While the spooky/gore factor is way down from old-school King, this one felt like curling up in a familiar, tattered old blanket you've had since youWhile the spooky/gore factor is way down from old-school King, this one felt like curling up in a familiar, tattered old blanket you've had since you were a kid. A fascinating story that explores a lifelong (albeit intermittent) relationship between two men.
Think of the pseudoscience of FIRESTARTER or CARRIE mixed in with the slow-build magical implications of THE DARK HALF or IT, and you're in the right mental place to enjoy this one.
I pounded the audiobook during a move. Having King in my U-Haul made the 12-hour trip go by fast.
It's been a long time since I read/listened to any Stephen King, and I'm glad snagged REVIVAL. ...more
Quite a fun book. Well-written, interesting protagonist, and kind of a strange take on the "vampire" concept. The conceit of this book is a "vampire fQuite a fun book. Well-written, interesting protagonist, and kind of a strange take on the "vampire" concept. The conceit of this book is a "vampire finishing school," which basically means a private high school for vamps. The "vamps" are as non-vampy as you can possibly get, though, at least in this, the series' first book. In movie terms, think of it as MEAN GIRLS meets THE CRAFT.
I read the book because co-author Kristin Cast is a fan of my work. That, plus the fact that the HOUSE OF KNIGHT series has sold a bajillion books and generated a rabid following made me want to check it out. I'm glad I did.
If you dismiss this as "just another TWILIGHT," you'd be wrong. Yes, this is high-school vamps, but I felt the characters were far less starry-eyed and more typical of the clique nature of a real high school. These kids are kids, and only really succumb to the broader scope of the supernatural aspect near the book's end.
I won't read the rest of the series, but don't take that as a knock on the work — as a middle-aged guy, high-school melodrama doesn't really resonate anymore (vamps or no vamps). If you're into this type of story, MARKED is a home run. The series just completed, by the way, so you can slam all of the books without worrying about a long wait for the story's end.
I hope the Dark Daughters keep on kicking ass. ...more
I loved this book. I'm probably going to mainline the rest of the series in short order. Ellroy's writing style is fantastic: concise and punchy, withI loved this book. I'm probably going to mainline the rest of the series in short order. Ellroy's writing style is fantastic: concise and punchy, with only the bare minimum words needed to communicate the message. I've never read anything quite like it, and it's already had an impact on my writing style.
Why only four stars? I'm not a big reader of the crime genre, and I wasn't prepared for the density and intricacy of this plot. Honestly, I had only a general idea of what was going on most of the time. If you are the kind of person that can keep straight an avalanche of facts and retain that knowledge for as long as it takes you to get through this book, you probably won't have that issue. My scatterbrain couldn't keep up with the massive amount of characters, subplots, and contrivances to bring it all together at the end.
I actually listened to the abridged audiobook first by mistake. AVOID THIS LIKE THE PLAGUE! THE ABRIDGED VERSION OF LA CONFIDENTIAL IS THE WORST BOOK OF ALL TIME. They cut six hours out of a nine-hour book — you do the math.
I then tracked down the full-length audio, which for some insane reason isn't available on Audible or iTunes. The full-length overwhelmed me, and in short order I understood why this book is a modern classic.
The characters are fantastic. They are all a hot mess.
The book doesn't translate that well to modern-day, though. It was hard to suspend my disbelief that cops could get away with the stuff they get away with in this book, but that's definitely part of the point: this is close to the way things used to be. Much of the book is an awful slap in the face to the concept of the "good old days" of America — they were only good for some people.
Four stars, but first off let me say that the ending felt like the story just ended, I didn't get a sense of closure. So anyone picking this up becausFour stars, but first off let me say that the ending felt like the story just ended, I didn't get a sense of closure. So anyone picking this up because of my raves (to follow below) needs to know that going in.
With that out of the way, what a fantastic set-up for a book. The plot concept literally got me excited as a creator, in the always heady "damn, why didn't I think of that?" way. The plot centers on an attempt to "cure evil." I can't say any more due to spoilers, but it's riveting.
The storyline itself is meticulously woven in multiple, intersecting timelines. There are flash-backs that you don't know are flashbacks until later in the book, and when you see that they are everything falls into line and makes perfect sense. No confusion of any kind. Very well-crafted structure to this story.
I love the art as well. I have the hardcover, and can say this is a really beautiful package, from cover to internal art to lettering.
While the ending was a let-down for my personal tastes in reading, I think most people who like a MEMENTO-style, non-linear story will enjoy this book. ...more
Let’s just get this out of the way: My name is Scott, and I am a fanboy. I love this series.
