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.
A short story with a name so bizarre I couldn't pass it up, Hellhounds of the Cosmos is a fun little unpolished mish-mash of Lovecraftian weirdness anA short story with a name so bizarre I couldn't pass it up, Hellhounds of the Cosmos is a fun little unpolished mish-mash of Lovecraftian weirdness and kaiju monster beat-'em-up. It's unlikely I'll remember it a year from now, but as something to fill a bored afternoon with, it did quite nicely....more
A really excellent first salvo from promising new author Zack Parsons, Liminal States starts off as the story of two warring men (Warren Groves, the mA really excellent first salvo from promising new author Zack Parsons, Liminal States starts off as the story of two warring men (Warren Groves, the morally-compromised-yet-iron-willed sherriff, and Gideon Long, conniving son of a dying industrial magnate) before evolving into something much, much larger. Easily one of the most satisfying horror novels I've read, Liminal States playfully refuses to stick to a single genre, swapping tones while simultaneously hitting the reader with scenes of brutality, classic horror, and modern-day anxieties.
The book honestly reminded me of Machine of Death, taking a clever but seemingly simple gimmick and running with it much farther and more effectively than I would've ever expected. If it weren't for an unfortunately weak second act, I'd give this five stars, but as it stands it is still an exceptionally good bit of uncomfortable literature....more
It's not John Dies At The End. And that's a good thing, trust me. As good as that opening salvo was, we really didn't need the nefarious Mr. Wong goinIt's not John Dies At The End. And that's a good thing, trust me. As good as that opening salvo was, we really didn't need the nefarious Mr. Wong going that insane again. Instead you have This Book Is Full of Spiders (Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It), the logical progression to that first mish-mashed slag of Lovecraftian/Kevin Smith-style ultra goremedy, because somehow we managed to salvage some characters and setting and linear plot from that wonderful debacle.
This time around, Wong takes a swing at the currently-impossibly-popular Zombie Horror fad that has consumed the internet for the last half a decade or so, simultaneously lampooning it and nailing all the necessary uncomfortable spots. While significantly less authentically eerie than JDaTE (thank you Jim), it still has some masterful settings that turn the stomach and punch the brain. Overall though it's a more pure-hearted comedy than the first; in spite of a slightly weak opening, I found myself stopping every few minutes for an uncontrollable cackling fit the last 150 pages or so, and that deserves serious praise. Like any good book two of a trilogy, I both look forward to and dread book three for the closure it will bring. If you only read one book about the Satan spiders that live inside your face this year, make it this one.
This review was written primarily so I could use the phrase, "the nefarious Mr. Wong."...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
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
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
A rockier read than The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands gets bogged down in exposition and LOST-style weirdness on occasion, but still holds upA rockier read than The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands gets bogged down in exposition and LOST-style weirdness on occasion, but still holds up strong as we follow Roland's band of cripples in their investigation of the necropolis of Lud. Respect for the author came and went, but enthusiasm to find out what was on the next page never flagged once I got into the thick of things. Once you've muscled through the first quarter and the flimsy characters, you're in for a treat....more
A modernized entry into the Cthulhu mythos, Fall of Cthulhu Vol 1: The Fugue couples passable horror movie writing to pleasantly realistic and exceptiA modernized entry into the Cthulhu mythos, Fall of Cthulhu Vol 1: The Fugue couples passable horror movie writing to pleasantly realistic and exceptionally disturbing imagery, making it a quick and gripping read, well worth an evening. Sadly, the series deteriorates from here on out, replacing likable characters, believable behavior and palpable dread with over-the-top heroics, schlock villains and writing that goes way too heavy on the goth makeup. Regardless, this first chapter in the series manages very well as a stand-alone story, worth the investment for any enthusiast of groteque, creeping horrors....more