So I read all seven of this series in about 6 or so hours spread over two days--i.e., fast reads all, on the schlocky side, but that's to be expected.So I read all seven of this series in about 6 or so hours spread over two days--i.e., fast reads all, on the schlocky side, but that's to be expected. Fun mindless reads. I'll have this review count for all 7, because really you could combine them all into one massive book and while hefty would flow a bit better. The only disconnect is the characterization of Rebecca between books #0 and #1, but that's to be expected since Resident Evil Zero came out after 1 did (in true RE universe fashion). In 1, she spent most of the time hiding in a closet, in #0 meanwhile she fought her way to the closet, so a bit more active.
For those that have only watched the movies, there is probably a lot that is new or suprising--there is no Mary Sue Mila character running around. The focus is on the STARS team vs. the crazed minds at Umbrella. Props to SD Perry--these books were obviously commissioned (the hilarious almost fanart covers, the ads at the very end of the book scream late 90s)--but she does a very good job of novelizing the games and her original novel (Caliban Cove--#2) might even be the best out of all of them.
The one thing though..the "clues" and puzzle parts were a bit heavy handed, though I guess necessary. I wish she had a Resident Evil 4 book, but that zombie horse has probably left the barn (or large closet). Also think she should turn her pen to an orignal zombie novel, because she does action & horror well.
I did find it funny that Mature Reader only and warnings were plastered on all these books, since the strongest word contained was "shit" and we all know that violence is totally fine for all age groups. ...more
One of my favorite autobiographies written by one of my favorite stars--it's not as comprehensive as say Myrna Loy's or Lillian Gish's--and I wish a lOne of my favorite autobiographies written by one of my favorite stars--it's not as comprehensive as say Myrna Loy's or Lillian Gish's--and I wish a lot more was covered about her earlier years (as Roz points out in the book people want to read about the Golden Age of Hollywood because it's like a country you can no longer visit)--she also died before finishing this book.
It's light--even when covering her own illnesses and her terminal cancer--you can't help but feel that she was a fun person to know--on one hand devious and trouble making but on the other hard working and totally dedicated to her craft. It's why no one else could have played off of Cary Grant quite so well as in Girl Friday as she did. It's also why she's one of the hardest actresses to pin down, since much like Grant she was one of the very few who was never really owned by any studio. She talks in the book how she was originally hurt when Kay Francis told her that she was not "Hollywood" and when Francis explained that yes, she lived in Hollywood, was a star, but wasn't owned by it like the rest.
It's also a very funny book. Generally the "early years" section of any autobiography tends to be the slow boring one but actually in this one, the strongest part. Growing up in almost A Life With Father household, one of a giant brood always up to no good, and the many cons she pulled in the course of her early years, was fantastic. ...more
Well this gets a solid 4/5 for zombie tropes (Military turning on populace; stupid government response; saddled with plucky child; criminals taking ovWell this gets a solid 4/5 for zombie tropes (Military turning on populace; stupid government response; saddled with plucky child; criminals taking over)--and while there was no insane clergyman feeding people to zombies, the antagonist in this book does sit on a throne made of skulls in a church where he feeds people to the children zombies he keeps in the rectory's swimming pool. I guess partial credit due there.
We last saw our heroes after they managed to take back (kinda) an aircraft carrier wedged against the bridge in SF and avert nuclear catastrophe. Now the TV host, who was also a prepper and had an underground bunker, wants to go back and rescue her family who surely must be hiding in that bunker like six months later and gets a few of her new buddies to help her: the convict with a heart of gold, the perky co-ed who quickly morphed into someone even Sarah Connor would hesitate stabbing with a pen, and the good natured Russian.
Of course when they get there, they find the bunker destroyed and the town filled with crucified people (now zombies). They search for her husband and child through the ruined city while doing battle against the new evil Caesar, a crazed man in a tank, and new zombies too--hobgoblins, which are something like a mix of 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead zombies--fast AND smart. Luckily they meet up pretty early on a sweet old man who has a cabin in a secluded area who can fill them all in and give them a place to stash their helicopter.
