First there was Scully and Mulder (the truth is out there).
Then came Sam and Dean Winchester (saving people, hunting things, the fMy fangirl timeline:
First there was Scully and Mulder (the truth is out there).
Then came Sam and Dean Winchester (saving people, hunting things, the family business).
Recently there's been Elizabeth and Philip (Married Russian spies not to be confused with Royals)
Now keeping company with all of these is Alana and Marko. Star-crossed lovers from the warring planets of Wreath and Landfall. Horns and wings aside, their love is universal and instantly recognizable. All they want is peace, to be left alone to raise their precious daughter. But their enemies are many and threats lurk around every corner, from the seemingly innocent ballet teacher to Alana's Open Circuit coworker with her infinite supply of drugs. Then there are the mercenaries, Robot insurgents, and interplanetary revolutionaries who want to make the denizens of Wreath and Landfall pay for unleashing such a brutal and unceasing bloody war upon them all.
So much love for this series it's turned me into bonafide fangirl stupid.
Show me the way to go home, I'm tired and I want to go to bed...
Sooooooo, here we are. Back to the more soap-opera-ish, plodding plot with a few in
Show me the way to go home, I'm tired and I want to go to bed...
Sooooooo, here we are. Back to the more soap-opera-ish, plodding plot with a few interesting "twists" (for lack of a better word) thrown in. I was not riveted. Maggie going toe-to-toe with dickhole parents of dickhole kids is a less than inspiring sub-plot. More scheming by disgruntled community members. Eh, we've seen that number before too.
The Whisperers are sorta kinda interesting and new, I suppose, if you look at them with your eyes scrunched and squinting. It makes sense to me that there would be a group like this that would come along eventually. The real surprise is that it's taken this long, and perhaps how many of them there's rumored to be. Thousands? Really? That would be shocking indeed. For now, it's just a rumor and my fingers are crossed that this new "threat" turns out to be more than what they appear to be which is a step above same shit different day.
And Carl? Sweet jebus. (view spoiler)[After nearly bashing in the skulls of two douchebag out-of-control violent teenagers, he gets hit on by a strange new girl from the Whisperers group. And she's totally got a kink for Carl's empty eye socket. As in, she's totally into it. So much so she French kisses the damn thing (ewwwww)
Yup, like that. Then she takes his virginity. For the record, Carl doesn't put up a fight. But what should have played out as a nice sweet innocent scene has a twisted underbelly cause you know this young woman has got some serious problems and that she's been abused and raped by her group. Great. Cause the one thing the Walking Dead has been missing is some good 'ol pedophilia. (hide spoiler)]
Sometimes this series feels like an albatross around my neck, a monkey on my back, Sisyphus's Rock. I NEED THIS TO END!!!! I NEED AN ENDING!!!! Do you hear me Kirkman???? For godsake man, take mercy on all of us and please JUST FUCKNG END IT.
This is the turning point us zombified Dead Heads have been waiting for -- a genuinely new beginning, not just the illusion of one immediately undone This is the turning point us zombified Dead Heads have been waiting for -- a genuinely new beginning, not just the illusion of one immediately undone by human depravity and Rick Grimes assholery.
A few years have past. We have actual thriving communities now. More than one! Fresh baked bread is happening! Can I get a hallelujah people? Community members are trading goods and favors and working together and sleeping with both eyes closed at night. Children are playing, carefree and silly. Adolescents are keen to take on an apprenticeship in order to learn a valuable skill. Good ol' one-eyed Carl is among them, eager for Rick to finally cut the apron strings so that he can forge his own path to independence and competency.
Maggie is thriving ruling roost over the Hilltop and breaking horses. She's also mom to Sophia and little Herschel. Glenn is a huge void in this scenario and I miss him still.
Rick has calmed the sweet fuck down. He even will take the time to watch a sunset now. And delegate and build partnerships based on trust and respect. But what of good 'ol Negan? He's still with us. Serving a life sentence behind bars and taunting Rick every chance he gets. Right now he's convincingly neutralized but this is the goddamn motherfucking Walking Dead. Guys like Negan don't survive to become the good guys or the defeated guys.
