I've only read the first novel, Titus Groan, and I certainly understand why these books have such rabid fans, but I doubt I'll ever be one of them.
Th...moreI've only read the first novel, Titus Groan, and I certainly understand why these books have such rabid fans, but I doubt I'll ever be one of them.
The writing is admirable. Rarely has a world been so vivid in my mind, and in such a distinctive style. Reading this, I saw the story unfold like an animated movie created with jagged quill pen drawings. This vivid style also applies to the characters, who are as distinctive as Dick Tracy villains. Mervyn Peake is a genius when it comes to naming his creations. It's hard not to love monikers like Prunesquallor, Swelter and Mr Flay. My favorite of all is Steerpike, who is one of the most sinister villains I've ever read.
But for all that praise, I simply could never get into this book. The pacing is excruciatingly slow. This is very deliberate, but I found it too painful. This became most abundantly clear when I was stuck in traffic on a Greyhound bus. All I had with me was Gormenghast, and I swear that dreary castle was nearly as bad as the reality of rush hour on I-95.
I unashamedly love escapism. It sucks when the fantasy I am escaping into is more boring than commuting. No wonder I liked the villain so much, as he was practically the only person making this world move at all.
I will hold onto this book and maybe return to the other novels when I've gained a bit more patience, or I'm in the mood for something particularly saturnine.
......well, we'll see about that. Ok, I'm going to go watch a Die Hard movie. (less)
A great debut! Not overly original, but utterly sincere. This novel is a lush world I was happy to escape into. I almost didn't notice the stink on th...moreA great debut! Not overly original, but utterly sincere. This novel is a lush world I was happy to escape into. I almost didn't notice the stink on the subway during the week I was reading this book.
Patrick Rothfuss has created a great protagonist. Can't believe I liked Kvothe as much as I did, since he is simply amazing at every single thing he does. I usually hate flawless heroes. Maybe it is his Dickens level suffering early in life that had me rooting for him, or maybe I have grown tired of morally grey fantasy, and was ready for an idealized hero again. Also, I'm guessing he has much worse tragedy in store, and all that brilliance will be paid for!
Some of the creatures in this book are a little too D&D monster manual for my tastes, and it needs a stronger villain, but over all, I had a blast, can't wait for the next book.
Quick note: The cover shown here on Goodreads is great. There is another version I wouldn't be caught dead with-- looks like a romance novel cover featuring Carrot Top. So good call on the part of the publishers for providing a book I would actually purchase! (less)
Didn't read it, because the story seemed to be petering out in the last book.
My one star review is for the lame cover art.
I felt insulted by that bul...moreDidn't read it, because the story seemed to be petering out in the last book.
My one star review is for the lame cover art.
I felt insulted by that bullshit, and don't want to be seen with that romance novel looking book in my hands. How do you tell someone with taste that this is a really clever alternative history of America while they are looking at Fabio floating there on the cover?
The publishers are making their fantasy books impossible to recommend! Stop it!
First off, if you haven't read China Mieville yet, I wouldn't recommend starting with this book, which is the author's first exploration into writing...moreFirst off, if you haven't read China Mieville yet, I wouldn't recommend starting with this book, which is the author's first exploration into writing for young readers. Go pick up Perdido Street Station, one of my favorite books of the last fifteen years.
Un Lun Dun was a fun read, but a bit of a disappointment after the Revelation of the New Crubozon books by Mieville. It was all a bit too familiar, especially after books like Neverwhere and a lot of the comics in the Vertigo line.
And 'too familiar' is a complaint I never thought I would level at this unique author. Still, this book has it's charm, and it is an easy read.
Where Un Lun Dun really shined for me was it's prevailing theme, which urges kids to question ancient prophesies and the whole concept of destiny. The protagonists in this book initially seems like stock fantasy archetypes, i.e. the chosen one who is destined to destroy the rising dark menace that threatens the land. What is great is how Mieville begins toying with all the conventions of quests and sacred objects that have been done to death in fantasy.
Mieville's toying with those tired formulas was definitely the best thing I took away from this book.
I also liked that he never dumbed down his vocabulary. It's as if he thinks young readers can operate a dictonary and learn new words.
Fantastic short stories from China Mieville. It was great seeing this author tackle short fiction so effectively.
There is one Bas Lag story for fans o...moreFantastic short stories from China Mieville. It was great seeing this author tackle short fiction so effectively.
There is one Bas Lag story for fans of Perdido Street, the Scar and Iron Council. But I had the most fun reading the other stories, where Mieville's awesomely weird sensibilities are turned upon our own world. 'An End To Hunger' is one of the coolest hacker stories I've ever read. 'Familiar' feels like a Bas Lag creature let loose in modern London. Really, I loved the whole book, with the exception of the title story, which opens the book, and really didn't grab me. Also, there is a comic several pages long, which surprised me when I discovered it. Nothing too exciting, but I would LOVE to see Mieville write some comics in earnest.
Like almost everything else by this guy, this book is creepy, surreal, and excitingly imaginative. It ends with a novella (one of my favorite story forms) called The Tain that any fan of 'I Am Legend' should love.
A great book for readers of all ages. Can't believe this hasn't been made into a film, as it is already perfectly paced to be a great movie.
Barker wr...moreA great book for readers of all ages. Can't believe this hasn't been made into a film, as it is already perfectly paced to be a great movie.
Barker writes honestly to young readers about death, and doesn't spare them some serious scares. And when I was a kid, that was exactly what I always wanted.
