Beagle surprises me again with his poetic capability. This book is a lot of things - enchanting, romantic, intensely poetic and whimsical. Why not 5 sBeagle surprises me again with his poetic capability. This book is a lot of things - enchanting, romantic, intensely poetic and whimsical. Why not 5 stars then? It would've gotten a 5-star from me. I loved the talking raven, the two ghosts, the setting; the tone is both realistic and fantastical in a wonderfully dreamy yet relate-able way. Overall it has a romantic, wistful sentimentality that I enjoyed. It's the actual romance that "blossomed" seemingly out of nowhere towards the end that I found off-putting. (I don't think I'm spoiling anything... the back of the book mentions this romance).
And I can't stress enough how beautiful Beagle's prose is. Again. Even if you don't like romances, even if you don't like supernatural elements... I really feel like Beagle deserves to be read simply on the basis of his skill at effortless enchantment....more
I am very impressed with Peter S. Beagle. This guy really knows how to tell a story, really slip into the head of the narrator and give each story a uI am very impressed with Peter S. Beagle. This guy really knows how to tell a story, really slip into the head of the narrator and give each story a unique voice.
I don't even know how to describe this. Let's just say... well, okay, this collection includes a couple of his earliest published works, stuff he wrote in his college years. And let's just say that, for one, I was skeptical. I don't usually care for "early" works because, unless I'm nuts about the author, they're probably not good. For another, I didn't care for the characters, settings, or topics. So, the fact that I finished these early stories thinking to myself, "wow..." really says something about Beagle's chops as a writer.
That aside. This collection has two stories that just... blew my mind. Both "Salt Wine" and "The Naga" were just... gorgeously elegiac. Especially "Salt Wine". Read it.
Reason why this review doesn't give it more stars? I really didn't care for the essays, and the title story plus a couple others were mostly just "Meh." I would give "Salt Wine" and "The Naga" both 5 stars individually though. "Two-Hearts" was quite good as well....more
Matheson didn't write a novel here. What he did is read up on a bunch of occult "research", came up with a weak "story" as a vessel to convey to his rMatheson didn't write a novel here. What he did is read up on a bunch of occult "research", came up with a weak "story" as a vessel to convey to his readers what he believe is nonfiction. It's one of those novels with a thinly veiled agenda; in fact, Matheson here said plainly that the only thing fictional about this novel is the character and their relationships. In other words, what he says about what happens after death is true. According to him.
Now, if he had actually attempted to craft a decent novel, with believable characters and a real plot, then I probably wouldn't've found this novel so distasteful. But no, the main character Chris is like a broken record machine, all he does is say the same thing over and over again; every other character in this novel exist for the convenience of lecturing to the reader exactly what happens in afterlife. It literally goes something like this. Chris: Where's Ann? I have to find Ann! Albert: . Chris: Incredible! and repeat for 300 pages.
Now, I've tolerated a lot of reads where the author is attempting to get a message across, and tried to like the story as a story... but What Dreams May Come is perhaps the most poorly disguised. Matheson's writing was utterly inane. This book reminds me of a writing assignment I once had, "Convey your idea of modern European history in platitudes." Or another, where, in an attempt to make Biology fun, my high school Bio teacher had us read a few chapters on DNA replication, and as an assignment told us to write that into a story.
Anyway, I'm sure there are people who really believe in this, or people that were able to look past the horrible writing/character development and enjoy this book. I'm obviously one of those modern, soulless skeptics who overglorify science and logic, etc. Truth is, I can be dissuaded, and I'm quite capable of suspending disbelief in hopes of obtaining something of value. And I have to admit, if all that Matheson tried to tell us were true, then it'd be pretty neat. I'll even stop asking questions such as "how about those people raised up in extremist nations where their beliefs and attitudes weren't so much of a personal choice but a product of culture and environment?" I'll admit, being in Summerland after death is a wonderful possibility.
You know what song this book reminds me of? Imaginaaaaation, imaaaginaaaaaaaaaation! And that scene where Butters squeezed his eyes super hard and POP he's brought back Imagination Land! All with nothing but his imagination!...more
This book will always hold a special place in my mind - English was my second language, and The Firm was the first real "novel" that I read. I remembeThis book will always hold a special place in my mind - English was my second language, and The Firm was the first real "novel" that I read. I remember being thoroughly caught up in its plot and finished it in a couple of days. It served as a benchmark for a good read for me in my earlier years....more
This was very good. Just about everything a good scifi novel tend to be - engaging, interesting, and easy to read. There's no real feat of language heThis was very good. Just about everything a good scifi novel tend to be - engaging, interesting, and easy to read. There's no real feat of language here, but that's not the point of the novel. It's here to tell you a good story, and it does exactly that. None of the characters were particularly deep, but I liked all of them. The story touched upon a few interesting philosophical topics that have tremendous potential for elaboration and deeper thought, but it doesn't go into any of them. Which is fine, I don't think Scalzi's writing would've accommodated that well anyway; it touches upon them without detracting from the story's pace one bit. I didn't want to put this book down once I picked it up, and finished it in two sittings. I wasn't planning on reading the sequel, but the little teaser at the end of this book piqued my curiosity. I had been incredibly curious about the other alien races, and the second book seems to include some conversation with them. My hopes aren't super high, but curiosity almost always gets the better of me....more
Not horrible, but very disappointing, considering how GOOD Joe R. Lansdale's short stories are. The entire story was a cliche, the dialogues are painfNot horrible, but very disappointing, considering how GOOD Joe R. Lansdale's short stories are. The entire story was a cliche, the dialogues are painfully contrived, and the characters are caricatures. This read more like the script for a B movie than an actual novel. Everything about this novel felt like they were paper cutouts glued together with spit. Oh, and the writing is barely mediocre. Maybe this is one of Lansdale's earlier efforts, but I saw no flashes of brilliance that studded the stories in his short story collection....more
Zombies? Really?? I was so excited to see this I read it without a second thought. Here you have Batman and Ra's Al Ghul, and zombies is the best you cZombies? Really?? I was so excited to see this I read it without a second thought. Here you have Batman and Ra's Al Ghul, and zombies is the best you can come up with? And really, why is Year One in the title? Just to associate itself with a fantastic piece of work with which it has no resemblance?
One word of advice: go into this book knowing next to nothing about the plot.
For me this was an impulse read - I had neither heard of the book beforeOne word of advice: go into this book knowing next to nothing about the plot.
For me this was an impulse read - I had neither heard of the book before or know of the author. I chanced upon this book's description (honestly I only read like, 3 lines of the synopsis before I impulsively decided to read it), sent a sample to my kindle, and the next thing I know, I can't do anything else until I finish this book
So, Faber really knows how to engage his audience, draw us in bit by bit, dangling a shiny string that's always just out of reach as the curious cats that we are chase it eagerly. By the time we've got the string in our paws and realize that it's not as exciting as we thought it was, well, playtime is almost over anyway.
The writing isn't bad - light, easy to read. The story's pacing is quite good as well. For me, the pages just flew by.
The "moral" of the story became painfully transparent about halfway through the story. I was worried about it at first; I tend to be wary of books that try to carry a message. But I think Faber pulled it off okay. He didn't compromise too much of a good story's integrity to fit in his message. That worry aside, I did allow myself to indulge in the ethical questions he poses - what must feel like age-old questions to us by now, but still nowhere near resolution.
Anyway. Overall, this is absolutely worth a read....more