Joe Hill is great and this is his most polished work to day (not that polished is always good or even desirable but the status is worth noting).
Up froJoe Hill is great and this is his most polished work to day (not that polished is always good or even desirable but the status is worth noting).
Up front - this is not a "vampire" book regardless of the title. This is fantasy tinged with horror and the vampire reference is tenuous. I'd almost say that Hill couldn't think of an appropriate title so he came up with something kinda related and called it good (I don't blame him - I don't know what I would call it either without spoilers). Expect fantasy, gore, and the human condition splashed with crazy.
This is one of those books that I would be reading along on my kindle (which is important to note since I don't have the tactile feedback of my location in the book) and I'd have to look down at my location because I was afraid I had reached the end of the book. There were so many times that felt like they couldn't get out of the scrap they were in but there was so. much. more. to come! I was on the edge of my seat! So yes, the having to check my location is a good thing in my book.
What is great is that I was on the edge of my seat and I didn't feel like any of the plot points were pulled out of a hat - so many times in horror will you be shaking with the intensity and oh look! the door frame finally cracks or something like that. There are no easy outs in this one. I think that particular bit of storytelling magic, which is damn rare, might be Joe Hill's thing. He gets better at it with every book.
I read this in two days - couldn't put it down....more
This isn't my usual book but it was a free Kindle download so I read it.
It is terrible. Just awful. Let me tell you why: There are two story lines in tThis isn't my usual book but it was a free Kindle download so I read it.
It is terrible. Just awful. Let me tell you why: There are two story lines in the first half of the book. These story lines have NOTHING to do with each other. At all. There is a minor overlap and then the two story lines go off on their own. Well, I say go off but at least one of those story lines doesn't actually go anywhere. It is like a really, really, really extended character intro for lawyer Quinn. It should have been cut.
The second story line, the one with Catherine, can't decide if it is a murder mystery, a supernatural vision thing, a multiple personality disorder story, or what. In fact, I had NO idea what it was going to be. The handling of what was going on was so clumsy that I, the reader, didn't know what to expect. Let me clarify - having a twist is good but not knowing what I am reading is a problem. And the ending is on the topic that was the least discussed in the whole book.
More amateur errors - zero clues to the actual murderer, no in depth discussion of the religious angle (which you would need if you didn't go with the serial killer murder mystery), great discussion of dissociative identity disorder without any good characterization of said disorder, AND a completely useless love story tacked on to the tail end of the story (also totally unnecessary).
This story can't figure out what it is supposed to be, tries to be everything, and succeeds at being confusing and annoying. I understand that this is written by a lawyer and I very much appreciate the accurate courtroom proceedings but it doesn't make up for a poor story.
I started by picking up the comics based on these books - but they were moving too slow for me and the art didn't tickle me. So I decided to pick up tI started by picking up the comics based on these books - but they were moving too slow for me and the art didn't tickle me. So I decided to pick up the book.
I love the idea - this is quite the fresh take on vampires. There is a lot of pseudomedical stuff that sounds pretty convincing in that it is written confidently to make its case. The world, a modern NYC, feel complete. The areas and the characters do support the story well. However, I found problems from the start: the writing seem amateur. There is so much telling and not showing. The world is complete but the emotions of the characters, though mostly believable, are not shown. They are told. It is an oversight that is irritating considering how much I was enjoying the story.
And the thing that makes me question whether on not to continue and finish the series? The concept of the vampire. Sure they went really, really far to make the vampire scientifically explainable, and did a good job with the allegory of a vampire as a virus/parasite in a new and fun way. But then! Then the mythology goes back to the fantastic - somehow silver backed mirrors show vampires differently. Such a tiny, unnecessary detail to include that really throws everything off.
So, some distracting writing and distracting details. The sum is that I love the concept but am pretty meh about the execution. Maybe I'll get the next few from the library but I am in no hurry....more
Okay, this book was pretty great. The first book in the series is all action (and that really makes it pretty much automatically awesome) but this oneOkay, this book was pretty great. The first book in the series is all action (and that really makes it pretty much automatically awesome) but this one has to work at it through a lot of politics - which is does quite well thank you. Yes there is more alien! Great fun!
BUT HOLY SHIT CLIFFHANGER!! What do you mean this was published this year? How long do I have to wait for the next one?!? Ahhhh!!!...more
I was nervous when I started this book - the front has a recommendation by Diana Gabaldon: "Great sex, and an even better plot!" This is not a good reI was nervous when I started this book - the front has a recommendation by Diana Gabaldon: "Great sex, and an even better plot!" This is not a good recommendation to me. I like plot before sex, and this series hasn't had a whole lot of sex until this book (yes, the previous one had a bit but it was pretty low key). And yes, there is more sex in this book but it feels a bit shoehorned in. The various plot threads are moving even faster than before which is compelling but for such a short book (not short overall but a basic paperback length), it seems rushed. It feels more and more that this will be like Anita Blake: oh yeah, she is super powerful and didn't know it. I like these kinds of books but they are low reading to me. The previous books didn't seem to do this so much.