The story is all about mortality. The Holiday House, an entity that steals children from the world and offers them days of endless pleasure at a terrible cost, is a perfect metaphor for the way the years slip away from us.
Since I am on this kick of discussing artwork, I would definitely recommend you be sure and get an edition illustrated by Barker. His paintings and drawings are energetic, and add a signature feeling to the book. Here it is at Amazon:
grrr-- I wrote a long review of this that never posted, where I blabbed on and on about how great this book is. Not going to write it all again. But Ka...moregrrr-- I wrote a long review of this that never posted, where I blabbed on and on about how great this book is. Not going to write it all again. But Katherine Dunn IS amazing-- this is a great book for the freakshow set. I wish she would write another novel. Such an interesting person, I'd love to know what she is up to now. Final note on this recent cover art-- what a lame misrepresentation of the content this cover is. What are the publishers trying to do here? Trick mainstream readers into thinking this is some quirky I.T. romance novel? This is a much better cover: http://www.darkcarnival.com/DCOLarchi...(less)
I've had my fill of urban fantasy. It's as played out as a Scarface t-shirt. Really, I should only be mad at myself. I read about this book on the movi...moreI've had my fill of urban fantasy. It's as played out as a Scarface t-shirt. Really, I should only be mad at myself. I read about this book on the movie news website CHUD, and they never reviews books. It was five stars all the way, and promised an exciting new voice. So I picked it up in the bookstore, and there was a blurb from William Gibson, telling me: if you like Juxtapoz, you'll love Butcher Bird! The cover art gave me misgivings. It's very well painted, but it had me thinking 'This is that guy who trys to screw your girlfriend.' I felt like I was being marketed to, But I bought it anyway, itching for that Perdido Street Station vibe. The whole time I was reading this I wanted to scream "Dude, I already read Vertigo comics!" And What makes it all so ghastly; returning to those same secret alley markets, and fanciful zeppelins, and Miltonesque Hellscapes, is how cool this book keeps assuring you it is. If you get a chance, check out the author's photo. Man, ease up a little! Or go all the way and write "This ain't yer Daddy's Urban Fantasy!" over the picture. (Oh crap- he's probably a really nice guy) Now I feel like a jerk for coming down so hard on this book. Honestly, I did have affection for the characters, and there were some moving moments... But that guy from the cover (Spyder) would definitely try to screw your girlfriend. It was just way too familiar, and the addition of tattoo culture did nothing to enrich the urban fantasy settings.(less)
I liked the simplicity of this novel. It reads more as fairytale than horror, although there are echoes back to the excellent short story The Yatteri...moreI liked the simplicity of this novel. It reads more as fairytale than horror, although there are echoes back to the excellent short story The Yattering And Jack . I really enjoy the artificial aging of the paper. It adds to the novels device of having the demonic narrator trapped inside the pages, begging you to burn the book. I wish I could take the dust jacket off, remove the copyright page and any mention of title or author, distress the cover until it looks ancient, than plant it in a used book shop for someone to stumble across and get freaked out by. I know, I know- fat chance. But it could still really scare a little kid! I loved the narrative style. Barker's writing here isn't as lush as I'm used to. I had to adapt to the more conversational voice. But as the narrator became increasingly frantic, I really got into the groove. Loved the 'start counting the pages' bit. Barker's approach became a bit repetitive in the last twenty pages, but I definately admire it. The plot was straight forward. I wasn't crazy about the weirdly suburban version of hell, but all the traveling scenes through Europe in the 14th century were amazing, and gave me that old Bloody Barker glow. I work at the New York Public Library, where we have a Gutenberg Bible on display. There's also a painting of Gutenburg and the original printing press in the hallway, and I pictured the entire final section of the book happening in that exact setting.(less)
The me of 1997, still high off of Tigana, would have given it 5 stars. But I reread it recently, and it is now a little too flowery and over wrought f...moreThe me of 1997, still high off of Tigana, would have given it 5 stars. But I reread it recently, and it is now a little too flowery and over wrought for me to give a prefect rating to. but give it a shot-- overall it is lovely.(less)
Disappointing. Protagonist has lame taste in music- I would have prefered if the author just wrote: 'he put on his mp3 player and started running.' Ch...moreDisappointing. Protagonist has lame taste in music- I would have prefered if the author just wrote: 'he put on his mp3 player and started running.' Characters from the Fionavar Tapestry show up, then do next to nothing. I Listened to this as an audio book. The woman narrating it made the teenage characters more annoying than if I had read the book. Maybe I'm overly venomous because Kay does this weird thing about half way through the story where he just drops the charcter Kate from the plot. She is active and involved in the opening acts, then gets downgraded to googler and love interest at the midway point. And I liked her way more than main character, Ned.(less)
"I verily believe that a man's way with women is in inverse ratio to his prowess among men. The weakling and the saphead have oft...moreFavorite line so far:
"I verily believe that a man's way with women is in inverse ratio to his prowess among men. The weakling and the saphead have often great ability to charm the fair sex, while the fighting man who can face a thousand real dangers unafraid, sits hiding in the shadows like some frightened child."
This book is FUN. John Carter has got to be the least flawed hero ever, but I'm seeing the whole book as one big juicy Frazetta painting in my mind, and I'm loving that.
**I was really burnt out by the time I finished this collection of the first 3 Barsoom books. Lots of cool imagery and neat ideas, but the endless cycle of chase/fight/capture/escape became a chore. Inclusion of a son was NOT welcome. I can see the importance of this book, but can't see myself reading anymore Burroughs any time soon.(less)