Something that bothered me the entire book--her family in the bunker KNEW about the old caretaker in the fortified secret cabin up the road, since they knew him their whole lives and tried to get him to hide out with them. Why, oh why, did her (fairly annoying) husband choose instead to play cat 'n' mouse in the city with a precocious 2 year old tot, where they almost died countless times by zombies and evil bikers, when he could have just made it to the safe cabin?
Again, I guess it wouldn't be a suspenseful novel if he were like "Hmm maybe I should just run a few miles in relative zombie free woods and then we'd have a cabin, an ally, a working bathroom, and food--plus can easily spot when my wife comes to rescue us" rather than leave a cryptic message that you're heading to city and choose all that danger.
On top of all this, there are also a series of terrible earthquakes (which originate right in San Francisco, so things might not be so awesome back on the carrier) so again the book is a page turner, although you have to suspend disbelief fairly frequently. Looking forward to the next one!...more
So all our heroes & villains from the previous book meet up on the docks of San Francisco with a relentless horde of zombies after them. Time forSo all our heroes & villains from the previous book meet up on the docks of San Francisco with a relentless horde of zombies after them. Time for some nautical zombie action! (See Dead Sea and Black Tide Rising, among others.) As usual in zombie books, people want to gravitate to the usual safe places--sea, the arctic, some godforsaken forest--just once I'd like to see someone take over a Costco and just live there for a decade or two, which seems like the safer option, but anyways...
Some Spoilers I guess...
Across their perilous stronghold in some warehouse next to one of most populated cities in America is a partially destroyed aircraft carrier, so it's time to fight their way through its darkened hull and make that be their safe haven. Naturally, things go wrong with this cunning plan for most of them, and cherry on top is bringing along the lunatic televangelist & meth head for this assault. One thing that gets me is why not send a 2-3 person scouting team to check out the ship first? Points to them for at least trying to lure some of the topside zombies off the carrier, but why not just open the doorway they go through and just make a ton of noise for hours? Lure as many zombies overboard as they can? And then go in?
Why are the folks keeping watch in all zombie books/films so terrible at it? You think your senses would be honed with fear and it's not like the living dead have ninja stealth on their side.
I guess it wouldn't be as suspenseful otherwise and the book is pretty action packed since the setting is a ship packed with thousands of undead, a rapist, and a madman chasing after armageddon. I immediately started the third one. ...more
I read these last week and simply cannot wait until the fourth one comes out. One of the best zombie series ever.
How does this compare to what I've nI read these last week and simply cannot wait until the fourth one comes out. One of the best zombie series ever.
How does this compare to what I've noticed as cliches in horror fiction when it comes to zombies?
1) Police & Military turn against the populace instead of zombies.
Actually NO! This does not happen in the book (well...not in the first two, and not entirely in the third either). The police and first responders seem to die almost immediately at the start of Omega Days. Now, this is a contemporary America, fully aware of zombies in film & TV...when the chaos happens (and it seems to spread and go out of control a la Dawn of the Dead really really fast), cops and paramedics go running up to ghouls munching on corpses in road with handcuffs and first aid kits. The fact that they were aware they were fighting zombies, but not shooting them in the head, or in one instance a soldier putting a slain fellow soldier in the back of the vehicle filled with civilians because "can't leave one of ours behind" (hint: that didn't turn out so well for those in the backseat with that body) struck me as especially stupid.
2) Government Response is Half-Assed
Half and half. It looks like there was some attempt at "safe zones" (hint: didn't turn out so well for everyone that went there), the National Guard seemed to mobilize in record time, only to die just as fast as the police and ambulance drivers, but one of the main characters is a Russian helicopter pilot, only visiting to buy helicopters for his country and stays to help. Overall though, military might not winning the day.
3) Clergy Goes Insane
Half and half. There's a good priest, evil televangelist. The evil televanglist part I thought a taaad contrived, but every book needs a villain (besides millions of flesh eating zombies).
