This was a very sweet, mostly harmless book. Reading it, I couldn't help but get the impression that it was being written towards a future screenplay,...moreThis was a very sweet, mostly harmless book. Reading it, I couldn't help but get the impression that it was being written towards a future screenplay, and if a movie is in the works, I suspect it will be better than this book.
The book deals with a story about an orphaned boy being raised in a graveyard by a host of ghosts, a vampire, and various other sundry macabre spirits and entities.
I had a few concerns about the writing in general.
The first chapter deals with the slaughter of the boy's entire family, and its tone ended up being completely off from the rest of the book. I began expecting a dark fantasy not unlike King's Gunslinger, and it ended up being something light enough for maybe even gradeschoolers.
The tools, clues, McGuffins, etc introduced in the story (the ghoul-gate, how to call for help, the coffin at the bottom of the pit, etc) were too obviously placed, and their uses in the story came as no surprise to me, which was a disappointment.
Due to perhaps an overzealous economy of characters, the identity of the villain wasn't difficult to guess.
The ultimate revelation of the evil secret society was, well, weak.
This wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't great either. Something like Pratchett light, perhaps.(less)
**spoiler alert** I finished reading this book last night. I thought it was really good. But it left me with a lot of unanswered questions.
It really b...more**spoiler alert** I finished reading this book last night. I thought it was really good. But it left me with a lot of unanswered questions.
It really bothered me that the book switched from "her" to "him" the moment Eli revealed her origins to Oskar (and to the reader). As if her identity was defined by his perceptions and not her own. It's pretty obvious she has chosen to live her life as a girl.
The vampire that created Eli really confused me. I don't get what his gig was. I don't get the castration thing. The point of castration is to prevent the onset of puberty. But turning Eli into a vampire pretty much did that already, so what's the point? But maybe he wanted to savor the whole sexless thing (or at least penis-less thing), but it was pretty much established that one feeding was enough to infect a person, so he really wouldn't have had that many opportunities to "enjoy" Eli anyway.
I dunno, maybe it's a fetish thing. Wanting a boy, but wanting the boy to be a girl, but then why not just get a girl? I don't get it.
And why the heck didn't Eli grow herself a new penis? Or vagina? Or whatever? She can grow herself claws and prehensile feet and wings, why not new genitals?
Early in the book, Eli seemed to have hypnotic powers, particularly once physical contact is made. It seemed to be her way of placating her victims. She also seemed to lose that power later in the book, but maybe that was a literary device because the author wanted noisy/frightening kills.
I read a review that said that Hakkan was only the latest in a long string of pedophile serial-killers that Eli had chosen to care for her. I don't recall reading anything like that, but I concede it makes sense.
But it does put Eli's intentions into question. In many ways, it seems her feelings for Oskar were genuine, but she's had 200 years experience manipulating vulnerable people, so maybe she's just gotten very good at it. It's quite possible that Oskar is just the latest of many.
Makes me wonder about the ending. How much of a future did they have? Eli offered and Oskar refused to become infected, so he's eventually going to grow up. It was pretty clear that he lost all romantic feelings for Eli once he discovered her gender, so he'll eventually want to find love on his own. I'm not seeing their friendship lasting.
And talk about having a lot of experience, Eli's been around for a while, but she evidently hasn't had much chance to learn how to hunt. Consider all the attacks shown in the book (by both Eli and Hakkan):
1: boy in the woods 2: Jocke at the bridge 3: boy at the pool 4: Virginia 5: cancer lady 6: Hakkan in the hospital 7: Tommy in the basement
(not counting zombie-Hakkan, as he wasn't even trying, or the last feeding, Lacke in the bathroom, as that was self-defense)
Only #1 and 5 were accomplished without leaving any living witnesses. And of the feedings that Eli performed personally, only Tommy and Jocke didn't result in the creation of a new vampire. Makes me wonder how she managed to survive for so long!
I'm not sure how Eli managed to accumulate so much wealth and treasure. It's not like we were shown any brilliant money generating schemes on her part. It's always fun and easy to make the vampire wealthy, as if immortality somehow imbues the person with financial savvy, but reality shows that market crashes, inopportune fires, natural disasters, wars, etc can destroy hundreds of years of wealth in just a couple minutes.
I think the movie was more streamlined than the book. It cut out a lot of the subplots that didn't really go anywhere in the book. The movie was just about perfect. But now I see that Hollywood is remaking it. Probably going to Americanize it. Probably going to strip out all the edgy parts and make it PG-13. *gag*(less)
Rather uneven, as far as King books go. Beginning is incredibly dark, but then it transitions into his more typical dark-fantasy pacing. It introduces...moreRather uneven, as far as King books go. Beginning is incredibly dark, but then it transitions into his more typical dark-fantasy pacing. It introduces some very interesting ideas, and I think they could have been explored more thoroughly. (That said, the book already is nearly 700 pages long, so maybe not...)(less)
Yet another cookie-cutter splatter crime novel about an FBI profiler with an almost supernatural ability to get into the killers' minds, pulled out of...moreYet another cookie-cutter splatter crime novel about an FBI profiler with an almost supernatural ability to get into the killers' minds, pulled out of almost retirement for one last case. But of course, this killer is the one from the cop's Dark Past, resurfacing once again to challenge his skills. Blah blah blah.
I guessed the killer's identity three times through-out the book, and I was wrong all three times (this, not counting the two times the main character TELLS us who the killer is, wrong those times too). Not because I wasn't clever enough to figure it out. Rather, because my predictions ended up being a lot more interesting and creative then the author's. When the actual killer is revealed, you'll stare at the book and think, "Holy shit, I can't believe he went there." So contrived, so cliched. You'll never guess the killer. Not because it's an amazing twist, but because you'd never think an author would treat their readers that way. The murderer is the last person you'd expect purely because it was the FIRST person you'd expect. By insulting the readers, the author turns the denouement from an "Ah ha!" moment of revelation to a SMH, "Oh, for fuck's sake" wave of disappointment and irritation. I hate it when books waste my time.
Seen it, read it a dozen times before, and hundreds of times better. Bought the e-book for a $1 promo, and I still feel I paid $10 too much for it.
The author is a skilled writer. He just needs an original idea. Wouldn't recommend this to anyone. Even if you were a fan of bloody serial killer crime stories, the genre is so glutted, there has to be something better for you to read.(less)