I was warned about the ending ahead of time, which was probably for the best. King did not end this epic well, but I can say I enjoyed 95% of the bookI was warned about the ending ahead of time, which was probably for the best. King did not end this epic well, but I can say I enjoyed 95% of the book and by sheer numbers there, I'll give it a pass. What King did accomplish is a fun read that is surprisingly fast-paced despite its size. He also created some of his finest villains ever, the God-fearing, "kneebound" Jim Rennie and his sociopathic son Junior.
Had this story simply been about how a town deals with an unknown catastrophe and how a power hungry individual like Big Jim can play on the fears of the masses, this would have been an amazing book. Unfortunately, King adds a bit of the supernatural and downright reveals the mystery of the Dome. Having read the explanation, I wish the ending had been ambiguous or that there had been multiple explanations, allowing readers to unravel clues and argue about different theories long after the book was over. ...more
The Silent Land has a lot in common with a hangout comedy or a "trapped in a bottle" episode of a sitcom. There are only two characters who riff off oThe Silent Land has a lot in common with a hangout comedy or a "trapped in a bottle" episode of a sitcom. There are only two characters who riff off of each other in one setting for the entirety of the novel. The relatively short novel consists of hanging out with Graham Joyce's descriptions of an idyllic ski resort and his seemingly doomed characters. For me, this was awesome. I enjoy Joyce's straightforward style and prose; just listening to his characters chatter about their situation was riveting to me.
The Silent Land is the type of book that sets up one big mystery and doesn't resolve it until the very end. This can be an unsatisfying type of novel especially if the ending doesn't deliver. But like so many of those types of stories, the journey ends up mattering more than the resolution.
Sidebar: Joyce seems to be largely unknown in the United States (I was delighted to find many of his UK editions in Powell's Books in Portland) which is a shame. He writes light, supernatural fantasy much in the same vein as Neil Gaiman and Charles De Lint. ...more
I'd been meaning to read Horns for a while, but now that there's a film adaptation coming out, I had to rush to read it first so I could be cynical anI'd been meaning to read Horns for a while, but now that there's a film adaptation coming out, I had to rush to read it first so I could be cynical and say the book was better than the movie. Whether that's the case or not remains to be seen. Horns is a murder mystery at its heart with some black comedy and horror elements thrown in. Hill crafts a great mystery through flashbacks, seesawing between present and past. What kept Horns from being a great novel for me was that the tone didn't seem to fit. I like Hill's sense of humor and pop culture references, they just seem out of place in a story that features such dark and horrific events. Sure, maybe the two balance each other out, but it felt jarring to me. Locke and Key remains my favorite Joe Hill writing to date, but I'm definitely curious about N0S4ATU....more
After a long stretch of reading derivative leprosy fantasy (Thomas Covenant: Lord Foul's Bane) and a few dozen bad YA books for an MLIS class (see EAfter a long stretch of reading derivative leprosy fantasy (Thomas Covenant: Lord Foul's Bane) and a few dozen bad YA books for an MLIS class (see Empty), I had nearly forgotten the power of a good horror book. This one recalls Simmons' Summer of Night in that it is a slow burning creepy coming-of-age book.
The Tooth Fairy is the horror in question of course. She/he seems to represent puberty, sexual desires, doubts, and all of those other aspects of boyhood that are gladly forgotten. The creepiness here stems from ambiguity of the character itself, his/her unpredictable moods and of course the uncomfortable sexual implications of a teenage boy and a seemingly grown up Tooth Fairy.
The book is not creepy all the way through, which makes the horrific moments all the more unexpected and successful. There is good characterization here and interesting plot diversions and events. Joyce pulled a bit of a strange ending and some maybe ill-advised turns at the end, but I didn't find they detracted from an otherwise enjoyable horror story.
Overall, this was pretty disappointing. One of my favorite books of the last few years was Simmons' The Terror, a similarly giant horror epic, so I fiOverall, this was pretty disappointing. One of my favorite books of the last few years was Simmons' The Terror, a similarly giant horror epic, so I figured I couldn't go wrong with another epic about mind vampires. This was a young Dan Simmons writing, so I think the problem is wasted potential.
