I am 30 years old, and I have just finished reading It. Liked It too, maybe even loved it. This is my second attempt on the book. I first tried to reaI am 30 years old, and I have just finished reading It. Liked It too, maybe even loved it. This is my second attempt on the book. I first tried to read It years back; I'm not sure how long ago, but my brother was alive. He saw me struggling with It and suggested a few other King titles instead, The Talisman and Desperation. I honestly don't know how deep a King fan he was, but he enjoyed them, and I'm pretty certain he realized how deeply caught up in the Kingverse I'd wind up some day.
I am 30 years old, and King was 40 when he wrote It, a story about middle-aged sorts and the children they once were and the odd uncanny gap between them. It's fantastic work on his part, considered by many to be his masterpiece (though I feel The Stand certainly holds its own). Even so, I'm only giving It four stars. It contains some of his most fleshed-out, believable, relatable characters, and demonstrates his knack for binding the unspeakably wrong to the every day through one of his most popular villains of all time (no small thanks to Tim Curry), but oh god, how it drags. The story takes place across a chasm in time - you see the cast as children - you see them as adults - you learn about the forces that shaped them over the last 27 years - you reminisce, remember your own childhood, your own chasm, but you do so quietly, because dear god Mr. King you're taking your sweet ass time building up these characters, and you pray he doesn't hear your life story and spend 27 more years drawing it out of you. There are lulls in the action, deadzones in the pacing, is what I'm trying to tell you, but in the end you see how worthwhile the time was; you wind up with a cast of human beings you care for and root for, and you can look back over their odd phantom lives with pleasure and sadness, and you damn yourself with a smile on your face for forgetting all the friends of your youth and oh hey the book's back up to five stars - I wonder how that happened.
There's a definite generational gap here. Stephen's kids grow up in an era nearly 30 years before I was born, and was written by a man 30 years after his own youth, recalling childhood as best he can while writing a story at least heavily concerned with that dark space between now and then, You Today and You The Delightful Scamp of Yesteryear. It doesn't matter though; even with occasional bursts of King's trademark oddball dialogue, the attempt still succeeds spectacularly, and you get hit by all the waves of nostalgia and forgotten memories roughly 1100 pages can hold. At least when the dark and horrible things aren't creeping in, of course, but It wouldn't be a King book without the things that go bump in the night, which certainly can't quite technically be real but feel all too horribly familiar, or the things that absolutely are real but which you never chalk up as something that could happen to you.
I wouldn't suggest It as an introduction to King simply due to the sheer mass of the thing. As a child, It discouraged me pretty handily barely a hundred pages in. For anyone who's already in the know, however, (or who read one of his crap pieces and is convinced the guy's a cheap hack) It is one of the best reads the man has to offer.
...Just don't hold me responsible when you discover yourself stuck with a new mantra....more
Needful Things is the first book I've read from Stephen King's Castle Rock series, which is silly considering that it's also the last book in the seriNeedful Things is the first book I've read from Stephen King's Castle Rock series, which is silly considering that it's also the last book in the series. This is a huge breech in my usual protocol, and probably ruined the experience for me in ways I will never truly understand. In my defense, however, it wasn't my choice. I picked it up as a discard from my little brother who received it in the mail after attempting to order another (far more culturally substantial) book from a disreputable Amazon dealer. Coincidence? Probably, but it's fun to think otherwise.
NT is a story about a small town which suddenly finds itself host to a new salesman in a new store, one which conveniently and miraculously sells everything a person could ever want... but nothing that anyone would ever need, and always at a price much steeper than it initially seems. The concept's not particularly original, but the story is told delightfully, building up to one of King's trademark grand sweeping climaxes. While it is happy to pile on throwbacks to earlier books in the setting, it's a tale that stands fine on its own, so don't be frightened off if you haven't yet tackled Cujo or any of the other pieces of the puzzle that came beforehand.
In the end, it's a bit tricky to categorize the book - it's too ghoulish and sadistic to be a morality tale, and too derpy and self-aware to be horror. Lovecraftian KingChristian dark comedy maybe? Regardless, it's yet another solid echo in the Kingverse, by no means a must-read but enjoyable all the same.
