Pretty good little short story from Brooks. I really would only recommend it to longtime Shannara readers or someone about to start The Sword of ShannPretty good little short story from Brooks. I really would only recommend it to longtime Shannara readers or someone about to start The Sword of Shannara. It might still be enjoyed otherwise, but wouldn't pack the same punch. Still, this is a good way to spend 30 minutes if you enjoy the Shannara world....more
Well, this was enjoyable. Not the best in the series, but surprisingly consistent to it. I say surprising because I've heard and read that it wasn't uWell, this was enjoyable. Not the best in the series, but surprisingly consistent to it. I say surprising because I've heard and read that it wasn't up to par with the whole of the series.
I will say that the ending of it was less that satisfying. On it's own as an ending, it was fine. But to know it was the last book Adams would write in the series, I felt there were too many questions left unanswered. Will the Eoin Colfer book And Another Thing... answer these questions and give it a good wrap up? We'll see. I do plan to read it soon.
But regardless to that, I really enjoyed the whole series by Adams. ...more
Madon'!, that was awesome. This book is not your garden variety franchise tie-in. This thing is the genuine article. The story was taken from an actuaMadon'!, that was awesome. This book is not your garden variety franchise tie-in. This thing is the genuine article. The story was taken from an actual screenplay set down by Mario Puzo, so we know it has some authenticity. But Falco took it a step further and made one hell of a novel.
This is one of the best 5 books I've read this year, capisc'?
The Godfather is one of my favorite movies and novels of all time. The Godfather Part II is just behind it. This book, this genius of a captivating story, fits right in there. It's a prequel to The Godfather and sets it up wonderfully.
Luca Brasi does not sleep with the fishes in this book. He fucks the fishes.
Seriously though, this was awesome backstory to the film or original novel, The Godfather. This is brilliant. A prequel that tells us how Santino (Sonny) Corleone got his bones. It tells us what the family is up to during some of the years between the flashback scenes of Godfather II and the beginning of Godfather. We get a great backstory on Luca Brasi, telling how he came to be part of the Corleone organization. And the best part of this prequel just might be that there is no Jar Jar Binks!
Lots of other great characters too, including some crazy Irish. But I don't want to give away any surprises that are packed in the cannoli. It's certainly not a spoiler that we'd get some background story on Luca and Sonny, not to anyone that's seen or read the original. But the stuff that happens. Madre 'Dio!. Go read this....more
Why have I not read this until now? It's delightful. I love the humor most of the time, and the story is clever enough to carry it. Well done. I'll beWhy have I not read this until now? It's delightful. I love the humor most of the time, and the story is clever enough to carry it. Well done. I'll be visiting the Restaurant at the End of the Universe in due time as well....more
Uummmmm. What do I say? For as long as I've been on GR, I've seen the debate on the Dark Tower. Which story era is more enjoyable? The "present da....
Uummmmm. What do I say? For as long as I've been on GR, I've seen the debate on the Dark Tower. Which story era is more enjoyable? The "present day (sorta)" ka-tet of Roland, Susannah, Eddie, Jake, and Oy. Or the "Young Roland" era when he ran with Alain, Cuthbert, and Jamie?
So as I'm about to start this book, I find out that many of the "present day" crews are disappointed because we get a little time with the ka-tet, only to have the story shift back in time with Roland telling another story of his youth, much like Wizard & Glass. That book seems to be either a least favorite or a most favorite with everyone. With me, it was a most favorite. So while they were lamenting the return to the early Roland days, I was excited.
But in the end, Ka got me too. King pulled a double switch on us, giving us a little Roland story within the Ka-tet story, only to have THAT one shift to a storytelling situation about a kid we never heard of from even further back. And I'm like, wtf? It's ok for a little bit, but it takes up half the damn book.
The actual story "The Wind Through the Keyhole" is this thing, a fable about a kid disguised and sold as a Dark Tower novel. Ok, so there are some Midworld references and sayings and society stuff built in, so I can see that. It was Midworldian. It was rather interesting to see some stuff in the long ago, before the world moved on.
But if it's always like that, I can see why it moved on. It was boring. That story didn't even feel like a King story. It wasn't bad. It started out alright. By the end it was even engaging. But the middle slogged on quite a bit to the point that I found my mind drifting.
Then we switch back to Young Roland and get a quick wrap up on that story, which was very intriguing and enjoyable. And finally, we switch back up to modern Roland and Ka-tet, getting a wrap up on it too. Which wasn't a wrap up as much as a "ok, we're done screwing around, let's get on with it" that leads into Book 5.
Crap, it was like reading Inception. Only not as good.
Half this book is 5-star material (Young Roland story, Modern Roland interlude). The other half of the book is 3-star (with some boring 2-star fairy chasing in the middle). We'll average it out and call it 4. I'm being generous, but it IS a Dark Tower related book. I won't call it part of the main series though. It's an extra, like The Little Sisters of Eluria or the graphic novel series.
ETA (1/27/2013): The more this book has settled in, the more I am bothered by my overly generous 4-star review. It simply doesn't deserve it. A 4-star should not leave a bad taste in my mouth 8 months after I've finished it.
It's worth reading, but simply does not measure up to the rest of the series, period. ...more
This is a brilliant little collection of one novella and four short stories. When you consider that it’s the author’s first book, it really says sometThis is a brilliant little collection of one novella and four short stories. When you consider that it’s the author’s first book, it really says something. This is no amateur storyteller here. These stories work, and they work well.