There are new characters who are behaving the way Rick's group would have three years ago -- angry, paranoid, mistrustful. They can't believe what they are seeing and are certain something more sinister HAS TO BE afoot.
If Kirkman wants us standing firmly in the middle of the rug so he can brutally and viciously pull it out from underneath us again I'm quitting this series for good. Don't take us this far only to HULK SMASH it all to pieces again. This new threat? (view spoiler)[ Quite frankly I was much more excited to think that the zombies had become sentient. That it's just sick mofos running around sewn up inside zombie skins TCM Leatherface style? Meh. Do we really need more human depravity at this point? Shit sake. (hide spoiler)]
On to the next volume -- Whispers into Screams. Uh huh. Here we go -- out of the blue into the goddam black of an Arby's abyss again. ...more
I freaking LOVE this series!! Believe the hype -- it's epically awesome. A heady mad mix of adventure, space opera, humour and a love story. You willI freaking LOVE this series!! Believe the hype -- it's epically awesome. A heady mad mix of adventure, space opera, humour and a love story. You will be shown things you have never seen before to defy your imagination. The characterization is phenomenal -- I love these creatures who have wings and horns and TV faces and giant lie detector cats. This has instantly become a favorite. Cannot wait to read more.
Sigh. This almost got two stars. Almost. I mean, I liked it. There are things to like, but it's so far underachieving for King, so sub-par of his tale Sigh. This almost got two stars. Almost. I mean, I liked it. There are things to like, but it's so far underachieving for King, so sub-par of his talent and storytelling capabilities that it made me cringe in parts and left me embarrassed for the guy. The last third of the book with Hodges and Holly and Jerome running around trying to solve a mystery like an after-school special mixed with an episode of Scooby-Doo was just paaainful. Nothing about any of that was worthy of King for me.
I know Mr. Mercedes had its many problems and weaknesses: I present to you Exhibit A and Exhibit B. But I really liked it. A LOT. Mainly because the villain -- Brady Hartfield -- is some nasty piece of psychotic work. One of the better, more convincing villains King has written about in a long time. Brady isn't just a one-dimensional evil dude with sick tendencies and impulses -- King managed to flesh him out some and gave him an appropriately damaging childhood replete with a disturbed and abusive mother. There was some context there. Some texture and layering.
Unfortunately I do not feel the same about the villain presented to us in this book -- Morris Bellamy. Bellamy is a petulant, spoiled asshat -- entitled and vicious. I HATED him. He did not interest me in the least and the only satisfaction I was able to take from his legacy of brutal violent impulses was (view spoiler)[to see him die a burning fiery death (hide spoiler)].
For me, the most terrifying villain King has ever written is Annie Wilkes. On cold, dark winter nights I can still have feverish nightmares about her. Annie is the consummate fangirl gone wrong. She is a study in complexity and contradiction, a woman suffering from real mental illness and a menacing determinism and world view that bears no bargaining with. You're either one of the good guys (a "do-bee") or one of the bad guys (a "dirty bird"). And god help you if you turn out to be a "cockadoodie brat".
Morris Bellamy is just a selfish, shallow, ignorant prick who loves to blame the world for all his problems. He blames his mother for the first time he ends up in juvenile detention. He blames author John Rothstein for "selling out" and destroying his favorite literary creation thus setting in motion a terrible series of events. And most pathetic of all, he blames his "friend" -- future rare book proprietor -- of making him so mad that he goes out and (view spoiler)[gets blind drunk and brutally rapes a woman, a crime which lands Bellamy in prison with a life sentence rather than the home invasion and execution of the recluse author of his precious Johnny Gold. (hide spoiler)]
Whenever King writes about writing and the synergy that happens between reader and author I'm there. He captures some of that magic in these pages but I feel like it all gets poisoned with the less than inspiring creation that is Bellamy.
