One of the most boring books I've ever read. It's a dreadful soap opera about sex and revenge, involving a bunch of dull, melodramatic assholes. Most...moreOne of the most boring books I've ever read. It's a dreadful soap opera about sex and revenge, involving a bunch of dull, melodramatic assholes. Most of it is completely predictable, and while you're waiting for the obvious to happen, you have to trudge through chapter after chapter of angsty whining in infuriatingly purple prose. Anne Rice offers no twists, no surprises. There is plenty of sex, which might have been fun if Rice didn't describe it all in ridiculous euphemisms or equate rough sex with rape as if rape could be fun under the right circumstances.
There is actually some interesting content, like Rice's depiction of the world of the castrati and some ideas about their sexuality. Sadly, this wasn't nearly strong enough to drag me out of the pit of misery this novel threw me into. I finished it only because I'd committed to a group read and needed the novel for a reading challenge. I've actually read books where the content was less interesting and the writing even worse, and they still managed to be better reads than Cry to Heaven. One star, for a torturous reading experience that I thought was never going to end.(less)
It wasn’t difficult for me to see where this story was going. Although I can’t think of any specific examples, I’m pretty sure I’ve come across some v...moreIt wasn’t difficult for me to see where this story was going. Although I can’t think of any specific examples, I’m pretty sure I’ve come across some version of this tale before. It also parallels Kohler’s earlier novel Cracks in several ways. Predictable as it is though, it’s not too bad. I like novels that intimately explore strange, manipulative relationships, and the psychology of obsession. The Bay of Foxes is also detailed and well written in a way that I find engaging even though there are no surprises. When Dawit speaks of M.’s work, he says he “does admire her spare, concentrated prose, her brief evocative novels” and I wondered if Kohler was using a description of her own work here; I’d say that’s an excellent way to describe my feelings about the two novels of hers that I’ve read so far.
Gideon Lake is a composer of advertising jingles and the occasional film score. It’s not quite as prestigious as the connotations you generally get fr...moreGideon Lake is a composer of advertising jingles and the occasional film score. It’s not quite as prestigious as the connotations you generally get from the word “composer”, but his work has been very lucrative and he’s just moved into a swanky new apartment. When he meets his neighbour Kate they’re instantly drawn to each other and waste no time in starting an affair, despite the fact that Kate’s extremely temperamental husband Victor owns the apartment below Gideon’s.
Kate is suspiciously keen on Gideon – soon after their first time in the sack, she invites him on a trip to Stockholm, where they’ll be staying with Kate’s friends. It’s the first of three such trips: each time the couple stays with a family in a beautiful home, but none of them turn out to be the romantic getaways Gideon expects. When he’s around Kate’s friends and their children, he sees terrible visions of them dead, dying or tortured, or he has encounters with them that are later revealed to be impossible. Kate, however, isn’t the least bit fazed when he tells her what he sees; in fact, she seems to have expected it. But why does she want him to see this? And what do all these people want from Gideon?
It's fairly convention and often contrived, but it was creepy and enjoyable nevertheless. Unfortunately the author really cocked up in the ending.
I'm glad to have read this, simply because fairy tale plots and themes are used so often in modern literature that it felt good to become acquainted w...moreI'm glad to have read this, simply because fairy tale plots and themes are used so often in modern literature that it felt good to become acquainted with old versions of the tales and get closer to the original folklore. I also enjoyed picking up on some of the values of the time that come across in the stories.
That said, most of them are terribly boring. The method of storytelling is something I just could not get comfortable with - rapid, perfunctory, repetitive, bizarrely irrational. It was often disturbingly amoral as well, even more so than stories that try to be realistic about how life goes. There are plenty of the happy endings that have come to characterise fairy tales today, but happy endings were certainly not the standard for these tales - some are incredibly violent and/or downright depressing.