You might recognize the name of the author if you’re a Stephen King fan; it’s his second son. It might be unfair to compare Owen’s one book to the 40-year legacy of his father, but it’s probably nigh on impossible not to at least consider it. I mean, it’s his son. King has been scaring and enthralling the world for nearly 40 years. So when his sons start publishing, one can’t help but wonder if they will carry on his legacy.
Owen’s older brother sure has. Joe Hill is hugely successful in his own right and a brilliant author to boot. So not only does Owen have the biggest name in the history of the horror genre setting the bar, but his older brother as well. His mother is also an author, and so is his wife. Owen pretty much has to be good, right?
But all that aside, Owen is not a horror writer. Though the heart of his stories (especially the title novella of this book) resemble some of the better emotional character developments of his father’s career, they stand out on their own as well. In fact, I found myself thinking of Empire Falls, the novel by Richard Russo more often than I did King’s work. That’s one hell of a comparison, as not only did Russo win a Pulitzer, but it was good, really good. A side-note here might be that Empire Falls is set in a small Maine town, as is “We’re All In This Together”. Another side note is that Russo is a friend of Stephen King.
“We’re All In This Together” (novella): -5 stars. The setting and texture of the novella do remind me of Empire Falls, though this is of course a much shorter work. It doesn’t have the intricate structure of Russo’s novel, but on a smaller scale I think Owen does manage to capture the heart of the characters, especially the narrator, George Claiborne.
The characters are wonderfully developed in a relatively short space. George is a bit of a troubled kid, but he’s not a bad sort. I’d certainly be curious to see how he turns out as an adult. The eccentric grandfather and his equally (or even more-so) eccentric best friend certainly earned their share of laughs. The potential stepfather, Dr. Vic was another well-drawn character. He’s kind of a jackass, but sympathetic in his own way. And then there is Emma, George’s mother. I admit I had a bit of a book crush on her. She’s a struggling single mom that’s trying to raise her son right yet wants a little happiness of her own. Who doesn’t? It’s a difficult balance at times and she handles it as best she can. She just felt real to me.
This novella is fabulous. If this is any indication of Owen King’s talent, we could be looking at a fantastic body of work in the future. It doesn’t even need the accompanying short stories for me to recommend buying and reading this book.
Since it really can’t be avoided, I’ll go ahead and jump into it. There are definitely some moments that made me think of Stephen King’s work. These probably aren’t spoilers, and might not even be Easter eggs, but I found them to be cool. I have to wonder if they’re there by coincidence or design. (view spoiler)[*Claiborne = narrator’s last name. Also the last name of SK’s Dolores Claiborne. *Amberson = the name of the town George lives in. It’s also the last name given by a character in SK’s 11/22/63. Curiously, that character’s first name is George. *Lee Harvey Oswald. George’s grandfather mentions him at one point, briefly. Though a person taken from actual history, Oswald is a primary focus in 11/22/63. *Joe Hillstrom. Another true figure from history, this is the person that Owen’s brother Joseph Hillstrom King (Joe Hill) was named after. He was a labor activist in the early 1900s, executed for murder with mysterious circumstances. In this book, a portrait of him and his motto of "Don't mourn...organize!" have huge symbolic significance. *Boston Red Sox. They’re mentioned a few times, as they often are in SK’s stories. That’s probably not a huge coincidence as they’re very popular across New England. Still, it was familiar. Note: This book was published in 2005, a full six years before 11/22/63. So I find myself wondering if, in fact, SK was influenced by his son, rather than the other way around. (hide spoiler)]
“Frozen Animals”: That was a strange little story, but I can’t say I didn’t find it compelling. While I wouldn’t classify it as horror, the dental work scenes had me writhing and shivering more than I care to think about.
“Wonders”: Another oddity, and it shouldn’t be surprising that we have a story where baseball is important. After all, Owen King himself was a character in a baseball story written by his father: “Head Down”. That aside, this is a weird little story. It’s very good and held my interest. But the relationship between a baseball team and a carnival of freaks was pretty unique. A book wouldn’t truly come from the King family without a really good WTF-moment or two, and this certainly provides.
“Snake” This is my favorite of the short stories. A little haunting, a little creepy, it left the feeling that there should be more, much more to tell. The guy from “Due Date” should play the snake keeper, and I have to love the name of the snake: Julius Squeezer.
“My Second Wife” Wow. This one was a road trip story of sorts. I could definitely see it work as a movie too. Lots of little twists and turns and unexpectedness. Very enjoyable.
That’s what I get out of all of these stories. You don’t know where they’re going to go. There’s really no way to predict it, and that’s refreshing. You might even find yourself scratching your head at the end of some of them, going “did he just…” and not being entirely sure just what might have happened next. But that’s alright too, because these stories will keep your attention front to back, and they will stir your imagination, your funny-bone, and probably some emotions here and there.
I’m seriously looking forward to reading more from Owen King someday. ...more
I can definitely see why this won the Pulitzer. It was a very vivid account of the epic battle which turned the tide in the U.S. Civil War. Shaara's iI can definitely see why this won the Pulitzer. It was a very vivid account of the epic battle which turned the tide in the U.S. Civil War. Shaara's intimate portrayal of some of the key players from this battle were very thought provoking and memorable. He brought them to life in a sympathetic way which never came out in the old dry history books.
War is hell. But how much worse is war against your own country?...more