Since King is determined to get to the end of this foray into crime fiction, I am hopeful that the final book in the trilogy (if there has to be one) will return its focus to Brady Hartfield who may have developed some unusual skills. ::cue ominous music:: ...more
Here we go again: The Drawing of The Three: The Prisoner marks Marvel's third iteration of its ongoing, ambitious adaptation of King's Dark Tower magn Here we go again: The Drawing of The Three: The Prisoner marks Marvel's third iteration of its ongoing, ambitious adaptation of King's Dark Tower magnum opus. The results have been mixed for me. I started out in a fangirl tizzy, but my excitement soon waned for quite a stretch (in which I stopped reading altogether), then it peaked again like a firecracker going off, only to dampen and fizzle once more at the conclusion of the last two volumes.
Sigh. Look, don't get me wrong. I get a thrill and a chill every time I pick up one of these volumes. Because it holds so much potential. And sometimes I think just the sheer anticipation is worth its weight in gold no matter how conflicted or underwhelmed or disappointed I am by the time the reading is done.
This latest volume likely didn't stand a chance from the get-go, I had placed such GINORMOUS expectations of want and need on its slim modest frame. Out of all of King's seven Dark Tower books (I refuse to count The Wind Through the Keyhole in that number), The Drawing of the Three is my absolute favorite. For a lot of reasons. Not the least of which, Three is what got me addicted to the series in the first place.
When I read it that first time lo those many, many years ago (can you kennit?) I had never read anything else like it. I didn't even know books could do that to your brain and emotions, get in there and live there and completely wrap you up in its world and life and characters. I had loved other books before The Drawing of the Three, but I think it's safe to say this was the first time I had become obsessed - possessed by one. Books have been having that effect on me since but that time, was the first time, and you never forget your first, do you?
At the end of the day, these graphic novels are not, and can never be the books. At their best they are lovely companion pieces to tickle that nostalgia part of every DT fans brain; at their worst, they are very poor substitutes with the power to egregiously spoil the books for any reader ill-advised enough to start with the graphic novels. DON'T DO THAT, OKAY?? Read the books first. Will you promise me that?
There are parts of this one that I did enjoy -- going back to 1980's New York and hanging out with a young Eddie and his big brother Henry was a bittersweet, and due to knowing what's coming, an ultimately heartbreaking affair. The artwork is weak though, and Roland just looks like a caricature sketch of himself. And let's just say the lobstrocities scene fell as flat as a pancake. Boo. But there was astin! And tooter fish! So I shall read on. If only for the anticipation, if not the disappointment. ...more
Welcome to Area X. Ecologically pristine. Cut off from civilization. Hostile to humans. What lurks there? Does it have a name? Will you live to tell a Welcome to Area X. Ecologically pristine. Cut off from civilization. Hostile to humans. What lurks there? Does it have a name? Will you live to tell about what you've seen? Who will believe you?
If one can be said to "do" weird, then I don't think I do it very well. Annihilation -- the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy -- is Weird with a capital 'W' with its roots in H.P. Lovecraft and Algernon Blackwood. It has a post-modern mindfuck vibe as well reminiscent of House of Leaves.
That is to say, there were parts of this book that worked really well for me (especially the first half). I felt the epic creep and that twisting, squirming sense of dread of what I couldn't see, of what was lurking right in the corner of my eye. But as with most Weird fiction I've tried, there was a lot of "huh?" and a growing sense of impatience that acts like a maddening itch I can't scratch.
Ever sit on a sneeze that just won't happen for more than 15 minutes? Yeah, kinda like that. Or put another way, lots of really great, thoughtful foreplay that does not deliver on that big finish (I'm a fan of the big finish. The journey is nice and all but I need to know there is a final destination and that there will be fireworks when I get there, that this all means something. I hate ambiguity. It is not my friend).
This book is also well-written. If you are a fan of the word-smithing and an author who is in complete control of creating mood and atmosphere then this is something you might want to check out. There are scenes that practically pulse with claustrophobia and paranoia. The dread is definitely present and some of the reveals are quite shocking and satisfying. I just needed more. What should have been leading towards a crashing climax and a crescendo of realizations simply just....peters out with a whimper, instead of delivering on the bang. Did I mention how much I love the bang?