Be good. Be kind. Be clever. Be sharp. Be mindful. Be honest.
What's there to say? Butcher continues to write massively enjoyable, silly, death-defying antics. It is still very good, though it took me about a hunWhat's there to say? Butcher continues to write massively enjoyable, silly, death-defying antics. It is still very good, though it took me about a hundred pages to really get hooked in. That being said, the whole Dresden-Never-Gets-Laid thing is getting more than a little old. Ah well....more
A lone man capable of phenomenal magical feats hides in plain sight in modern day America. His daily dealings involve witches, werewolves, and vampireA lone man capable of phenomenal magical feats hides in plain sight in modern day America. His daily dealings involve witches, werewolves, and vampires, and he does his best to handle his capricious friends and bloodsworn foes from the realm of Faerie, all the while just trying to get by quietly and enjoy his oddly geeky white male life surrounded by beautiful women and comical animal buddy.
...I really didn't want to make the comparison, but dear god, it's just too obvious and unavoidable. Fans of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series will almost immediately pick up on the similarities as soon as they hit the first page of Hounded. There are some key differences quickly presented to the reader, mind you; where Dresden is a plucky young ball of inexperience and moxy, Atticus is a 2000-ish year old druid whose power level is high enough that he generally flicks away any threats that don't fall into his kryptonite categories, and rather than following in Dresden's footsteps when it comes to dealing with women (generally unsuccessful, often spectacularly, usually comically), Atticus just sexes 'em all up with wild abandon. And oh, the women... These are evenly divided between insatiable sex-fiends and inhuman killers who are also insatiable sex-fiends. Males, meanwhile, are short-tempered, dim-witted, and prone to embarrassing themselves about two or three times per scene.
Bah, I could complain about the quality of the book for longer, but it's not all bad. The world created here definitely offers enough unusual and tantalizing paranormal weirdness details to keep me interested, and the comedy connects solidly at least as often as it whiffs. It's far from grade-A material, but if you enjoy popcorn fantasy punch 'em ups, find Irish pride to never be out of style, and can handle an above-average dose of trying-too-hard nerd humor, Hounded might be worth giving a try. It's a short, easy read, and hey, Butcher only pops out so many new books a year....more
Ehhhh... It's a Dresden story, eventually, albeit a low-stakes formulaic one. The plot, writing, and art style don't really pack much punch or add anyEhhhh... It's a Dresden story, eventually, albeit a low-stakes formulaic one. The plot, writing, and art style don't really pack much punch or add anything to the Dresdenverse, but I was invested by the mid-point and grinning by the end. It gets three stars by the skin of its teeth, but considering that I came into this expecting to hate it, that's not bad....more
The third tale in George Rumbleroar Martin's Dunk and Egg series, in which the author remembers that political intrigue is his bread and butter. StillThe third tale in George Rumbleroar Martin's Dunk and Egg series, in which the author remembers that political intrigue is his bread and butter. Still fun and full of daring and oh man it actually made me excited about the idea of watching a proper joust, but the heroism of the first two is tinged with a bit more of the Winter Is Coming sensibilities we've come to know so well from the Song of Ice and Fires....more
Set 100 years before the A Song of Ice and Fire series, the Tales of Dunk and Egg make for a fun and relatively light-hearted intermission while waitiSet 100 years before the A Song of Ice and Fire series, the Tales of Dunk and Egg make for a fun and relatively light-hearted intermission while waiting for GRRM to get off his butt and write more. They're short, sweet, violent tales of chivalry and heroism without the overwhelming chaos and politicking of its host series....more
Coming in at a hefty 1,141 pages, The Stand is widely considered one of Stephen King's best works, and for good reason. With all that space to work wiComing in at a hefty 1,141 pages, The Stand is widely considered one of Stephen King's best works, and for good reason. With all that space to work with, King puts together and fleshes out an excellent cast (definitely not a guarantee in his work) and runs them through his authentically horrific post-apocalyptic vision with time to spare for insightful dissection of the modern man and the technological house of cards we've built around ourselves. More than that though, it's reassuringly hopeful, and even though my credentials as a Christian are more than a little expired, it's one of the most moving defenses of God in an age of science and death I've yet read. This is coming right after my experience with Desperation, another King and an absolutely disappointing instance of Christian Horror. But regardless of the Jesus stuff, it's a fantastic book, even if I can see why the editors felt the need to trim a good 40% for its first publishing. An excellent novel to sit down with for the long haul, and a massively revealing piece in the puzzle that is King's endlessly multifaceted book-universe....more