As a novelist, I realize I’m supposed to keep some levelLet’s just get this out of the way: My name is Scott, and I am a fanboy. I love this series.
As a novelist, I realize I’m supposed to keep some level of analytical distance in order to critique to structure, form, plot, pacing, character development, etc., but for the RED RISING series, my button-pushing brain simply shuts off about five pages in — much as it does with the GAME OF THRONES SERIES. Like an amoeba surrounding a hapless paramecium, Brown’s debut series simply engulfs me.
The single best thing I can say about GOLDEN SON and the series is this: I wish I could live in this world. Which is weird, considering the obscene body count. Please do not call the suicide hotline for me, I am fine. There must be a lot of characters, because after the flesh-rending, dismembering blood bath that is GOLDEN SON I’m kind of surprised there is anyone left for Brown to write about for Book III.
GOLDEN SON is about an elegant ruling class getting down to the base business of brutality. Imagine the palace intrigue of George R.R. Martin’s masterpiece wrapped up in neo-Roman and faux-Greek culture, then encased in the hard plastic of scifi, and you’ve got a sense of what this series brings to the table.
The RED RISING trilogy has a key similarity to the sensational, soon-to-be-on-SyFy, "Expanse Series" by James S. A. Corey — the star-spanning scifi only spans one star: ours*. RED RISING and GOLDEN SON take place in our solar system, which gives it a realistic atmosphere, even a “rustic" feel if that’s possible with spaceships that have yet to be invented. There are no “desert planets” or “water planets,” there are just “planets,” planets that we have read about all our lives, planets complete with diverse ecosystems and myriad sub-cultures that are supposed to be parts of an integrated whole but writhe and grind against each other like chipped paving stones moved slightly ajar by decades of endless traffic and countless freeze/thaw cycles. Brown’s trilogy is less Galactic South Beach and much more Universal Rust Belt. The great minds and makers who created this structure are long since worm-food, and the majesty they constructed is soon to collapse under its own weight. The sense that we are on the brink of collapse, conflagration and shattering rebirth bleeds from every page.
The one knock on GOLDEN SON is that I lost track of the characters from RED RISING. Brown doesn’t re-introduce characters in Book II as much as he continues them from where he left off in Book I. Too much time passed between books for me and I had trouble keeping track of Brown’s extensive pantheon of characters. If you’ve read the first book, I strongly suggest you re-read it before diving into GOLDEN SON. Re-reading Book I might take a wee bit of time, but that book totally rocks and reading it will let you slide right into Book II without missing a beat: well worth the investment.
Like RED RISING before it, GOLDEN SON captures that elusive laurel of fiction: I just didn’t want it to end. It does end, and yet it does not — as book two in a trilogy, the story will continue in Book III, tentatively titled MORNING STAR. I can’t wait.
*(Book I of the Expanse series, LEVIATHAN WAKES, will destroy your productivity and erase many valuable hours of your life — you have been warned)....more
I give this five stars as a well-crafted scifi hero's quest. It's easy to see why people have fallen in love with this book. For anyone who felt margiI give this five stars as a well-crafted scifi hero's quest. It's easy to see why people have fallen in love with this book. For anyone who felt marginalized in school, this book provides wonderful fantasy fulfillment. Are you a "good kid?" Do what your parents and teachers tell you? Obey the rules and work hard to do what is expected of you? And for all that, you're just a face in the crowd? Well screw that, son, because deep down you are a risk-taking bad-ass just waiting for a chance to shine. And also get some tats. And jump off buildings and stuff.
I was particularly thrilled with the way Roth handled the male/female dynamic in a competitive and violent environment. Tris (the main character) understood the physics of any situation: she wasn't going to win a fist fight against a boy twice her size. This wasn't a Buffy Kicks All The Ass All The Time Superhero story, Tris a girl who will mess you up if she has to (and if she can), and is also smart enough to avoid hand-to-hand combat when she knows there is no chance to win. There were parts where I just groaned going into them, thinking "and here the author is going to have this 100-pound girl suddenly be a Judo master and wipe the floor with this 200-pound man-child," but when I read that part, I saw the story play out in along extremely realistic lines. Tris was strong, she was a leader when she had to be, she constantly fought against her own self-doubt, but when crunch-time hit she did what had to be done.
And Roth made use of a basic fact of the world around us: a gun is the great equalizer.
The setting of Chicago was fun. The governmental structure was over-simplified, but this isn't the kind of book where you have an extra 100 pages to give a really multi-layered, complex governmental system. This was STAR WARS Pt. IV, establishing the world, setting up the big bad, and giving you a character that you can really relate to.
For those who comment "I thought this book was just for teenage girls," I guess I am part teenage girl at heart. Loved it. ...more