For you Weird aficionados out there and fans of the unreliable narrator (I'm primarily looking at you mark monday) you might want to give this a second look. ...more
Picking this one up I was not prepared for such a trip into dark and depraved waters. This is more than Scudder has ever gone up against previously an Picking this one up I was not prepared for such a trip into dark and depraved waters. This is more than Scudder has ever gone up against previously and definitely the strongest in the series since Eight Million Ways To Die. While we've moved along in years out of the 80's into the early 90's, New York City continues to be a seething trap of anger and violence and desperation with all those ways to die and Scudder has stumbled upon yet another one. This time, he didn't even go looking for it, not really. It sort of finds him in a weird, chilling series of coincidences.
Two words: snuff film. Yeah, like I said, dark and depraved waters.
Scudder is moving along nicely in his life these days. He's sober and regularly attending meetings. He's got his girlfriend Elaine (who one dewy-eyed reviewer wistfully and with no irony whatsoever refers to as Matt's snuggle bunny) no matter that she's a call girl and continues to see clients. He's also forged a pretty meaningful friendship with Mick Ballou, the Irish gangster who may or may not have carried around some guy's head in a bowling ball bag, the man who proudly wears his father's blood stained butcher's apron (and which of those stains are man or animal, nobody knows).
I keep coming back to these books mostly for Scudder. He's such a great character to spend time with. But also for the sense of time and place that Block is able to conjure. I find the Scudder books act like time capsules in a way. So much of the plotting of this story relies on VHS tapes and renting them from a video store. It made me remember what that was like and how long it's been since I've actually done it.
I remember when my family got its first VCR ever and it was this huge exciting moment, like we had finally arrived at a Jetsons' version of the future. And with Block, it's so authentic, because he's not writing these books from a 21st century perspective and recreating 1991, he actually wrote this one in 1991 without the long view and hindsight that we have as readers. I love that. That doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to Scudder aging and getting Block's take on a 21st century New York. I can't wait actually.
I'll wrap this up with a note on the ending -- holy shit snacks. (view spoiler)[If Scudder had done this in his heavy drinking days, I would have blamed it on the booze, but to do it stone cold sober, I'm positively shocked. Yet pleased. Satisfied. There was a time early on when I was so angry at Scudder for letting a child rapist walk free (forcing him to donate money to Boys' Town). I was so disappointed with his lack of action then. Well, no one can accuse him of lack of action here. Decisive. Unequivocal. Was this justice or cold-blooded murder? I loved when Scudder tells Ballou about his mentor who told him you don't ever do something with your own hands you can get somebody else to do for you. Well I guess Scudder decided that wasn't for him. If this was going to happen, he was going to have blood on his hands to show for it. I can respect that. (hide spoiler)]
Now I think I'll go for a walk among the tombstones. ...more
I can't believe it, but Negan is growing on me as a character. Despite his psycho tendencies and brutal, Medieval manner, I'm finding him waaaay more I can't believe it, but Negan is growing on me as a character. Despite his psycho tendencies and brutal, Medieval manner, I'm finding him waaaay more interesting than I ever did the Governor. There's a black humor that surrounds him that when mixed with his blunt badassery style is just ... well... bloody entertaining.
His confrontation with Rick is tense, exciting as hell, filled with profanity and written on the edge of a razor.
You ever hear the one about the stupid fuck named Rick who fucking thought he knew shit but didn't know shit and got himself fucking killed?
And really, I know Rick is supposed to be the good guy "hero", but I took some small amount of pleasure in seeing him dressed down Negan-style: "In case you haven't noticed...you're fucking fucked you stupid fucker."
It's this confrontation scene which saves this volume from mediocrity and mere filler as we move towards the "big" final(?) showdown with Negan and his band of merry psychokillers. Is Kirkman finally edging closer to a climax that's auspicious enough to end the series on? I hope so. If this storyline is not satisfactorily concluded soon, it will officially become the Coronation Street of zombie storytelling, and nobody wants that. Get out while the blood is still fresh on the page. ...more
No please, I insist: allow me to put myself out of my own damn misery.
#repetitive, #infodumps, #shallow world-bu Oh my aching, bloodydamn, gory balls!!
