If only I'd known about this book when I was a kid. I enjoyed it as an adult, but I would've loved it back when I was devouring the Chronicles of Narn...moreIf only I'd known about this book when I was a kid. I enjoyed it as an adult, but I would've loved it back when I was devouring the Chronicles of Narnia. It's about three children who stumble their way into an epic battle for good and evil, searching for the holy grail. The children are charming, the story moves swiftly enough, the badguys are menacing, and everything wraps up in about 200 pages. Translation: this was a fun read.
That said, there was nothing here that I found especially surprising. Events were somewhat predictable and no characters in particular stood out as especially memorable. Hence the three star rating. I'm a harsh grader.
I enjoyed this book enough that I'll definitely continue reading the series soon. (less)
The Doll's House is also a fairly dark collection. But, it's also stronger, and has one of my favorite sandman stories in it, "Men of Good Fortune." A...moreThe Doll's House is also a fairly dark collection. But, it's also stronger, and has one of my favorite sandman stories in it, "Men of Good Fortune." And a serial killer convention. If that doesn't intrigue you, I don't know what to tell you.(less)
The Haunting of Hill House has been made into several films, but I don't believe I've seen any of the film versions. The idea isn't anything especiall...moreThe Haunting of Hill House has been made into several films, but I don't believe I've seen any of the film versions. The idea isn't anything especially out of the ordinary, though: a group of several strangers have been summoned, via letter, to spend some time at a house in a secluded area. They have been summoned by a doctor of the occult who wants to find out if there's anything to the legends he's heard about the house. Once they've all arrived and gotten to know each other, things start getting weird.
What is unique about The Haunting of Hill House is how psychological the haunting turns out to be. This is a very subtle book in some ways, and the creepiest element of the book isn't the poltergeists and spirits in the house. I'm not going to spoil the punchline, and hopefully the dust jacket of your copy doesn't spoil it for you the way mine did.
This book definitely had its moments, but the dialogue often rang false, especially early in the book. The dialogue, while sometimes very fun, often dragged the book down. A lot of forced humor, and jokes spoken at times when people wouldn't really tell jokes. These characters try overly hard to say only witty things, and it kinda reminds me of a Diablo Cody movie in a not-good kind of way.
Much of what we learn about the house is delivered through the characters' banter, so the house itself was less of an integral element than it should be. But, we do find out enough to get a distinctly creepy vibe from the house, and the ending is eerie and satisfying. So, this was a worthy read if you're in the mood for a spooky story, but it ain't nothing to write home about.
The first paragraph is so good. After reading it, I was really hoping to have my socks knocked off. Alas, the rest of the book couldn't deliver on that paragraph's promise.
Last thought, for any of you who have read it already: this book is really about coming out of the closet, right? I can read it that way, right? With the pants, the relationship with Theo, the fear of accepting femininity? Or am I stretching it?(less)
Honestly, the two-star rating isn't Vonnegut's fault. I'm sure this is a really good book, but I just didn't get it when I read it. Nor was I in the c...moreHonestly, the two-star rating isn't Vonnegut's fault. I'm sure this is a really good book, but I just didn't get it when I read it. Nor was I in the correct mood to appreciate it. I need to reread this one the next time I go on a Kurt Vonnegut binge. (less)
This is an interesting little book about the symbolism of different angels associated with hours of the day, and it's written by a monk. But, I was ho...moreThis is an interesting little book about the symbolism of different angels associated with hours of the day, and it's written by a monk. But, I was hoping to learn more factual / historical information; it's a little self-helpy. (less)
I remember finding this book very useful. From a world-building standpoint, Card has a lot of interesting and helpful suggestions. I remember also fin...moreI remember finding this book very useful. From a world-building standpoint, Card has a lot of interesting and helpful suggestions. I remember also finding the information about the genres of sci-fi and fantasy interesting, since I hadn't (and still haven't) read enough of these genres to have a real sense of their histories.
If you write within either of these writing traditions, you ought to read this book. (less)
The heartwarming story of a little boy born with a horribly fucked up face. No, I mean, this kid is all
"HEYYOUGUYS!" kinds of homely. This book, full...moreThe heartwarming story of a little boy born with a horribly fucked up face. No, I mean, this kid is all
"HEYYOUGUYS!" kinds of homely. This book, full of cute-yet-creepy illustrations, is about a child who is born wanting to hide his face from the world. His father is ugly in all the same ways, and has some even more deeply ingrained issues with his appearance. If I remember correctly, he wears a mask and a wig. Anyway, throughout the story, the little boy grows into a little man. He goes out to seak his fortune, and works to overcome his self-doubt.
So, you know the moral, but you probably haven't seen it delivered in such an understated way. It's charming.
Although we're all exceedingly goodlooking here on goodreads, everyone can relate to having something about them they would change if they could. For me, I've always despised my hair, because it's incredibly thick, and it automatically looks stupid whenever it gets longer than an inch or two. Plus, I don't look good bald. When I was in sixth grade, I had a rattail, because I thought that was cool at the time. This is a picture of a random kid with a rattail, because YOU WILL NEVER SEE PICTURES OF ME WITH ONE.
