A helter skelter romp through a world of moral absolutes, secret societies who enforce them, madcap secret agent super tech, and a narrator rendered uA helter skelter romp through a world of moral absolutes, secret societies who enforce them, madcap secret agent super tech, and a narrator rendered unreliable in equal parts due to being a drugged out miscreant and simply being an intentional asshole. Bad Monkeys is a lightning fast read and enjoyable the whole way through, even if the third act and onward gets a little too over-the-top and ridiculous to maintain suspension of disbelief easily....more
I went into this book so ready to hate it to its core and add another 1 star review to my collection. "Hexed" was a dull catastrophe that leftDammit.
I went into this book so ready to hate it to its core and add another 1 star review to my collection. "Hexed" was a dull catastrophe that left me itching for more, and for the first half or so, I thought "Hammered" was eager to oblige. Mr. Hearne's sense of humor continues to fail at the most basic levels, and he fills the gaps with a level of nerd pandering that staggers the imagination. Reading about dignified immortals squeeing over a meeting with Neil Gaiman, or busting out I Can Haz Cheezburger dialogue, only makes me loathe the author all the more, and the first half of "Hammered" is chock full of awkward semi-jokes and lame attempts to look cool in front of all the internet kiddies. The bizarre sexism is mostly gone, but only because The Ladies get next to no screentime this time around. The book's initial salvo was utter trash, and I was pleased.
But then, the cast expanded and some odd immortals enter the fray, and they packed some wisps of personality and likable backstories... Nothing earth-shattering, mind you, and the author's skill with flowery high fantasy parlance is shaky at best, but I found myself Enjoying The Book and Caring For Its Outcome. "Hounded" and "Hexed" spent most of their energies building up to the climax of book 3, and while it was largely a fumbled, sloppy mess, I got some yuks out of it. My hate-boner dissipated, my prey escaped me; I had enjoyed this fantasy trash too much to tear it apart.
2 stars. Not 2.3 or 2.7. Maybe closer to 1.8, perhaps, but the fact remains that as much as I don't like you, I can't quite hate you. Begone - perhaps when my friend Matt throws me your next installment I shall not be so gentle....more
A fun, fluffy military action novel which mashes Avatar (the blue cat people movie, not the Nickelodeon elemental kung fu cartoon) into Starship TroopA fun, fluffy military action novel which mashes Avatar (the blue cat people movie, not the Nickelodeon elemental kung fu cartoon) into Starship Troopers to create a hot violent mess of a read. In the near future, humanity is allowed at age 75 to sign up for the Colonial Defense Force, trading in their miserable golden years for a second chance at youth and vibrancy. In exchange, all they have to do is help defend humanity from the terrors what haunt the galaxy. This blossoms out into a pleasant but oddly-subdued guts-and-glory tale of heroism and freaky space monsters. It's not about to significantly change your worldview, it fails to introduce any particularly novel sci-fi gimmicks or conceits, and it honestly seems to forget that its cast is made up of mature human beings very quickly, but it's still a fun read all the same....more
Hexed, the second book in Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles, is a little harder to go easy on than its predecessor. While Hounded was by no means aHexed, the second book in Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles, is a little harder to go easy on than its predecessor. While Hounded was by no means a great book, it did introduce the reader to an interesting world full of pleasantly intricate back-stabbing faerie politics, angry undead Icelanders, and other assorted supernatural oddballs. With a little luck and personal growth, maaaaaybe Mr. Hearne could pull together something solid out of this universe. There was promise here, is what I'm trying to say.
Instead of growing, however, Hexed just sort of flops around a bit while setting some events in motion for book 3. Atticus somehow grew more annoying here, switching between an immature stoner anime nerd stereotype and a holier-than-thou old man who scolds and reprimands everything he comes across. This is reasonable behavior, mind you, as all sorts of formerly reasonable characters try to kill him on sight, only quitting when Atticus' sage druid wisdom makes them realize the error of their ways. Those who don't try to kill him tell painfully corny jokes or just manage to embarrass themself for Atticus' amusement. I really hope the later books break this pattern, because I'm growing to dislike the majority of the cast...
