This is by no means the strongest volume in the series (nor my favourite) -- think The Hobbit in comparison to the rest of The Lord of the Rings -- buThis is by no means the strongest volume in the series (nor my favourite) -- think The Hobbit in comparison to the rest of The Lord of the Rings -- but I gave it five stars anyway because it is the book that launched Roland on his unforgettable, addictive quest. It's a teaser, but absolutely integral to understanding everything that comes after. Don't miss that experience.
And my absolute favourite opening line (say it with me Constant Readers): The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. ...more
Love the premise of this book -- one day a plague of blindness strikes an unnamed city. Those blinded and under quarantine soon realize there are evenLove the premise of this book -- one day a plague of blindness strikes an unnamed city. Those blinded and under quarantine soon realize there are even worse fates than losing one's vision: it's losing one's humanity. Chilling, compulsive reading.
Saramago offers up keen insights into the human condition -- what we become in extremis, the heights we reach, the depths we sink to, and under the right circumstances, how quickly we revert to our most primal and baser urges. I love stories about what happens to "the group" that's thrust into an alien setting without social rules and obligations. It usually doesn't take long for humans to throw off the shackles of civilized conduct and resort to a more brutal "survival of the fittest" approach. William Golding showed this in Lord of the Flies, as did Scott Smith in The Ruins, and Stephen King in his novella The Mist.
I've always thought, when the shit hits the fan, I'm heading away from society, into the bush. The further away from the mob, the better.
I can see why this book remains one of the most instantly recognized zombie novels of all time (and continues to be a fan favorite and a darling among I can see why this book remains one of the most instantly recognized zombie novels of all time (and continues to be a fan favorite and a darling among "the critics"). It's cool, it's action packed, it's epic and amongst a sub-genre that is in desperate need of something "fresh", World War Z delivers a gut punch to the solar plexus fueled by a tantalizingly original approach.
Most zombie tales (either literary or cinematic) are told using a very small canvas from the narrowest point of view of a handful of survivors. It's shockingly intimate, immediate, but limited in scope. When there is a zombie outbreak in the heartland of America or in the City of Angels, we never know how the rest of the world is faring. Is it only happening here? Is it happening everywhere?
Max Brooks takes a truly global approach to the zombie apocalypse. He assumes that if there is a zombie outbreak, it's going to spread fast and become a global pandemic. His cast of characters are not a terrified group holed up in the Mall of America -- they are citizens of the world -- Greenland, China, Israel, India, Canada, Germany...never has the zombie apocalypse had such an international complexion.
The other aspect that gives this novel its unique voice are the voices, of which there are many. The great zombie war is over and now the veterans of this war -- the ultimate survivors -- are left to describe how the war was won on all fronts over all parts of the globe. How were the zombies driven into submission? How were their numbers decimated so that humankind could avoid extinction? Brooks doesn't shy away from the minutiae of military tactics and strategy, foreign dossiers, mass exoduses, government corruption, cannibalism ... this is probably as realistic a portrait of the rise of zombies and their eventual defeat as you could ask for.
And it's awesome, so why not 5 stars? While I am humbled by the scope and sprawling vastness Brooks uses here, the nuts and bolts technical aspects of the novel continued to hold me at arm's length from the action. This is an oral history after all -- everything has already happened, so we get the action in the past tense as remembrances. We know how this ends so I felt there was a tension and urgency lacking in the overall experience. I missed the "in the moment happening right now" voice. While the details held me in awe, I didn't feel especially frightened or held in the grip of a terror unfolding -- this was terror that had already unfolded. It was more a clinical experience than an emotional one.
Having said that, the audiobook is WONDERFUL and added a dramatic effect that I think would be sorely lacking by just reading the text alone. It was fun to hear the familiar voices of Alan Alda, Henry Rollins, John Turturro and Rob and Carl Reiner. Mark Hamill definitely has the most memorable part, but he does not sound like Luke Skywalker (thank goodness!). He was great actually. I never would have guessed it was him.
Anyways, despite my inability to give this book five stars, it does come with a huge recommendation. What Brooks does with this is an awesome achievement, and in the zombie genre, it's a game changer. There really is nothing else out there quite like it!