4) Life's losers find their niche in apocalyptic world and go on powerhungry murder/rape spree
Yep, there is this.
5) Hero gets saddled with plucky orphan child.
Actually, of the various main characters in the book, the priest gets a rag tag bunch of people he's in charge of (man with heart condition, teenage girl, angry electrician or something); the writer finds himself responsible for a group of hippies and falls in love with a deaf mute; the TV host practically collects children.
All total, 3/5 for classic tropes. My only complaint is that some of the ancillary characters did not get fleshed out enough (no pun intended). And while the body count is pretty high, when folks did die, I had to go hmm a lot and try to remember what their significance was. I know I say this in so many reviews, and perhaps old mysteries and novels have spoiled me, but I would looove a list of characters at the front with brief synopsis.
This one follows the start of the outbreak (basically everyone everywhere was screwed all at the same time, which stretches disbelief for me a bit) as the separate main groups finally meet up at cliffhanger at the end. ...more
I enjoyed this book and a part of me wants to give it five stars and a part of me wants to give it 2 stars, so compromising. I liked the heroes of theI enjoyed this book and a part of me wants to give it five stars and a part of me wants to give it 2 stars, so compromising. I liked the heroes of the novel, Danny & Adra and I liked the villains but somehow it didn't mesh as well as it could have.
I think because the villains could have been and should have been more of a force to be reckoned with. Thousands of years old some of them, each with special powers, in a weird cult like unison, with untold riches at their disposal, feeding off the life force of children? They should have been fucking spooky but maybe they pretended to be old retirees for too long and lost their mojo (or in this book's case, steam).
There were a few moments I was worried on behalf of the good, since King has never shied away from killing off protagonists...but worries sort of in vain. The villains were so incompetent and too busy twiddling their mustaches to be a real threat...which is too bad! The show down between the good and bad on the ruins of the Overlook hotel should have been magnificent.
That being said, lots of memorable parts, I will probably read this book again and I did like it...I just could have been much more frightened than ultimately I was. ...more
I've been hunting around to find the book where I read the anecdote to quote for this review and cannot find it. The anecdote recounts a dinner with AI've been hunting around to find the book where I read the anecdote to quote for this review and cannot find it. The anecdote recounts a dinner with Agatha & her archaeologist husband Max, sometime in the mid 1960s, and said that never in their life did they have such an intensely uncomfortable dinner and heard more racist spewing in their life. When I find it, will update this review further. Reading that crushed my heart a bit because I love Christie's books but one cannot deny her prejudices, which are usually right on the surface.
For example whenever Christie goes to the Middle East in her books (ironic since she spent so much time there). It's not that the mystery suffers or things too outside of the element, not being in English country house or anything...but there's Agatha's racism bubbling to the top undisguised.
He says his favorite racial slur is "touch of the tar brush" because it's so weirdly specific and who uses that? Well Agatha does, right on page 25 of this book. Iraqis of course are "dirty dark-yellow", "sneaky", "childlike", etc. etc. Basically anytime someone NOT English or American is mentioned in this book, it's bad. I would have had more sympathy with the narrator if I didn't find her so repugnant a person. The busybody stern-but-secretly-sympathetic nurse is a good foil but fell short here.
As for the denoument, some spoilerish, but when I got to the whodunnit part, all sympathy for the victim evaporated. She was far too stupid to live to not realize....more
Great book--the parallels to Cato's uncompromising refusal to negotiate to modern day politics was great--especially his influence throughout that ageGreat book--the parallels to Cato's uncompromising refusal to negotiate to modern day politics was great--especially his influence throughout that ages. Enjoyed the irony in Cato's life that had he compromised just a bit, perhaps the Imperial system would have been delayed or never happened to begin with.
I love these books, with this though, I was expecting like 75% of the way through for the denoument to be like the last book--and lo and behold, that'I love these books, with this though, I was expecting like 75% of the way through for the denoument to be like the last book--and lo and behold, that's exactly what happened again. I've found in the last few (or maybe all of them and I just forget), that the murder is rather secondary. Flavia could be investigating basically anything--a random rumor or theft and it would be just as primary as who killed who--which is to say in a round about manner, not important at all.