This series is fun but I think I'll borrow them from the library from now on. Or maybe buy them on the cheap from a used book store.
Note - originally I posted this review to the wrong book. whoops!...more
This book reads like a fairytale you would spin for a child. The prose is light and flowing but there is only enough dark to counterpoint to the lightThis book reads like a fairytale you would spin for a child. The prose is light and flowing but there is only enough dark to counterpoint to the light, much like any story one would tell a child. It doesn't feel like a Dark Tower story but perhaps it has been too many years since I have read those seven books.
In fact this is like a tale for a child - the whole concept is that it is Roland telling a story to his ka-tet while a storm rages. The campfire story feel stays through the whole book. If anything, I could say that this would be an interesting introduction to the Dark Tower mythos for children without ever actually giving them any hint of the darkness that is on the road to that terrible and awesome place.
I am used to Dark Tower being synonymous with epic, dark, gritty, and fascinating. This is but a diversion, a pause in the road on a calm and sunny day where the flowers bloom and everyone is optimistic about the future regardless of the storm addressed in the story. Light and fluffy times happened with Roland but they are few and far between and not what I expected....more
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. This is urban fantasy done well - more behind the curtain as a norm and less mundane tweaked by theI really enjoyed this collection of short stories. This is urban fantasy done well - more behind the curtain as a norm and less mundane tweaked by the supernatural. I love the take on voodoo in "Magitechnical Support" - an exorcist working on your computer? Awesome.
Sure some of these characters are forgettable and nothing in here will make you cry or shiver (veteran horror reader here so take that as you will) but the stories will stick with you at least partially because they commit to the world they are set in - you may relate to how the character feels but the worlds are alien with their own rules and settings. I can respect that especially in a short story where you have such little time to connect with the reader - foregoing familiar settings is a difficult thing to do and I applaud it. I hope more urban fantasy takes this path.
This reminds me of The Long Walk by Richard Bachman/Stephen King or even Battle Royale, only with a lot more setup and plot. I personally love these pThis reminds me of The Long Walk by Richard Bachman/Stephen King or even Battle Royale, only with a lot more setup and plot. I personally love these post apocalyptic stories and it is especially harsh when applied to kids. However, it also hits the romance button which makes the book more well rounded.
This book is very intense - life is hard and has political ramifications that become more and more clear. This isn't just a death match, this is a story with characters you care about before they ever get into the ring. You start just learning about how hard every day is though the characters survive well enough. Then you see the harsh comparison to the rest of the country. This is society gone wrong. But it is treated with respect: some people are brought up that way and they don't know any better. Collins is very good about showing that good and evil are useful categories but people are more than than and cannot always be classified easily.
The only complaint I have is that the main character can be a bit dense when it comes to romance. It is handled realistically but it feels a bit heavy handed. It doesn't distract from the big picture though.
I have spoken with at least one kid who read this book and it really fired him up. He loved discussing the characters and what happened to them and why they did what they did. This book is intense and certainly not all kids could handle it (it made me cry and I love gore, horror, etc). However, I got to ask the kid devil's advocate questions like "But why did that [evil] character act that way? Was there a reason for it? Did that character do the best they could in that society? Was what they were doing bad or was it bad only in comparison to how it affected others that they couldn't see?" and the kid could discuss it and see many different sides to the story.
This is a really, really fantastic selection of short stories. CAVEAT: This isn't just about ghost, or horror, creepy things, or things that go bump!This is a really, really fantastic selection of short stories. CAVEAT: This isn't just about ghost, or horror, creepy things, or things that go bump! Now, the first story may have you doubting me (it is really wonderful modern horror - we are talking Se7en level of awesome) but there are stories in the middle that just don't match the ghost "theme". However, they are wonderfully written stories. If you were disappointed with Hill's pacing, storytelling quirks, or weirdness with the actual art of the story, you will be happy with Hill's short works. Like his dad, he is excellent, powerful, and even tricksey with his short stories. Don't expect to be spoonfed with these works! The are short, sweet (in a scary way), and they have dirty tricks that make you cry or start at the smallest noises.
Highly recommended. I plan on picking up everything this man does....more
Well that was a quick read! A couple pages and I was hooked. I picked up the first book in the series because I have seen both the movies based on itWell that was a quick read! A couple pages and I was hooked. I picked up the first book in the series because I have seen both the movies based on it - Night Watch and Day Watch (the first is available on instant play as of now on Netflix and it is quite fun though convoluted. Day Watch is on physical and has the most innovative subtitles I have ever seen. Fun stuff).