No please, I insist: allow me to put myself out of my own damn misery.
#repetitive, #infodumps, #shallow world-building, #repetitive, #show don't tell, #horrible characters, #repetitive, #stupid lingo, #boring, #made me want to hurt myself, #made me want to hurt somebody else #and this won an award? #you suck but not as much as this book, #when good ideas go very bad, #maybe i'm just bitter #am i drunk? #i wish i was drunk...more
This is a case where the star system really fails me, or I feel like I must explain my rating. Four stars does not make Mr. Mercedes one of King's bes This is a case where the star system really fails me, or I feel like I must explain my rating. Four stars does not make Mr. Mercedes one of King's best. In fact, stacked up against some of his better known works, it pales and withers fraught as it is with giant plot holes, some incredulous leaps in logic and a hero who behaves more moronic than heroic (if you want a list of these weaknesses look no further than Kemper's excellent review where he takes King to task on all these matters and more).
Kemper has a point. King shouldn't be given a pass based on Constant Reader goodwill alone. If you're going to tackle a genre where others have excelled before you, you just better bring your 'A' game and be firing on all cylinders. And here, King most definitely is not. There are problems. A lot of them. Not the least of which is King's fanboy enthusiasm for the crime thriller genre and falling victim to so many of its tropes and letting other opportunities pass him by unexplored.
I was able to extract a fair amount of thrill from this thriller. I became tangled up in the cat and mouse game played out between the retired detective and the psychopathic killer. Brady Hartfield is a pretty compelling villain with a twisted and tragic backstory that makes him one of King's most memorable bad guys in a loooong time. Everything I wanted to feel for the stupid shit villains in Under the Dome, I felt here in spades with Brady. He is positively hateful. And genuinely terrifying without being supernaturally powerful.
Big spoilers ahead under the tag.
(view spoiler)[What bumped this from an average three star read for me to the more memorable four are two horrific scenes that I thought were so well done. First, Brady and his mom killing the baby brother. So gruesome and heartbreaking and absolutely chilling the way mom smothers him with a pillow as he lies there broken and defenseless on the basement floor. Second, the mother's death scene by strychnine. I should have seen that coming a mile off. Poisoned hamburger meat left in the fridge. But I didn't. And when Brady comes home and realizes what must have happened I feel like I was punched in the gut. Her prolonged suffering, while deserved, was excruciatingly awful. I actually couldn't help but be reminded of Thinner and the way that ends with the infamous gypsy pie. (hide spoiler)]
So the four stars reflect my state of mind while reading it -- engaged, turning the pages, and needing to know how it was all going to shake out. I was hoping for a very different ending (view spoiler)[I wanted Brady to succeed and for Hodges to be destroyed by his choices and negligence and to eat a bullet in remorse (which would have had a nice symmetry considering he's suicidal when the story opens) (hide spoiler)] -- alas, that is not the ending I got, but man, I was squirming in my chair HOPING King would have the ball sack to take it darkside. The dread and anticipation had to be enough however. And it mostly was.
This is a pulpy beach read and as an experiment on King's part I think it succeeds despite some serious problems. I hear now that this is a projected trilogy and I have conflicted feelings about that. I don't need King to write crime thrillers. That's not why I started reading him thirty years ago, and it definitely isn't why I've kept reading him. There are others out there in this genre who have been doing it longer and better. I'd rather see him continue his efforts in the King universe, where the sun might be shining, but there's something black and slippery in the shadows. Where small towns hold close their secrets and all is normal and safe, until it isn't. ...more
Holy moses, I just knew I was being set up in the last volume. I knew it!!! My momma didn't r
Holy moses, I just knew I was being set up in the last volume. I knew it!!! My momma didn't raise no fools.
But that hurt. A lot. You'd think I'd be so numb by now that nothing would really get past my defenses anymore but apparently I can still be shivved, right in the back and fall to my knees screaming. (view spoiler)[Watching Glen go out like that was brutal. It really tore me up. (hide spoiler)]
This new baddie Negan is a real piece of psychotic work. He makes the Governor look like a misunderstood, tree-hugging hippie who just wishes the kids these days would stay off his damn lawn.