I'm not criticising the book or fairy tales in general for this; they're rich cultural texts that still influence literature today. But I decided to go with a subjective rating, which is to say, I did not really enjoy reading this, however valuable the experience.(less)
Who would have thought zombies could be so… tender? To me zombies are gross and scary, sometimes funny, but not much else. Then webfiction author A.M....moreWho would have thought zombies could be so… tender? To me zombies are gross and scary, sometimes funny, but not much else. Then webfiction author A.M. Harte surprised me with Hungry For You, her collection of short zombie fiction which transcends the typical zombie mythos and uses the hungry, decaying monsters as metaphors for love and obsession. It makes zombies less scary, more revolting, but also morbidly fascinating.
Sookie resumes her love affair with Bill. Charlaine Harris resumes her love affair with adverbs and Sookie's outfits. Eric wears pink lycra. Two unrel...moreSookie resumes her love affair with Bill. Charlaine Harris resumes her love affair with adverbs and Sookie's outfits. Eric wears pink lycra. Two unrelated mystery plots are established, both of which completely fail to be the least bit interesting. True Blood doesn't, so go and watch that instead.(less)
I didn't think I'd ever say this, but forget the book and just watch the movie. Or in this case, the TV series, which is so good I decided to check ou...moreI didn't think I'd ever say this, but forget the book and just watch the movie. Or in this case, the TV series, which is so good I decided to check out the source. True Blood is excellent: dark, gritty, and entertaining, it’s got a gripping storyline and fantastic script with good actors playing unforgettable characters. But Dead Until Dark, the novel on which the first season of True Blood is based, will from here on be referred to by its acronym DUD, because that's largely what it is. If you've already seen the TV series, there's absolutely no point in reading the book because DUD has almost nothing to add to the story.
The absolute worst book I have ever read. A huge pile of atrociously written, misogynist, utterly ridiculous, boring crap.
Bella is the most annoying,...moreThe absolute worst book I have ever read. A huge pile of atrociously written, misogynist, utterly ridiculous, boring crap.
Bella is the most annoying, whiny narrator I've ever come across, and Meyer's pathetic, dead writing makes this even more unbearable. Bella is also a complete dismissive bitch to those who care about her and try to be kind to her, including her father. The only person she cares about is the unbelievably arrogant and emotionally immature vampire Edward. Meyer/Bella tells us he's supernaturally beautiful and attractive (on almost every page) but I never felt it. I don't think I could stand to spend 5 minutes with such an egotistical, anti-social person, nevermind share a bed with a body that's ice-cold, hard as stone and has the skin tone of a corpse.
Bella and Edward's relationship is based entirely on physical attraction (he's beautiful, she smells good), so it made me gag everytime Bella/Meyer tries to forcefeed you the idea that it's the greatest, most loving romance of all time. Even worse is the fact that Edward's creepy, intrusive behaviour - such as breaking into Bella's home, watching her sleep without her knowledge, dragging her by the collar into his car, constantly "commanding" her, and eavesdropping on her private conversations - is either interpreted as a sign of his great love or dismissed. Which sounds a lot like the excuses made for or by domestic abusers - he's just overprotective, he did it because he loves me. And Bella seems happy to waive her right to privacy and choice as long as it means this man will always be in her life. Nor does she seem to mind that Edward lays the blame on her for any physical damage he might cause to her - it's her fault for being so beautiful, for smelling so good, for being irresistable. He even says it's her fault that a dangerous vampire becomes attracted to her and decides to track and kill her. Another line from the domestic abusers - she provoked me.
The (very poor) counter-argument from fans tends to be that this novel is just meant to be fun, you shouldn't take it so seriously. Well if Twilight were just badly written, and all I had to ignore were the gaping plot holes (what happens when Bella gets her period?) or the long list of ridiculous plot devices (like sparkling or century-old adults going to high school over and over again), then maybe I could have just enjoyed the romance. But if I read a story that celebrated a rapist and his belief that women deserved it, or a story that vindicated a racist and his ideas about the inferiority of blacks, I couldn't say 'oh, it's not meant to be great literature, it's not meant to be taken seriously, just enjoy it'. I'd be disgusted, as I am disgusted with Twilight, and there is absolutely nothing in it to redeem its flaws. I remain shocked and saddened at its popularity, and what it implies about the sexist, antiquated views women and men still have about gender and their relationships with each other.