I was going to make a joke about Sarah Tipper doing a Douglas Adams with this, the third book in the Panda trilogy. Only she beat me to it in the introduction, dammit.
Vol. 4 carries on from where A Vulgar Display of Panda left off, and this isn’t a series of books you can really catch up on partway through. If you’ve not read the earlier instalments then I recommend you do so, though the recent Cleo’s Diary is a bit of an exception as it precedes this and other volumes in terms of timeline.
It takes us through another few months in the lives of Eviscerated Panda and the band’s nearest and dearest up until the end of the year. I found this volume a little easier to read than the first handful. Partly I think due to familiarity with Sarah’s writing style and partly a familiarity with the characters. There is a fairly sizeable cast and it’s quite enjoyable seeing how they’ve changed throughout the books (or not changed in some cases!), especially given that the last volume I read was the Diary which jumps back in time by about ten years.
There’s the usual enjoyable use of language, but perhaps a little too much description in places. Where one metaphor could do, Sarah uses a couple. They’re all good, but she could be saving these for book five/six!
I think the appeal of this series is, like Sarah herself who does say she’s writing partly from experiences, that I’ve been there/done that as far as following metal since the 80’s is concerned. Across the characters in the books, the age range covers roughly the early twenties to the early forties, and their rock-related lives will – I’m sure – ring some familiar (Hell’s) bells with readers of those ages. The actions and thoughts of the younger characters bring back memories of being that age while the thoughts of the older generation ring true with how I think nowadays.
The Eviscerated Panda series is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. It’s essentially a soap opera and verging into chick-lit. As a red-blooded, metal-loving, horns-waving male I shouldn’t admit to enjoying it. But then I wouldn’t be able to recommend the books to you. And that would be as big a shame as if Victor ever does get his way…
[credit to Bernie Galewski for the header photo]