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 first two words that come to mind when I think of The Hellbound Heart are “gross” and “boring”. For me, horror is best when it goes for your emoti...moreThe first two words that come to mind when I think of The Hellbound Heart are “gross” and “boring”. For me, horror is best when it goes for your emotional and psychological fears, rather than simply shocking you with disgusting physical atrocities, but the latter is exactly what The Hellbound Heart does. The characters are flat, the plot is thin; all that stands out are gory images of flayed and torn human flesh. Ick. Yawn.
Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three sisters and as anyone who has read fairytales should know, the eldest of three will be “the one who will fail fir...moreSophie Hatter is the eldest of three sisters and as anyone who has read fairytales should know, the eldest of three will be “the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes”. Sophie is “not even the child of a poor woodcutter, which might have given her some chance of success”. With this in mind, poor Sophie resigns herself to a quiet, dull life making hats in the family shop while her sisters leave home with more exciting ambitions. However, Sophie clearly has some magical powers, even if she doesn’t realise it, and the hats she makes soon become famous.
A re-read. I can't remember what exactly I thought of it the first time around. Reading it now, it seemed great at first, but eventually Louis's angst...moreA re-read. I can't remember what exactly I thought of it the first time around. Reading it now, it seemed great at first, but eventually Louis's angst just got really boring. I appreciate the idea that vampires struggle with their immortality (and as a result Rice's vampires tend to be much younger than more recent ones) and what a painfully monstrous creature the child-vampire Claudia is. However, there's only so much vampire naval-gazing that I can take. I would have abandoned Interview with a Vampire halfway, but I forced myself to finish it for the sake of some reading challenges I was taking part in.(less)
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.
**spoiler alert** The first time I read Disgrace I hated it. It evoked so much anger and sadness I didn't care if it was brilliant - I wrote it off as...more**spoiler alert** The first time I read Disgrace I hated it. It evoked so much anger and sadness I didn't care if it was brilliant - I wrote it off as a horrible book. How could a woman feel that, because of apartheid, she should allow her rapists to get away with their crime? How could she allow the man who may have organised the attack to take over her farm? Why did the rapists have to shoot the dogs in their cages?
I didn't want to see the movie, but a friend had a role in it and I felt obliged to watch it. I'm glad I did. After talking about it I realised that, although anger, disgust, and sadness were the emotions the story seeks to evoke, they'd obscured the ideas and insights offered. Of these there are many - I'll have to stick to just a few.