Simmons starts with great ideas, but doesn't capitalize on them. The premise that vampires are responsible for most of the horrific events in the world stood to carry the story, but didn't. The characters were boring and one note. The Nazi vampire. The Southern belle vampire. The Hollywood exec vampire. Lame.
Some of the action scenes are well-written, but the rest of the book is weighed down by focusing on too many characters. Simmons tries to expand the scope of what's happening by having each chapter focus on a different character: vampire or prey. Maybe it was because I was skimming, but the combination of short uninteresting chapters and this fragmented writing style makes for a confusing experience. I found myself saying, "Who is this character again? What's going on? Do I care?"
Overall, and as I've read in other reviews, Carrion Comfort was promising, but suffered from excessive length and poorly executed characters.
I've always thought that horror is best served in small quantities. Keeping suspense and fear going over the length of an entire novel is a feat accomI've always thought that horror is best served in small quantities. Keeping suspense and fear going over the length of an entire novel is a feat accomplished by few. Joe Hill definitely has some chops here and I thoroughly enjoyed "The Cape," "Best New Horror," and "Voluntary Committal." Perhaps not coincidentally, these were some of the scarier stories. However, I think the lighter stories serve a necessary evil. Stories like "Pop Art" round out the anthology and keep tricking the reader into thinking something more sinister is going on when it turns out to be a completely innocent yarn. However, I can't justify a better rating because some of the stories did fall flat and the ones that I liked I wanted more of! This is the fate of a short story collection, I suppose! Keep up the good work and finish up Locke and Key for me soon, Mr. Hill. ...more
Well, Joe Hill tricked me. I vowed to relax a little on the Stephen King and horror after reading the Dark Tower series in the span of a year. Then IWell, Joe Hill tricked me. I vowed to relax a little on the Stephen King and horror after reading the Dark Tower series in the span of a year. Then I find out this clown is Stephen King's son. I don't regret it. Hill has much in common with his father, but he is more interesting to read because he hasn't figured out all of the tricks of writing yet. He is still unpredictable and interesting.
Heart-Shaped Box is a pretty standard ghost story starring Judas Coyne, a retired rock star. He makes for an enjoyable protagonist to follow and pull for despite his tendency to womanize and be self-centered like any rock star. Much of the book is spent learning bits and pieces of Judas' past whilst he and his girlfriend Marybeth are running away from a mysterious and terrifying ghost named Craddock.
In terms of scariness, Heart-Shaped Box did not keep me up at night. Instead, the book reads as more of a rock and roll-themed thriller, which still made it enjoyable.
My only problem with the book was the abruptness of the ending and the nature of the ending, some loose ties kept loose. Overall, an enjoyable but average read. I enjoyed Locke and Key much better, and I suspect I would enjoy Horns and 20th Century Ghosts better too. ...more
Phew. The final book of Stephen King's epic. Although King's writing is traditionally long on the description and back story and short on the action,Phew. The final book of Stephen King's epic. Although King's writing is traditionally long on the description and back story and short on the action, this is not the case in The Dark Tower. All of the buildup of the previous six books comes together for an action-packed story contained in this monstrous 850 page tome.
I am happy to report that the end result is worth the 30+ years and 3000+ pages of buildup. Reading of Roland's journey and finding out the mysteries that the Dark Tower contains was one of the more entertaining reading experiences I've had. I'm really not sure why the last three books of the series are denounced as failures.
Why only four stars then? Stephen King still feels the need to remind his 'Contant Readers' that he is there throughout the book and enjoys adding snarky comments about how he HAD to write it this way and that he's totally right about how it ended up. Don't write him letters, because he won't answer them, because Stephen King is always right.
There were also a few aspects of the story that seemed unnecessary. *MINOR SPOILERS* The fabled Mordred, for example, seemed tacked on to the story and did not amount to much.