Where can the story possibly go from here? (view spoiler)[Watching Rick break was tough. I know he's told the community they're rolling over...for now, but he's obviously got something else planned. That last panel when he sends Jesus to follow the baddie back to Negan's camp to spy and gather intelligence tells us that. Living as slaves is no option. Something has to be done, and you can bet it's going to involve A LOT more bloodshed. Even if Rick's group triumphs against all odds over these animals, what would they have really won? Won't there always be another Governor or Negan around the corner? Wiping the zombies off the planet is an easier task I figure than neutralizing all the psychos. (hide spoiler)]
I haven't been patiently consuming this series episode by episode, volume by volume over the course of years. I gobbled down all 96 issues essentially I haven't been patiently consuming this series episode by episode, volume by volume over the course of years. I gobbled down all 96 issues essentially back-to-back thanks to the Compendiums (which weigh a ton each and are a bitch to maneuver let me tell you).
This volume -- A Larger World -- is where Compendium 2 leaves off, a bit of a cliff-hanger you might say. I decided to re-read it in preparation of getting to Vol. 17: Something to Fear. I'm all caught up now, and forced to get my dose of Walking Dead shenanigans doled out piecemeal like the rest of you suckers. But maybe that's a good thing, because too much of this world at any one time can really mess with your head.
I get the feeling Kirkman is setting us up to really put the hurt on this time. Hasn't he already? Hells yeah, but something tells me he's just getting started and that makes me both weary and wary. Everything in this issue is glossy with optimism:
(view spoiler)[ the new guy Paul Monroe (a.k.a Jesus) turns out not to be a Charles Manson-esque kook. He's got a normal, functioning community behind him with almost 200 members called Hilltop. They are farming and thriving. What's not to appreciate? Rick goes through his usual "I can't trust you get the fuck out of my face or I'll bite it off" routine, but eventually learns to relax (even after he's forced to kill one of their people in self-defense -- it really was self-defense this time). Glenn is smitten with the community, and Rick is forced to admit it's time to start living again, rather than merely surviving. In the Hilltop he sees that as not just a possibility but a reality, a reachable goal. (hide spoiler)]
BUT... cause there's always a but right? There's a new baddy in the neighborhood -- Negan. After what we've been through with the Governor, the idea of upping the ante some more makes me very uneasy. Rick can talk all he wants about building a new life with meaning and getting back to raising their children, but I can't imagine he's going to get his people to the promised land any time soon, if at all. I've called this story bleak and nihilistic before and I still stand by that. Kirkman wants to show us the very worst of humanity it seems, and I don't think he's finished doing that yet. And that makes me very afraid. Very afraid indeed. ...more
Well, you wonder why I always dress in black, Why you never see bright colors on my back, And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone. Well, t
Well, you wonder why I always dress in black, Why you never see bright colors on my back, And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone. Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on. "The Man In Black", Johnny Cash
Marvel's ambitious undertaking to adapt King's magnum opus has been hit or miss for me. The first five volumes (essentially a re-telling of Book IV - Wizard and Glass) did not work for me, most likely because Wizard and Glass is my least favorite of the series. While I eventually grew to appreciate the story for what it is, young Roland will never beat out long, tall and ugly Roland. So I actually skipped over Volumes 3-5 and didn't pick up the graphic novel series again until Volume 6 The Journey Begins.
I was so relieved and super-psyched to resume the story as it's finally reached The Gunslinger. Roland’s young battles are behind him, all has been lost, and he is now on the road to the Dark Tower as a solitary traveler, embittered, battle-weary, with no tears left to shed. This is the Roland I adore. This is who I want to read about and see captured in the panels of graphic novel.
In the previous volume, Roland finally meets up with Jake, and I loved how the Way Station encounter is handled. This volume focuses on the slow mutants attack and ends with Roland's palaver with the Man in Black himself.
