I liked it; it's a new and interesting take on Lovecraftian madness, how the stories tie into the reality, and what dealing with the Mythos might actu...moreI liked it; it's a new and interesting take on Lovecraftian madness, how the stories tie into the reality, and what dealing with the Mythos might actually do. It ends on a very ominous note, the art's good, the pacing's excellent. Like most Alan Moore graphic novels, it is not exactly something you can skim, and I'm fine and happy with that.
I might have given it four stars. However.
There are six disturbing pages in there, and four of them are really disturbing. Possibly it wouldn't have been as bad in text, rather than images. It's hard not to take in all the information in images; the trick of skimming or skipping over words the way you can with the pages of a novel, it doesn't work so well on GNs.
But yeah. I would have appreciated knowing in advance about the-- not even about the rape, about the depiction of same, and would include the phrase "trigger warning" in any discussion of the book that is more than casual.(less)
Well, that actually managed to make the previous books look like Pollyana in the Valley of the Improbably Optimistic Elves. I think I'm going to go pl...moreWell, that actually managed to make the previous books look like Pollyana in the Valley of the Improbably Optimistic Elves. I think I'm going to go play Fallout, or something, to take the edge off.(less)
Honestly? The movie was better. The writing style feels a little dated, and I've discovered I don't love Bloch's novels. Hi...moreWow, this was a quick read.
Honestly? The movie was better. The writing style feels a little dated, and I've discovered I don't love Bloch's novels. His short stories are another matter; he's creepy and funny and perhaps a touch grandiose in a throughly enjoyable way those. His short stories all deserve to be read aloud by Vincent Price. But his novels? Eh.
(Warning for individuals familiar with psychology, in a way the audience of 1959 perhaps was not: you may be tempted to toss the book gently against the wall at one point. Jesus. ...a more horrifying thought is that the way things are discussed is the way they were actually understood at the time, which just... Anyway. Moving on!)
On the plus side: coherent plot, decent characterization, some really unsettling looks into Norman's can-of-worms mind. If it were a little (a lot?) longer, it'd be coming out as a summer slasher blockbuster read. Not bad, just not great.(less)
I don't remember exactly when I started this, but I think it was two weeks ago. So.
Interesting to compare and contrast with the movie.
I like Coraline...moreI don't remember exactly when I started this, but I think it was two weeks ago. So.
Interesting to compare and contrast with the movie.
I like Coraline better in the book. She seems more patient, and gentler. And the book made it clearer that the other mother was going to cheat; I always thought Coraline's decision to cheat in the movie broke with the tacit rules of the setting, and it always felt a bit odd. The scene with her father standing there to be stung so she could get away from the wasps was lovely, and I'm still thinking about the definition of bravery.
The movie, I think, hit the happens-in-threes beat of a fairy tale better than the book did. And I like Coraline's parents better in the movie; we see more of what they're trying to manage, and it's easier to understand their absence.(less)
...well, yes, I can definitely see the mind of the man who wrote halfhead at work here. (He thanks his first agent for being the one "who suggested I...more...well, yes, I can definitely see the mind of the man who wrote halfhead at work here. (He thanks his first agent for being the one "who suggested I stop writing all that SF rubbish and try a serial killer novel instead." Now I'm wondering what else he wrote, besides halfhead...
Kind of surprised to find out that McRae's encounter with Angus Robertson predates the first book. I was coming to this vaguely sorry that I already knew the resolution of the first story, and am pleased that this is not the case.
Alright. The cover blurb is "Riveting and gruesome"; it is definitely the latter, and I had real trouble putting it down (as evinced by the fact I went through 600 pages in two days). Fast, enjoyable (I mean, presuming that fictional horrible crimes are something you read about for enjoyment), decent and varied cast of characters that I am planning to catch up on. Satisfying without being simplistic or muddled, which is a neat trick and a harder balance to hit than you might expect.
Avoiding spoilers; recommended to anyone who thinks, based on the summary, that they would enjoy this kind of thing.(less)
I've been very leery of new books in this (sub)genre (which I'm going to loosely define as in-character found documents from the zombie apocalypse)...moreI've been very leery of new books in this (sub)genre (which I'm going to loosely define as in-character found documents from the zombie apocalypse) since I picked up Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection: Field Notes by Dr. Robert Twombly and found that the purported "year" began in January and ended in March. I didn't intend to buy this; I was just browsing, and then I turned the page and one of the notes actually made me flinch, and I decided "okay, worth the money".
It's a very fast read, which is a bit saddening; I wanted it to last longer, but I think having twice as many notes would grow overwhelming. You'd either end up with a glut of snapshot moments, or end up following people through the notes they left (which minimizes your brain having space to play so freely with who they were and what happened).
