Sabbath

Sabbath

Highlander meets Seven in Nick Mamatas's Sabbath.The infamous eleventh-century warrior Hexen Sabbath is plucked from death and certain damnation by a being claiming to be an angel of the Lord, and finds himself dropped into contemporary Manhattan with no clothes, no weapons, no resources, and one mission--to track down and kill the living personifications of the Seven...

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Title:Sabbath
Author:Nick Mamatas
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Sabbath Reviews

  • Neil Hellegers
  • Tammy

    I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

    Sinners rejoice! Mamatas’ latest is a big, brash, bawdy tale of sin, violence and laugh-out-loud humor, complete with time travel, swords, angels and art galleries.

    I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

    Sinners rejoice! Mamatas’ latest is a big, brash, bawdy tale of sin, violence and laugh-out-loud humor, complete with time travel, swords, angels and art galleries. 

    Nick Mamatas seems to be one of those writers who never writes the same thing twice. Having now read three of his books, I can safely say that

    is completely different from anything else of his I’ve read. I had a bunch of fun with this book, and if you don’t mind raunchy humor, blood and guts—and heads—flying through the air, sex, drugs and a bit of philosophizing, then I guarantee you will too.

    Hexen Sabbath is an eleventh century warrior who dies in battle, but is miraculously brought back to life and transported to current day Manhattan by an angel named Albathar. Albathar tell him that the world will end in seven days, unless Sabbath can find and kill the human personifications of the seven deadly sins, who are currently walking around Manhattan and getting ready for the big event. Sabbath is completely out of his element, having been whisked a thousand years into the future, but Albathar has given him instant Wikipedia-like knowledge of the present day so he can understand what’s going on around him. He’s also imprinted a magical tattoo on Sabbath’s arm that shows a map of the city, a countdown clock, and seven dots of light that represent the seven sins. 

    Armed only with his trusty sword and a whole bunch of muscles, Sabbath begins to follow the lights on his arm and hunt down the sins. Reluctantly joining him on his quest is a young art gallery owner named Jennifer and her friend Miriam, who stumble into Sabbath's orbit almost by accident. Time is ticking, and the end of the week is rapidly approaching. Can Sabbath save the world in time, or will the temptations of modern day sins be too much for him?

    The plot of

    is pretty straight forward, and you know what you’re getting into when you dive in. Sabbath has only seven days to kill each of the deadly sins—Sloth, Lust, Wrath, Envy, Greed, Gluttony and Pride—and I loved the way Mamatas gave unique characteristics to each one. Sloth is an office worker, Wrath is a cage match fighter, and Gluttony runs a Franco Russian fusion restaurant, for example. Then there’s Pride, who turned out to be a very well done and only lightly camouflaged version of a certain U.S. President. It was great fun to watch Sabbath try to kill them, especially when the sins are trying their best to talk or fight their way out of being killed. Sabbath’s task includes lopping off their heads and bringing them back to Albathar, and the heads themselves end up being part of the action in some very funny ways. There’s also a reference to the movie

    , a cheeky nod from the author that made me laugh out loud.

    And speaking of laughing out loud, this book was

    . I knew going in that it was going to have lots of sex and graphic violence, but I had no idea I would love the wry and sarcastic tone of the story so much. Mamatas’ humor is both subtle and in-your-face, and this combination really worked well for me. The author skewers all sorts of trendy topics, including art, politics, social media and more, and he smartly uses the seven sins to do a lot of his dirty work for him.

    Sabbath turned out to be a surprisingly sympathetic character. The irony of the set-up is that Sabbath himself has sinned in every way possible, and now he must defeat all the sins in order to save the world. Sabbath has also been told by a witch that he is destined to die on a Sunday—hence, his name, I’m assuming—which allows him to live dangerously on all the other days of the week. This was a running gag throughout the story that allowed him to survive some nasty attacks, and honestly it shouldn’t have worked as well as it did. And yet. I also loved the way past and present collide in this story. Sabbath knows nothing of the modern world—except for the knowledge bestowed on him by Albathar—and it was pretty entertaining to watch him come up against club hoppers and politicians. He seems to take everything in stride, though, and never wavers from his belief that he will be saved at the end of his ordeal. I also really liked Jennifer’s character, although the book is fairly short and I feel like Mamatas just barely scratched the surface with her character development. Although her first few scenes didn’t impress me—she literally jumps into bed with Sabbath as soon as she meets him—she redeems herself with some surprising depth and strength of character later in the story.

    The final showdown was bat-shit crazy but in a good way. Things come to a head (sorry, I’ve been waiting to use that pun since I started writing this review!) in big and surprising ways. The violence and action are over-the-top, but I didn’t expect anything less. Is “farcical violence” a thing in fiction? If not, it should be, because Mamatas wrote one of the funniest violent action scenes I’ve ever read. The ending dips into philosophical musings and took a turn I wasn’t expecting, but nevertheless, I thought it worked perfectly.

    And through all of this, Nick Mamatas’ writing simply shines. This book is tightly written, and his prose is a joy to read. This is definitely my favorite of his books so far, and I look forward to seeing what he’ll do next.

  • Becky Spratford

    Review on the blog and in the 10/15/19 issue of Booklist:

    Action packed, bloody, sexual explicit, cinematic, and fun. But also extremely thought provoking and sardonic.

    dark fantasy horror hybrid

    Three words: explicit, thought provoking, satire

  • Traveling Cloak

    Hexen Sabbath is a warrior who loves to drink, copulate, and fight Danes. But, when he is transported from 1016 England to 2016 New York with by the Angel Abathar with no clothes, weapons, or money he is not sure what to do with himself. But, Abathar has given Hexen Sabbath a mission: stop the oncoming Armageddon by finding the human embodiments of the 7 deadly sins and taking their heads. For a warrior like Hexen Sabbath, this should be a simple task...