In summation, I thoroughly enjoyed the ten months it took me to read Stephen King's epic series (with graphic novel breaks in between) despite the occasionally subpar writing and excessive back story....more
Mmmmm, I'd call it 3 and one half stars. Book 6 of The Dark Tower series definitely feels like an in-between book or a setup for the last book. This iMmmmm, I'd call it 3 and one half stars. Book 6 of The Dark Tower series definitely feels like an in-between book or a setup for the last book. This is understandable, seeing that any second film in a trilogy essentially serves this same purpose.
I think I can say without spoilers that Stephen King himself is a character in this book. It wasn't as offensive as I thought it would be, but there is definitely some Stephen King auto-fellatio going on in a few spots. If there is any downfall to the Dark Tower series, I think this is it. The Dark Tower means a lot to Stephen King, maybe too much; it is incorporated into almost all of his other books (and his life I guess), and he needs to remind us of this fact throughout.
As far as the story is concerned, I enjoyed it but definitely wanted to hear less from Susannah and her 'personalities' and more from Roland, Eddie, Jake, and Father Callahan. I read on the back of this book that it "ended in a the biggest cliffhanger of King's career." I wouldn't quite say that, but Stephen King has accomplished with me what he has done with the rest of the series: he has convinced me to read on....more
I dived into the second half of the Dark Tower series apprehensively. It seems it is widely thought that this is the point at which the series startsI dived into the second half of the Dark Tower series apprehensively. It seems it is widely thought that this is the point at which the series starts going downhill. I can agree to a point.
Much like Wizard and Glass, Wolves of the Calla is a really, really long build up to a pretty satisfying end. In other terms, Wolves of the Calla is hours upon hours of foreplay leading up to some relatively short sex.
A major complaint here, and I assume with other fans, is that Roland and his ka-tet journey absolutely no closer to the Tower in Wolves of the Calla. At the end of the book, only a bit more information is given as to what's happening with the Beams and why things happened the way they did.
One more thing that irked me (and I can say this without spoilers), is the modern literature that Stephen King is injecting into the story. He mentions himself quite a bit and I feel that in this instance, breaking the fourth wall is detracting from the reading experience. I am not at all optimistic about where this particular part of the story is going.
Overall, I can say I enjoyed reading Wolves of the Calla, but I remain apprehensive about the final two books in the series....more
The Stand was pretty good. If I'm dedicating 1200 pages and a month of my life to a book, can it afford to be pretty good? Maybe not so much.
There areThe Stand was pretty good. If I'm dedicating 1200 pages and a month of my life to a book, can it afford to be pretty good? Maybe not so much.
There are three acts, which essentially come down to I. Flu Outbreak II. Travelin' and III. Survival. Each act offers varied storytelling and relatively interesting characters. King seems to have the habit of telling long and unnecessary back stories for characters who end up having little impact on the narrative.
The book does in some ways work as an epic. Characters go through entire arcs and legitimately change, each part of the book feels different so the 1200 pages don't feel same-y. As always, King satisfyingly writes gore, horrific situations, and action scenes.
Some of the ways the plot was advanced were seriously contrived. One way involved writing one's murderous thoughts into a diary for anyone to discover. This was especially tough to swallow.
Having read The Dark Tower series, I trusted Stephen King's ability to write an epic, but unfortunately I didn't find The Stand to be worth the dedication and effort involved in reading it. I'd personally recommend Clive Barker's The Great and Secret Show and/or Dan Simmons' Summer of Night as suitable horror epics that satisfy in half the length....more
Despite being only 225 pages, it took me forever to read this book. I had the hardest time getting into it. The main problem is that it feels like anDespite being only 225 pages, it took me forever to read this book. I had the hardest time getting into it. The main problem is that it feels like an extended short story. The meat of the story is quite entertaining, and in that sense, William Gay lives up to the accolade he received from Stephen King. However, the other parts, which seem to serve as "world-builders," introducing unimportant characters who live in backwoods Tennessee and such, drag the book down. William Gay is quite a writer and provides amazing passages and descriptions of the surroundings, but these too seem long-winded. This one's tough to recommend. ...more