Overall: sad, occasionally funny, horrifying, cold, and persistent. Recommend for people who like zombies, people who like prop documents, and probably fans of Post Secret. ---  I do, however, love that there are enough of these books that I can say that. I own four, myself.(less)
(Note the first: this is in response to a discussion group, hence the heavy discussion of Maggie Krusemark.) (Note the second: part of the reason I'm c...more(Note the first: this is in response to a discussion group, hence the heavy discussion of Maggie Krusemark.) (Note the second: part of the reason I'm cribbing my response rather than writing a fresh review is that I am down with a bad cold. I may have missed details.)
I'm going to call this one a fun and very fast read--I went through it all in one sitting, took slightly less than three hours--and tip my hat to it for the ending; I'd bump it up half a star if I could for that.
I loved the little asides and references; I read the Emma Dodd Harvest Memorial Clinic as a shout-out to the Dodds from Harvest Home, and Angel's claim in Walter's Congress of Wonders to that he's not a salesman of "insurance or lightning rods" as one to the opening of Something Wicked This Way Comes, for example.
The sister thing didn't bug me; possibly because I went in knowing vaguely about Angel's history, I thought of it (in terms of technique) as foreshadowing (view spoiler)[the lie that Harry Angel and Johnny Favorite were different people; the one the reader sees is really the good one, and the evil one is off and away somewhere else. In terms of story, I took it as Maggie lying to stall someone who was setting her on edge about Johnny; I figured that Angel's contact would have mentioned a sister. (Something like "it ran in the family; they called her the Witch of Wellesley, and her sister flips cards in Carnegie Hall.") (hide spoiler)]
(And of course Favorite was a Gemini. Of course.)
Not really subtle, but at least nicely textured, you know?
WRT the Black Mass; my opinion of Angel took a very hard nosedive when (view spoiler)[he was just sitting there taking pictures of the rape and murder during the ceremony, and that made the rest of the book rather less engaging. (hide spoiler)] I may pick up another William Hjortsberg later when I've got more time; this one felt like a fast, slightly pulpy horror/crime mix, and that's no bad thing, but I have a bunch of books to run through first.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Very good follow-up to the first Logan McRae book; possibly slightly more unsettling, although I suspe...more...well I did not expect some of that to happen.
Very good follow-up to the first Logan McRae book; possibly slightly more unsettling, although I suspect that's a personal preferences thing. Glad to see returning characters, and really pretty pleased with how everything wrapped up.(less)
Pleasantly surprised; I was coming to this with expectations of both quality and convention. Quality was met. Convention was met and exceeded.
There ar...morePleasantly surprised; I was coming to this with expectations of both quality and convention. Quality was met. Convention was met and exceeded.
There are a three science fiction stories, and now that I think about it, that's not unheard of; consider the Great Whatsit from Kiss Me Deadly. A similar (not identical!) story could have been told without the gadget in question in each case, but they worked well and even when I wasn't surprised by the ending (which is not a reflection on the story; just, honestly, halfway through a noir anthology a double-cross becomes less of a surprise) I was enjoying them. And plan to look up more Mister X stories--I mean, psychetecture with horrible effects on the city's inhabitants, an epidemic of sleep disorders, the once-shining Radiant City now named Somnopolis? I'll be over at the bookshelf.
One of the stories struck me as a bit of a stretch--not that it was implausible, but that I wasn't sure the narrator could rely on events unfolding as comfortably as they did.
The rest were solid, ranging from simple slice-of-life in a mean-streeted city to more heavily plotted stories of what I'm going to call depravity, combining crime and murder and the occasional twisted thing (and I'm going to wrap this up before I end up with a third Mike Hammer reference). Pretty sure one of them recast Batman's origin story, which made me grin a bit.
Overall; solidly enjoyable, veering into damn good on occasion. Graphic novels tend to be a really fast read, and at 116 pages I would recommend reading before buying if you're budgeting either cash or shelf space, but I would definitely recommend reading.(less)
My thoughts on this, from back when I originally read it (yes, quite some time ago):
First, I was actually disturbed. That doesn't happen often. Pleasa...moreMy thoughts on this, from back when I originally read it (yes, quite some time ago):
First, I was actually disturbed. That doesn't happen often. Pleasantly creeped out, grossed out, annoyed, disappointed (all too often), mildly sad or happy, those I get a lot. Disturbed, not so much. It was a brief scene and a relatively mild effect--nothing as intense as reading "The Screwfly Solution" or watching the end of Hannibal--but damn. I am not used to novels that can do that. I am impressed.
Second, it comes across as *intelligent*, which is different from simply smart in some way I cannot put my finger on. Very information-rich, and I am not seeing any of the talking-down-to-the-audience or playing up of shared assumptions that I usually spot in horror.