Anyway, the plot summary: there's a couple new teams of bad guys in town, both of whom are groups of sex-crazed, murderous women, so Atticus teams up with all his old friends plus a few new ones to help take them down! The fact that the new ones consist of four additional sex-crazed, murderous women isn't helping the variety out much here. Oh, and there's also one fat lady tagged onto the team for diversity. The entirety of her presence is summed up as follows: *Eating cookies *Brushing cookie crumbs off her lap *Interrupting the story to go make popcorn *And losing a fight
Beyond the awkward sexism and unpleasant authority fantasies, the story just sort of meanders from point to point with no real sense of tension along the way, and the humor seems to have gotten weaker and preachier at the same time. I'll admit I laughed now and then while reading it, but there was a lot more dead air than I experienced with Hounded. Here's hoping the staggering amount of violence they suggest lurks in book 3 will help liven things up a bit......more
Prior to being handed this book, I'd never heard of the Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940. It was a bizarre debacle chronologically located adjacePrior to being handed this book, I'd never heard of the Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940. It was a bizarre debacle chronologically located adjacent to Nazi Germany's opening plays in World War II, and amounted to very little: Stalin's Soviet Union tried and failed to invade Finland, a country whose military strength paled in comparison to the red industrial giant. Although this engagement achieved significant popularity at its time (it's hard to dislike a bona fide David vs. Goliath story with such blatantly polarized combatants), Finland's later Nazi associations cost it much of its love on the world stage. Even so, William R. Trotter's account of the war is enjoyable and easy on the novice historian, and the war itself expresses in painful detail some of the do's and don't's of arctic warfare, as well as emphasizing just how crucial a role sound tactics can play in any engagement. I wouldn't call this a must-read by any means, but if you'd like to hear about one of history's odder brutalities, consider picking this up....more
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
I went into Gerald's Game against the advice of a decent number of friends, all of whom claimed that the book was simultaneously 1) needlessly gruesomI went into Gerald's Game against the advice of a decent number of friends, all of whom claimed that the book was simultaneously 1) needlessly gruesome and torturous, and 2) actually kind of dull. I suppose both claims have merit, but enjoyed the read all the same. Gerald's Game is the story of a woman's ordeal; after handcuffing her to a bed for a round of kinky sex, Jessie's husband dies of a heart attack, leaving her nearly immobile in a cabin, miles from civilization (but only a few mocking feet from the keys). Along with the rigors of thirst and the agony of a slow, gentle crucifixion, she also must endure all the horrors and phantasms of (view spoiler)[a long-buried childhood abuse she suffered at the hands of her father (hide spoiler)]. The content is graphic, even by King's standards, but it's all entirely down-to-earth; this is not one of his supernatural fright-fests. Instead, it's an earnest attempt at capturing the horrors of rape culture, from the little subconscious slights all the way down to the absolute worst offenses imaginable (which is impressive considering that it was written 23 years ago). It may not be a particularly fun read, but this is still a powerful side of King's talent I haven't seen elsewhere in his work....more
Another excellent example of King's ability to create quick, gruesome, delicious horror out of only the commonplace and humdrum. Although in no way hiAnother excellent example of King's ability to create quick, gruesome, delicious horror out of only the commonplace and humdrum. Although in no way his best work, and probably nothing to dwell too long over, it's a compelling page-turner that leaves the world a little darker, a little uglier, and a little more unnerving than than it was before (in a good way, of course)....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
When humanity wakes up to discover that everything they know and love (including the vast majority of humanity) has been devoured by a colossal layerWhen humanity wakes up to discover that everything they know and love (including the vast majority of humanity) has been devoured by a colossal layer of man-eating strawberry jelly, what kind of intrepid individual will survive in this brave new world? Mostly a bunch of unpleasant stereotypical twits, apparently. JAM is Yahtzee Croshaw's second novel, following up his pretty good Mogworld with a just-barely sequel lampooning the many, many post-apocalyptic adolescent fantasies out there. Think Sean of the Dead but with a lot more red on you.
The initial band of survivors rapidly switches from charmingly eccentric to sitcom silly, and eventually their behaviors just kind of become unexplainably erratic. The groups of survivors they encounter lampoon obnoxious internet humorists and corporate drones, but the attempt on the latter is half-hearted while making fun of the former is just so much shooting fish in barrels. Finally, the book just feels rushed. Character development is spotty at best, large plot holes are just left wide open no matter how much the cast points them out, and the second half of the book seems like it was wtitten by someone rapidly losing interest in his own project. I laughed now and then, sure, but it just wasn't something I could honestly call a good book at the end of the day. Ah well.
Yahtzee, I love your work. You can do better than this. Grab yourself a refreshing Branston pickle and get back behind that keyboard already....more