I don't remember why I went off on that tangent. I'm tired, grad school sucks, I hate literature reviews, and I'm going to fail at life.
Anyway, back to this loverly book, "The Ticking": I read this over a half-hour lunch break, and it entertained me. You can read roughly ninety pages a minute, because each page is an illustration with one line of dialogue beneath it. This is what French's art looks like:
Isn't he cute for an ugly little boy? But really, you should see his face. It's Picasso-level jacked up.
Some of the pictures are pretty freaky, like the one where a tongue starts coming through the wall. And, if there's one thing I don't see enough of in graphic novels, it's gloominess. This book is pretty gloomy, but not in a pretentious or self conscious kind of way, just mildly sad in a comforting way like Anne Sexton poems. And, since I should stop enjoying myself and start studying again, I'll close with a photograph taken by the author. This is one of my faves.
Goofy little stories for the most part, with a couple mildly memorable ones (memorable only on a Piers Anthony sort of scale). One experimental story...moreGoofy little stories for the most part, with a couple mildly memorable ones (memorable only on a Piers Anthony sort of scale). One experimental story that chronicles the development of a short story as it keeps being rejected by publishers, and the author keeps modifying the story to fit the whims of the last publisher it was sent to. I found this one quite amusing. The rest of them were, to my twelve-year old self back when I read this, fun enough to warrant finishing the book, which is more than I did for most of the Piers Anthony books I started. (less)
In my review for The Darkness That Comes Before, I mentioned that the book was mostly spent setting the scene for the holy war that was about to begin...moreIn my review for The Darkness That Comes Before, I mentioned that the book was mostly spent setting the scene for the holy war that was about to begin. In The Warrior-Prophet, the war is very much underway. The book follows the progression of the army through all sorts of terrains and and all sorts of horrific setbacks.
There's a LOT of violence. Bakker's method of writing the war scenes is reminiscent of The Illiad: he is clearly trying to capture all of the important events, such as the successes and deaths of the many (many) nobles and warriors on the field. So, he bounces from character to character, following many characters we've only heard about in passing before the war began. It is a very effective, and very fun, way of describing the combat.
All of his main characters go through notable growth in this book, including the enigmatic and dangerous Kellhus. Looking back, it's amazing to see how far everyone, including the Holy War itself, has come since the end of book 1. This is all very epic, and well-written. And, it has some surprises in store for you. Especially the last three pages. I have no idea what to make of the last three pages.
I have been vague about the storyline. Let me explain. No, there is no time. Let me sum up. A priest named Maithenet has developed a cult-like status, and has been getting people riled up about waging a holy war on the people to the north. Then, for their own reasons, numerous other forces get involved. These include Emperor Xerius and his brilliant, arrogant nephew, Conphas; the Scarlet Spires, a mysterious and cursed school of sorcerers; and the Mandate schoolmen, a spiritual sect that relives the first apocalypse every night in their dreams.
Meanwhile, Anasurimbur Kellhus joins the war, pretending he is a prince from a distant land. In fact, he isn't a prince at all, and is simply using the holy war as a means to arrive "safely" at a distant holy land where he expects to find his father. The warrior Cnaiur is travelling with him, and is the only one who knows Kellhus's true nature: Kellhus is not a man, and has the capability to read people's thoughts and emotions to a degree way beyond any human's. He can remember everything he has ever learned. He isn't tempted by any vice or weakness. And, he isn't hindered by any morals or emotions: Kellhus is only interested in logic, and at getting what he ultimately wants.
As the holy war moves, Kellhus convinces the army, slowly and subtly, that he is a true prophet, and his political power continually grows. Through the end of this book, Kellhus's power is still growing.
This is a vast simplification. A lot is going on in this series.
Although the intricacies of Bakker's world and the complexity of his characters make this series very rewarding, it also makes the books feel slow. The Prince of Nothing's pacing is similar to that of The Lord of the Rings, and for similar reasons. You get an immersion here that you rarely do in fantasy. The fantastic elements are always near, but they aren't overused. The character's endless, miserable trek across the desert feels miserable. And, because you're hearing a fairly complete story of a huge war, you hear details about many minor characters that you don't really care that much about. But, all of this adds to your sense of awe as a reader for the sheer size of this holy war.
And, since you know it's the real reason you read fantasy in the first place, let me just tell you there are lots of scenes with startling badassery. You WILL go, "Damn, _______ is a pimp!" numerous times. Oh, yes, you will.
If you are bothered by graphic sexual content or graphic violence, don't read it. If you have a habit of putting down books because they aren't full of fun fight scenes, skip it. (There's only a few fight scenes in the first 700 pages of the series.) But ultimately, I think this is a terrific series and I recommend it to anyone interested in gritty fantasy that doesn't go along with your expectations or the genre norms. This is a good one. (less)