This is a great book cut into three sections and each is contained. Of course I couldn't actually stop when I reached the end of one but the story is wrapped up at the end of each section. They are thoroughly connected though so no skipping around. I have seen non english books broken up into many books before so I wonder if it is a russian habit for publishing or if it was just the style of the author. *shrug*
There is Light and Dark and they are not part of human society though they do protect/feed from it. This leads to a lot of philosophical discussions about how much Evil or Good is done from a good act or an evil act. Everything can be justified. Anton, our main character, is on the side of Light but he does question how far reaching his actions affect and how much evil is done in the name of good. However, there is quite a bit of action in this book. Even with all the spoon fed philosophy, there is a lot of showing rather than telling with a great translation showing off some very pretty imagery. I did find a few spots where the translation had a hiccup (a you being plural and understood since the Russian has that form, I assume, and English is ambiguous) but nothing that really interrupted the narrative.
What is really interesting is that there is little exposition after the climaxes of the stories. It is a situation where you are allowed to be in the position of the character and infer your/Anton's reactions. They are not given to you at all since the next stories are set slightly later, enough time for the story to progress. The best example is actually in the middle of the third story where Anton sees something that very much upsets him but he closes the door and we are given a line and then his following actions rather than a page on how he is feeling. Now there was enough of that earlier in the story but I still rather enjoyed that.
Other reviews go into the plot much better than I can and since I prefer to focus on how the book felt: I really enjoyed this book. It had a solid dose of philosophy that was questioning of itself, a good amount of action to keep things going, an even pace, and just enough lightness of writing to make it a breeze for me to read. So it almost felt like a popcorn book (all fun but no substance) but I feel full after reading it, knowwhatimean? I will be getting the next books in the series.
A quick note on the movies - they don't quite follow the books (and all but a few elements are from this book rather than the sequels, for both movies). The stuff in the middle of them is pretty faithful but some major changes in relationships between characters, specifically Egor/Yegor, makes them stories all their own. I found them a bit hard to follow though I found it very easy in the book (probably my own quirk). It has been years since I saw the movie and the ends of both movies are so drastically different than the book that I didn't feel like they spoiled it for me. Therefore I don't think it matters which you ingest first....more
This is hard scifi done well: wrapped in a decent fiction story. What pulls the book are the two main characters that were once in love but are now diThis is hard scifi done well: wrapped in a decent fiction story. What pulls the book are the two main characters that were once in love but are now divorced. However they still work together and this is sometimes a strain. The character development is a bit of a stretch, especially when the really good stuff is dictated to you via dairy entries or self narration. You really do care very deeply about the squid (yes, squid and she is awesome) but that part fades as the book progresses and the development starts being very distant.
However, what will pull you through the book are the kids who are too smart for their own good and the science. Oh the science! The author has a degrees in all kinds of stuff, explaining the real and theoretical sections with equal detail. This is the universe and how it evolves, wrapped up with the idea of exploring space.
I do love being exposed to physics and other high science concepts though fiction (or through excited friends). I am already one who loves pictures of space, but this book led me through pictures of our universe's far past and future. In fact I recommend pictures from Hubble and other sources before reading this book just so you can have material to use for the later parts of the book....more
This book was just okay. Was this the author's first book? It read like one: good idea but the development... Not great. BUT I just read a review thatThis book was just okay. Was this the author's first book? It read like one: good idea but the development... Not great. BUT I just read a review that says it picks up quite a bit in later books so if I can get them on the cheap I'll pick them up....more
Finished this a while ago and forgot to post an update - this is what King does best: human interaction on a micro detailed scale with a supernatural/Finished this a while ago and forgot to post an update - this is what King does best: human interaction on a micro detailed scale with a supernatural/horror/alien twist....more
This ties into the Fables (comic) continuity so I had to read it (I am so addicted to that series). It is a stand alone but I am not sure anyone couldThis ties into the Fables (comic) continuity so I had to read it (I am so addicted to that series). It is a stand alone but I am not sure anyone could really get into it without already enjoying Fables. It is also placed in continuity maybe around volume 6 (it says in the book but I don't have the book with me - I loaned it out).
The writing is smooth and easy, almost too smooth actually. I would have preferred it to be a bit more complicated in the style and substance of everything. It started well, fell off in the beginning and middle, and finally got intense enough toward the end to be really fun.
I don't know for sure but I think Wellington hasn't written any other books. The book really would have been quite excellent as a comic - it is simple enough, a few bit being an exception, that the translation would be great. However, I really like authors branching out and I think that Wellington's next book will be even better.
SO I am totally addicted to Fables and any story that furthers that is good to me. The book was fun and light reading with some very twisted bits involved. I would have liked even more gruesome detail though I suppose that doesn't actually fit in with how the comics work (I am such a horror fan). I would totally read other Fables books tie ins....more