I did not hate this volume by any stretch, but the series is now venturing into sacred territory and I didn't cotton to several of the storyline alterations. Not to mention, most of the art was just...not good. Inconsistent shall we say. I didn't like how in some panels Jake and Roland are very chiseled and there while in other panels they're barely there at all, kind of just shadowy impressions, blurry lines and all.
While I wanted to love the prolonged and "extra" interactions between Jake and Roland, something seemed not quite right about how they were speaking to each other. I can't put my finger on it really. But my gut just wouldn't leave it alone. And the climatic "go then, there are other worlds than these" scene fell flat for me. I didn't feel the punch or the emotionality I should have.
The last section capturing Roland's fireside conversation with The Man In Black is well executed. It strays little, if at all, from the original source material, a lot of the text lifted right from King's novel. Still, there are gaps even in this pivotal scene that I wish weren't there.
It's probably a mistake to read these graphic novels and judge them against King's books. Different format and all that, but I can't help it. And while I'm desperate for more Dark Tower, I'm probably much better off to just go and read the novels again rather than trying to find solace and satisfaction in the colored panels of a comic. A re-read is definitely on the table, but I will stick it out with the graphic novels too. When and where they've worked, I've been extremely pleased. ...more
Meh. It was okay. But for a trilogy that began so strongly, and appeared to pick up momentum in book 2, I found this final installment to be a tepid a Meh. It was okay. But for a trilogy that began so strongly, and appeared to pick up momentum in book 2, I found this final installment to be a tepid affair. From the very beginning this series tantalized me with mentions of Black Wings and sinister, dangerous things. It never quite lived up to that promise for me. There is simply waaaay too much emphasis on the romantic elements to suit my tastes. These books were obviously not written to please me.
The pacing for this one just felt "off" as well, really uneven. The ending feels rushed, and important developments are over too quickly. (view spoiler)[Hell was a few pages. Getting in and getting out should have been a much bigger part of the novel (hide spoiler)].
And *enough* with the love triangles already!! Jeesh. (view spoiler)[Killing Tucker pissed me off (it felt like cheating to suck as much angst out of the plot as possible). This worked in book 2 when Clara's mom dies, but to use this device again felt overly manipulative. Then to *bring him back* from the dead just felt too *deus ex machina*. Oh, it's okay. Haha. Fooled you! He's not really dead! You didn't think I'd kill him for *real* did you? Silly girl.(hide spoiler)]
And now I do feel like a silly girl for having stuck with this series for so long.
I'm going to go read about zombies and the end of the world.
Huh. Well, that was...interesting. Overall, I can say I enjoyed it. But two things chipped away at the star rating: 1) not enough creee-py (though a f Huh. Well, that was...interesting. Overall, I can say I enjoyed it. But two things chipped away at the star rating: 1) not enough creee-py (though a few scenes work incredibly well) and 2) waaaaay too much solving of codes and clues and shop-talk about genetics and DNA (oh, and these biological aspects are much more strap on your suspension of disbelief fantastical than this guy's done his research science fiction with the emphasis on science).
There's some crazy ass theories going on in these pages and if you don't commit to just sit back and enjoy the ride you will not. This is j-horror, not a medical thriller nor Isaac Asimov. Reality bends, and bends some more. Just go with it.
For fans familiar with the Ring movies, this is a pretty wild *evolution* of the original premise and curse. It seems overly ambitious to me at this point, without the "meat" to sustain it in a satisfying, credible way. But I'm willing to give Suzuki a chance and see what he can pull off in the final installment of the trilogy - Loop.
One more thing: (view spoiler)[is the identity of the young woman coming out of Mai's apartment supposed to be a "big reveal" moment towards the end of the novel? I assumed immediately this is vengeful Sadako in the flesh. And it also seemed fairly obvious to me that the only way she could be walking and talking is if she's the "thing" Mai gave birth to (because we know Mai gives birth to something). When Ando receives the fax and figures out the woman he's been shtupping is in fact Sadako, his terror and bewilderment is way out of proportion to the reader's. I felt like saying, "d'uh man, pay attention." (hide spoiler)]
Scudder is three years sober when we run into him again in Book 7, Out on the Cutting Edge. He's faithfully attending meetings, and even leading a few Scudder is three years sober when we run into him again in Book 7, Out on the Cutting Edge. He's faithfully attending meetings, and even leading a few when the mood strikes him. He's also still living in his spare hotel room lodgings and with a lot more time on his hands now that he's quit the bar scene and sipping bourbon coffee by the quart. While the vapor fumes of booze no longer waft from his person, there is yet an elemental quality of loneliness that continues to seep from the pores of our favorite New Yorker.