    I really enjoyed this book. First of all,

    Hexen Sabbath is a warrior who loves to drink, copulate, and fight Danes. But, when he is transported from 1016 England to 2016 New York with by the Angel Abathar with no clothes, weapons, or money he is not sure what to do with himself. But, Abathar has given Hexen Sabbath a mission: stop the oncoming Armageddon by finding the human embodiments of the 7 deadly sins and taking their heads. For a warrior like Hexen Sabbath, this should be a simple task...

    I really enjoyed this book. First of all, the writing was great. Everything flowed really well, so much so that I finished reading this book in just 3 days. The main protagonist, Hexen Sabbath, is an absolute treat. I get almost a Don Quixiote feeling out of him (if DQ traveled outside of his own time). He thinks he knows everything (even when he is lost and has no idea what to do) and pretty much has a right to take anything he comes across because his mission is holy. Most of the book is him running around New York having sex, cutting off heads, and more or less doing whatever he pleases. It was fun to read.

    The other characters were great, as well. Abathar is super mysterious, and the reader never knows if they can trust him. Jennifer is a conflicted art dealer who seems perpetually conflicted about life and her involvement with Hexen. And then there are the human embodiments of the 7 deadly sins. The scenes where Hexen comes across (and ultimately battles) them are really well-done. The author had a lot of fun with these situations. I think my favorite was Sloth. The ending was great, also. This book is really well-done.

    I do want to point out I sense this book is written with some satire. A man roaming around New York, doing and taking what he wants... there is definitely a message there. I think that is for the reader to interpret, though. Also, some of the descriptions of sex and death scenes can be pretty graphic, so be aware of that.

    I recommend this book for anyone looking for a light, fun, fantasy read that enjoys over-the-top protagonists. It is released November 19, 2019.

  • Dave

    If Ozzy Osbourne and Monty Python (yes, I know that’s a troupe not a person) had a twisted love child, you just might get Sabbath Hexon. Imagine Conan the Barbarian walking down Fifth Avenue. Imagine leather-clad headbangers armed with giant broadswords. Kind of like that movie where Crocodile Dundee takes the NY Subway.

    Many heavy metal songs have borrowed liberally from Lord of the Rings and such. Here’s the opposite. Fantasy sort of borrowing heavy metal swagger and attitude in a crazy

    If Ozzy Osbourne and Monty Python (yes, I know that’s a troupe not a person) had a twisted love child, you just might get Sabbath Hexon. Imagine Conan the Barbarian walking down Fifth Avenue. Imagine leather-clad headbangers armed with giant broadswords. Kind of like that movie where Crocodile Dundee takes the NY Subway.

    Many heavy metal songs have borrowed liberally from Lord of the Rings and such. Here’s the opposite. Fantasy sort of borrowing heavy metal swagger and attitude in a crazy no-holds-barred story about a twelfth century vicious lustfull warrior who is magically transported to the modern world where is tasked with procuring the bloody heads of the the seven deadly sins.

  • Caleb Wilson

    Exactly what is described on the back cover, plot-wise (and you must already know whether or not that appeals to you), but all spiced with funny dialogue and little barbs of Mamatasian satire aimed at all sorts of subjects. Really fun, and very enjoyably of this moment.

  • Paul

    A crazy urban historical fish-out-of-water fantasy… Mamatas has a good way of envisioning each vice as a figure in contemporary society. The lusty massage parlor madam, the glutinous Michelin chef, and a wrathful MMA grappler. From the fighting styles to their seductive, creepy, and intoxicating faces, these characters create atmosphere and interest.

    Overall. Sabbath. It’s funny… It’s got some depth… It’s imaginative… It’s a fast and fun read. For me, it was one afternoon’s worth of sex, drugs,

    A crazy urban historical fish-out-of-water fantasy… Mamatas has a good way of envisioning each vice as a figure in contemporary society. The lusty massage parlor madam, the glutinous Michelin chef, and a wrathful MMA grappler. From the fighting styles to their seductive, creepy, and intoxicating faces, these characters create atmosphere and interest.

    Overall. Sabbath. It’s funny… It’s got some depth… It’s imaginative… It’s a fast and fun read. For me, it was one afternoon’s worth of sex, drugs, and gore. And that’s never bad!

    For my full review:

    For all my reviews:

  • Troy

    3.5 stars, 4.5 stars for audio narration

    This was a really straight forward book. I mean it's literally what the actual blurb on the book says it is. An eleventh century warrior is zapped through time to modern day New York where he is tasked with beheading the Seven Deadly Sins before they can bring about nuclear armageddon. It's kind of ridiculous, but it's also kinda fun. It has some funny bits of satire, and some of the dialogue is pretty witty. At the end of the day it's like a Netflix

    3.5 stars, 4.5 stars for audio narration

    This was a really straight forward book. I mean it's literally what the actual blurb on the book says it is. An eleventh century warrior is zapped through time to modern day New York where he is tasked with beheading the Seven Deadly Sins before they can bring about nuclear armageddon. It's kind of ridiculous, but it's also kinda fun. It has some funny bits of satire, and some of the dialogue is pretty witty. At the end of the day it's like a Netflix original movie. You'll enjoy it while you read it but you probably won't remember it in a week.

  • Leslie Pinson

    The plot was different. A man from the 1400's brought forward in time to kill the 7 deadly sins to prevent major disaster. There is a love interest. There is also some pretty graphic sex and violence. The end seemed unsatisfying though.

  • Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    Like stuffing your face with Cheez Whiz while listening to Iron Maiden, this is the right kind of crazy.

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