This book started out brilliantly with a wonderfully unique premise. The writing is e-x-c-e-l-l-e-n-t, but somehow the story loses its momentum at theThis book started out brilliantly with a wonderfully unique premise. The writing is e-x-c-e-l-l-e-n-t, but somehow the story loses its momentum at the end and speaking of endings, I found this one to be very unsatisfying. However, I enjoyed this book enough to try something else by Kevin Brockmeier....more
A lot of books get hyped and you go to read them and they are a real let-down. Most recently for me it was The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. And I probablyA lot of books get hyped and you go to read them and they are a real let-down. Most recently for me it was The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. And I probably had a bit of an attitude before even picking up The Road -- Pulitzer Prize winner, Oprah Book Club selection, now a "major motion picture"...yeah, yeah, yeah. All this praise and worship was a little bit nauseating. So for the first book of 2009 I decided to see if The Road could bear up under the weight of such gargantuan, exhaustive praise. In short, absolutely, unequivocally yes. I just couldn't help but be awed by McCarthy's spare prose. The Road is a real exercise in discipline. There are no extra words...none. The writing is fluid like poetry. The imagery moves from stark to hauntingly beautiful. Of all the books I've ever read on the end-of-the-world scenario, this one is bare bones, as ugly and scary as it can get. McCarthy leaves very little room for hope. It's a desolate story he is weaving and he doesn't back down or flinch for a second. Gotta respect him for that. ...more
Great companion book to Pfeffer's Life as We Knew It. Whereas the latter focuses on the rural experience from the pov of a teen girl, The Dead and theGreat companion book to Pfeffer's Life as We Knew It. Whereas the latter focuses on the rural experience from the pov of a teen girl, The Dead and the Gone examines life post-disaster in the heart of the Big Apple from a young male viewpoint (17). For that reason alone, the story is edgier, harsher and more graphic. I was totally sucked in from page one; seems I just can't get enough of the end-of-the-world scenario. ...more
Great story! I was completely engaged the entire time. For an end-of-the-world scenario, this was believable and frightening. I will never look at theGreat story! I was completely engaged the entire time. For an end-of-the-world scenario, this was believable and frightening. I will never look at the moon the same way again. I loved that Pfeffer did not let the story run away from her or get too big, but rather, she gives us the story from the point of view of a 16 year old girl and her diary descriptions of her family's struggle. It's easy to let your imagination run wild by extrapolating for the whole world... and that's where the real horror lies! ...more
Liked this, it was okay, didn't love it. The Host has been marketed as Meyer's first "adult" novel as opposed to her YA series, Twilight, but I foundLiked this, it was okay, didn't love it. The Host has been marketed as Meyer's first "adult" novel as opposed to her YA series, Twilight, but I found this one to be a little on the fluffy, adolescent side anyway. A lot of her descriptions are over-the-top dramatic, swept away, first love, I-will-die-without-this-person kind of thing. And the furthest any couple gets is a few smooches PG-style; there's no sex AT ALL and not even a hint at getting there and for an adult romance novel that's really disappointing....more
So this is the second collection in Marvel's graphic novel adaptation of King's Dark Tower series. While I LOVE reading about Roland again, and the arSo this is the second collection in Marvel's graphic novel adaptation of King's Dark Tower series. While I LOVE reading about Roland again, and the art work is gorgeous, I'm deeply conflicted as well. There's something here that isn't quite working for me, that seems off. I think the problem is that I'm comparing it to the source material too much, when I should be enjoying the work as its own unique experience (like a film adaptation).
It's also very much focused on young Roland. And I guess that's what's troubling me; Roland young is interesting, but Roland old is a literary legend. I long for the mature, wise, mean Roland, merciless and calculating Roland, courageous and flawed, cool and temperamental. Oh how I miss him.
The young, impetuous, impulsive, rebellious Roland is starting to be kind of a letdown by comparison. I remember feeling this way when I got to Book 4 Wizard and Glass; I enjoyed it immensely once I reconciled myself to the fact that we were going way back in the story to young Roland, but that doesn't mean I wasn't chomping at the bit to return to the "real" Roland. So the creators have decided to tell young Roland's story instead of mature, grizzled Roland. I would never have thought this could matter so much, but it does, it really does.
One more thing: when you read the novels, there is so much you DON'T know for a long time. It's like a puzzle, a really addictive puzzle. King metes out answers morsel by morsel and it's not until the last book and thousands of pages on that the full picture emerges (likely because King himself didn't know how it was all going to finally come together). But here's the thing: the graphic novels have already let so much out of the bag already...about Roland's origins, his destiny, even the Crimson King and his intentions, and what the Dark Tower is and why it's so important. It's too much too soon. I realize that the authors are working on a smaller canvas but where's the mystery? So far the story is very straightforward with uber-heroes vs. uber-villains.
My advice: Read the books first!!! There's a method to King's madness in how the Dark Tower plot unfolded over the course of three decades and thousands of pages. The reward at the end is indescribable. The graphic novels will steal that experience from you even though that is not the authors' intent. It's clear that the graphic novels are a labour of love and Peter David and Robin Furth have my utmost respect and gratitude for keeping Roland's story going. ...more
Fun, fast-paced page-turner. Great premise, if a little predictable in places. This was a simply written, “pulpy” book, but with high energy and lotsFun, fast-paced page-turner. Great premise, if a little predictable in places. This was a simply written, “pulpy” book, but with high energy and lots of suspense. Highly recommended for reluctant readers.
This is a VERY intense book that's extremely well-written. I also gave 4 stars to Scott Sigler's book Infected, (which has a similar plot), just for iThis is a VERY intense book that's extremely well-written. I also gave 4 stars to Scott Sigler's book Infected, (which has a similar plot), just for its sheer, rollicking energy. But in many respects, Moody's Hater is the better book. While Infected is plot-driven, action-packed all the way, Hater is much more emotionally charged. Danny McCoyne's character is well-developed and I found him to be very sympathetic. Hater is told in the first-person from McCoyne's point of view and this made him very real to me.
Moody's writing is so immediate and descriptive, the story unfolded in my mind's eye in a series of graphic pictures. My heart beat faster, my adrenaline levels went through the roof, and I experienced genuine dread. To coax so many emotions from me using a relatively small, unassuming canvas, is impressive to say the least. For readers who want everything nicely wrapped up by the last page, you will be disappointed. Hater is part of a projected trilogy, so the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. This did not detract from my enjoyment of the book, however; if anything, it's made me really excited for the follow-up....more
Impressive adaptation that so far, is following King's epic narrative very closely. The art is truly impressive, and I don't think I've ever seen theImpressive adaptation that so far, is following King's epic narrative very closely. The art is truly impressive, and I don't think I've ever seen the "Walkin' Dude" look so fierce (very cool). It's been a fun, nostalgic ride re-entering the world of Captain Trips, visiting with Stu, and Franny, Nick and Larry (and Flagg of course) all over again. Unlike many Constant Readers, The Stand has never been one of my favourite King novels, but I do recognize it as a staggering achievement in storytelling and am certain of its lasting cultural legacy. It's been a delight to see this story re-imagined in graphic novel format. I can't wait for the Marvel team to launch The Talisman (now THAT should be something). ...more