No wonder then that he should take up the case of a missing young woman at the behest of her distraught parents, and that he should find himself taking a much closer look into the sudden death of fellow AA member Eddie. Eddie is a man who dies with dark secrets on his lips, and Scudder's spidey senses are urging him to uncover those secrets no matter what the cost.
The thing I love most about the Scudder books is that they are such fine pieces of place -- Scudder's New York is just as much a character as Scudder himself. We've hit the late 80's where rents are sky-rocketing in the Big Apple and rent control is a landlord's sworn enemy. I find the details Block is able to pepper his books with always fascinating. He drops them into the story like a pro, as they work seamlessly side-by-side with the unfolding mystery. Like when Scudder interviews an actor who, with bitter amusement, comments on all the young men sick with AIDS:
We're all whirling merrily through the void on a dying planet, and gay people are just doing their usual number, being shamelessly trendy as always. Right out in front on the cutting edge of death.
It's a heart-breaking sentiment, and in an instant we are thrown back in time living and breathing the gritty reality of Scudder's city. It's not misty-eyed nostalgia, or even vintage. It's authentic, it's time travel.
This Scudder installment is also noteworthy because it's where we first encounter Mick Ballou, a.k.a The Butcher Boy. Ballou is a giant man with big hands and a bloodstained apron. Rumors abound about his violent prowess, and include toting around a head in a bowling ball bag and beating a man to death with a baseball bat. Despite Ballou's possible homicidal tendencies, he and Scudder hit it off and talk to each other in a way usually reserved only for the confessional or perhaps the man pouring your whiskey. Inexplicably, there is an instant kinship and unbeknownst to either man, Ballou is the key to solving the mystery of not only the missing girl, but Eddie's untimely death. This is a *great* character, and I can't wait to get more of him in the future.
The first time I killed someone I wasn't paid for it. ~Something You Are, Hanna Jameson
Meet Nic Caruana. Actually, you better hope you never meet Nic
The first time I killed someone I wasn't paid for it. ~Something You Are, Hanna Jameson
Meet Nic Caruana. Actually, you better hope you never meet Nic Caruana because if you do it likely means you are in for a world a hurt: perhaps some disfigurement...creative mutilation...and only if you're really lucky, a quick death.
Nic is your average English bloke just trying to make a living on the mean streets of London's underbelly. He's not a psychopath, but he is a murderer for hire. He's done some very bad things that he doesn't really feel all that bad about. He can be brutal, detached, ruthless. But he remains human and interesting and sympathetic. He is estranged from his normal, suburban parents, his junkie sister, and a war hero brother flying helicopters in Afghanistan.
Nic was a good kid until something very bad happened to him. Now he isn't good any more.
To all my crime loving GR friends out there, this is a fresh new voice in the genre to make your toes curl. It's noir that's black as night, with pages that bleed violence so in your face you can hear the bones cracking. The dialogue is sharp as razor blades, not only moving the plot forward at an adrenalized rush, but constructing flesh and blood characters right out of the ether one word at a time.
And are you ready for this? In a genre that's predominantly male territory, Something You Are was written by a slip of a girl who drafted Nic's story when she was just 17 years old. Now she's an old maid at 23, but she's got at least two more London Underground books drafted and I can only hope we see them sooner rather than later.
I will warn off more sensitive readers: this book features a lot of graphic violence and is set firmly in London's unforgiving, unsentimental crime scene of amoral people breaking all kinds of laws along with a shitload of bones. But goddammit, it's pretty damn fine storytelling. A punch to the kidneys, an uppercut to the chin, and I think I'll have an Irish whiskey and a fag now, thanks very much.