I read these not caring who the killer is or really what's going on so much with the plot--it's the dialogue, the character of Flavia that's paramount. There were many times I audibly laughed at loud at the descriptions, which doesn't happen very often. And just like in the last book, Flavia goes poking around, stirring up trouble and sneaking away when she shouldn't, and then in the last hour figures out who the killer is in a very deus ex machina way.
Not that I mind particularly--I'm just happy she's on her way back (though the school could have been used a bit more than perhaps it was).
One thing that bugged me last few books--came up here again though--Flavia's family is kind of terrible. No one wrote to her while she was away except Dogger and her cheeky cousin? I would have enjoyed reading her sister's letters to her and a very stiff one from her father. And while the last book did a good job of deepening her relationship with her sisters, this one made it even colder. (Also her father annoys me so the fact he didn't write or send pocket money was another black mark in my book).
Enjoy the chemistry teacher though--I hope she stays as a private tutor or Flavia just declare emancipation now from her ungrateful family. ...more
Oh I like these books. This while not my favorite of the ones I've read was still engrossing. A suprisingly dense book--the paperback seemed slim whenOh I like these books. This while not my favorite of the ones I've read was still engrossing. A suprisingly dense book--the paperback seemed slim when I started it, but it's 450 pages--and I marathon read like 300 of those in a setting. I was so baffled who the killer was, who was doing this (picking off the descendents of a Victorian watchmaker) that I wanted to keep going but it was so late and there were so many pages left.
Really much credit for the bulk of the book--it didn't feel superfluous and too many mysteries have a rushed and/or padded feel to them. These definitely do not. I like how chronologically they skip around too--this one is set in the early 70s, and many of the people who are in the other books (his witch friend, his painter buddy) make appearances. I don't think it's necessary to read these books in order either which is nice.
And yes, the ending. I did not see at all who the culprit was. ...more
I think it says something for the fourteenth book of a series that the last few chapters I was not just riveted but exhilerated. I had to go back andI think it says something for the fourteenth book of a series that the last few chapters I was not just riveted but exhilerated. I had to go back and re-read the last 50 pages immediately after finishing this because I was so blown away. This might rocket to the top of my most favorite in this series. Not that the last few books have been bad--I liked White Fire but I knew others hated it. The Helen books were okay but I didn't quite get all the motivations there--though my least favorite of all is Wheel of Darkness.
I didn't like Wheel of Darkness because I thought after the Diogenes trilogy that so much more could have been done with the character of Constance and was really disappointed. Worries in vain--she comes back kicking in this one. The final scenes where she and Margo team up (albeit a bit separately) to aid Pendergast was beyond fantastic. I mean she spent like hundred years living in a serial killer's basement, eventually becoming his lab assistant. The woman is not someone to mess with, even though she rarely leaves the house--which was well done in the Diogenes books.
Everything is back--the Museums, crazy locations, the old Pendergast "bad habits" -- I still miss Bill Smithback and was suprised Laura did not make an appearance.
Spoiler question: One thing for those who did read the book--what was the one thing that Hezekiah missed with the formula? Did I somehow skip past where they figured that out? Because it seems like Margo eventually just winged it with some coffee filters and a lighter at the end. ...more
I read this series totally out of order and then had to go quest to find the first book. Love this series--it's now one of my favorites. If you like tI read this series totally out of order and then had to go quest to find the first book. Love this series--it's now one of my favorites. If you like the Flavia series, you should enjoy these as well. The main detectives are both in the mid 80s, been partners for over 50 years, resisting retirement, and complement each other nicely. One is the genius eccentric with the talent for annoying those around him and the other is the mild mannered people person who keeps him in line. Sound familiar?
It's a credit to these books that only after I finished three of them I thought of the parallel between Holmes and Watson, and I think that's because the books feel very original and not hokey.