track of SO many people, but they are so unique and with such unique struggles, I caught on pretty quickly. The Dunne brothers were cast with similar voices, but their personalities couldn’t have been more different, and I could pick up fairly easily who was who when they began talking.

But truly, these are some of the best written characters I have read, maybe ever. Yeah, ever. Inside of these pages, I felt I had known this band my entire life. And despite not liking the choices of many, I loved them all. I was rooting for every single one. They were all so likeable in their own way. Even Daisy, who when I first heard her description, her biography, I thought I would hate. I thought this would be a book about a normal band, torn apart by this spoiled brat Daisy Jones…but you know what? They were right when they said she was magnetic. Iridescent. Reid wrote her that way, then made it happen. You can’t not like Daisy Jones, or at least root for her. She is incredible, and this book is pulled directly into her orbit, no matter how messy that gravitational pull may be.

And Billy Dunne? You’ll think through Debut that you hate him. He makes poor choices. He’s not terribly likeable. And even as he continues to dominate conversations and spaces throughout the book, I couldn’t help but love him, too. He changes and evolves, but he is who he is. Never in my life have I rooted harder for characters than the cast of this book. Karen was admittedly my favorite; the keyboardist is voiced by Judy Greer, so she already had that going for her, but her character is just straightforward awesome. Everything she does, the way she lives her life, and her connections to the others.

Now I’m certainly not going to ruin it, but I have to say – I wasn’t expecting a twist. Any twist at all, no matter how small. But it was that very twist, that unexpected shift in thinking, that got me choked up at the office as I organized some files. I can’t wait to talk about this very thing with SOMEONE. I just thought it tied everything up so beautifully.

So I texted my friend to tell her that I had FINALLY finished this book, months after she told me to read it – and she thought I meant the show. Upon which I’m like, OH MY GOD IT’S GOING TO BE A SHOW??? And what an awesome show it’s going to be. Reese Witherspoon is producing it, so you know that someone who read it and loved it is going to be involved with it.

Now that I’ve rambled – if you haven’t read this book, it’s time to pick it up, friends. This novel is a true masterpiece. I cannot recommend this enough. Daisy Jones & The Six is not only one of the best books I read this year, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. And I don’t hand out that praise lightly.

Please, please grab yourself a copy. Right now. Like run.