It's a shame, really. After starting off on a really strong note with one of the most likable King villains I've seen so far, Desperation reveals itsIt's a shame, really. After starting off on a really strong note with one of the most likable King villains I've seen so far, Desperation reveals its true colors, giving you much too much stumbling development of flimsy, annoying characters and reducing the big bad guy to a moronic ghoul who fails to use its near-omnipotence to any meaningful effect. Toss in an overbearing dose of grim-yet-indecipherable Christian apologetics and hey, you've got another stinker from the Master of Contemporary Horror....more
While the first two entries in the The Strain series weren't exactly good books, they were at least fun. Del Toro's got a knack for monster design, anWhile the first two entries in the The Strain series weren't exactly good books, they were at least fun. Del Toro's got a knack for monster design, and the series served as an excellent vehicle for that. In spite of the hokey dialogue and action-flick writing quality, my 10-year-old self loved the grotesque ugly bastards.
By The Night Eternal, del Toro's all out of horror ammo. The vampires never manage to do more than occasionally kill off bit characters, and the Master's more concerned with gloaming around his evil lair than doing anything actually impressive. On top of that, the world has essentially ended and it's made everyone so dreary and annoying. The most interesting character went and kamikazed at the end of book 2, and the remaining cast is just generally pretty flat and colorless. There are still some fun spots here and there, but overall I can't say this is worth the read....more
Everyone's favorite two-fisted wizard detective is back in his 14th installment, and the stakes have never been higher! Again! It's actually kind of rEveryone's favorite two-fisted wizard detective is back in his 14th installment, and the stakes have never been higher! Again! It's actually kind of remarkable how well Butcher manages to keep outdoing himself, book after book, in shoveling mountains of disaster on this geeky do-gooder's head... Anyway, we're 14 books in here by now. You know the guy's formula. If you like said formula, buy this! It's good! The ridiculous deus ex machinas and blatant male power fantasies are thicker and richer than ever! I believe it also actually answers more questions than it raises for once, though just barely. It's excellent popcorn fiction, easily capable of being polished off in a sitting or two....more
A pretty alright collection of four Stephen King short stories, focusing on downward spirals, vengeance, and a little bit of redemption at the end ifA pretty alright collection of four Stephen King short stories, focusing on downward spirals, vengeance, and a little bit of redemption at the end if you're lucky. Not quite horror stories or even creepy stories, the intended tone seems to be depressing, settling darkness (suitably enough given the title). Fantastic supernatural elements are kept to a minimum but show up from time to time, while the common-people characters are likable (if occasionally a bit threadbare from showing up in so many other Stephen King stories already). My only real gripe would be that his male characters seem nearly incapable of anything but despicable, self-serving sneakery, but oh well, them's the breaks. Average but serviceable, and better than not reading a book....more
While the story itself is only so-so and ends in confused horror, this Lovecraft classic created one of his most personable, lasting, and sinister chaWhile the story itself is only so-so and ends in confused horror, this Lovecraft classic created one of his most personable, lasting, and sinister characters. It also contains the line, "the hellish moon-glitter of evil snows," which demands respect. Not a bad 5 minute read at all!...more
While Chew: Vol. 2 doesn't really play around terribly much with the series' bizarre premise, and while most characters aren't developed that far beyoWhile Chew: Vol. 2 doesn't really play around terribly much with the series' bizarre premise, and while most characters aren't developed that far beyond were we left off at the end of Vol. 1, it's still a wonderfully-drawn, raucous, grisly, hilarious detective romp that caters to foodies of every stripe....more