Dark and dangerous as they were, Anne Rice's coven of vampires makes me think of a family of cute, cuddly kittens. No lie. Of course, they're anything...moreDark and dangerous as they were, Anne Rice's coven of vampires makes me think of a family of cute, cuddly kittens. No lie. Of course, they're anything but cute and cuddly--especially not cuddly, maybe cute, in Armand's case. However, they were a family, and families somehow seem to act in the same manner, immortal or not.
I actually liked this book! I had been hoping to procure a copy of The Vampire Lestat before getting my hands on The Queen of the Damned, but I realize how much I actually like the tale of all the other vampires that was not Lestat. The brat prince will always be one of my personal favorites (I mean, how can I hate him after his wickedness in Interview?), but after the book, Armand and Marius were the vampires I most wanted to read about. It was a little frustrating, only getting those small glimpses of what took place in Armand's mind. That's okay, because Marius was such an enjoyable vampire to read!
The history of the vampires was fantastically vivid, and truly did span ages. What other way to display the history of their creation than to a gaggle of vampires across eras and civilizations, from Uruk to Egypt to Rome to the present age (and thensome). I was only sorry nothing about Troy was mentioned, though I suppose if anything was ever written about Khayman, there would be a story about Troy.
The Queen of the Damned was slow to start, with around 200 pages of introductions to characters; characters that the reader has met, and others that the reader should meet. Still, the snippets about Marius and Armand were decent. Khayman was also interesting, in any case. I can honestly say I was glad to have continued. It gained its momentum by the second part, when the pot was finally stirred, and the chaos brought all the vampires together.
But now I'm wondering how Marius will fare later on...(less)
Um, what the...what? Just, I'm not even sure what to say to this book. What?
I think the idea of a free Dr. Lecter should have ended way back when Cla...moreUm, what the...what? Just, I'm not even sure what to say to this book. What?
I think the idea of a free Dr. Lecter should have ended way back when Clarice Starling was much younger and more naive. The story in Hannibal was mostly tedious, and half of it was practically pointless. Furthermore, there doesn't seem to be much of a resolution, even if it was a villainous one.
I am most displeased. Another reason why I should have just stopped at The Silence of the Lambs.(less)
Suzanne Collins played the audience so well that I had to laugh at how clever the entire story unfolded. It was like molding putty and expecting to co...moreSuzanne Collins played the audience so well that I had to laugh at how clever the entire story unfolded. It was like molding putty and expecting to come out with a masterpiece at the end. And she kind of did. Well, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, even though any form of romance in my head kind of got squashed in between the camera lens and the fact that even I agree with Katniss Everdeen when it comes to procreating in such a place like Panem.
The Hunger Games was really good. Was that supposed to be a surprising revelation? I got sucked in like I would get sucked in watching any random reality television show, except this one happens to be deadly and in the form of the written word. The plot and the fascinating way the story was written were always the strongest points of the book, even before I finally read it (I do sometimes listen to people, even when I try to tune them out past the squeeing). Plus, Peeta Mellark is one hell of an amusing character. I can understand why the audience couldn't resist the sighing and the swooning over the actions during the games. Heck, if I wasn't being reminded every so often that the audience was reacting along with me, I'd have been doing the same thing.
Which is probably why I didn't do any sighing or swooning myself. That was probably the only downside (and a small one at that); that I couldn't believe in much of the romance. At least I got my cheesy, heart-wrenching lines near the end, even when I half-expected it couldn't last that long. But c'est la vie!
Yes, I will read Catching Fire. Don't rush me!(less)
I've always understood how suspense and crime novels always come out to be such big sellers for the general populace. I've succumbed to a few of them...moreI've always understood how suspense and crime novels always come out to be such big sellers for the general populace. I've succumbed to a few of them from time to time, too! (Here's looking at you, Daniel Silva!).
The Silence of the Lambs was just something else entirely. I didn't think I had much sleep on the days I read the book because I must have been disturbed or apprehensive or whathaveyou. Anyway, I am quite glad to have finished it, and am absolutely craving to watch the film version of the book. If my imagination was any indication of how the book played out, I can only wonder how the actual film can hold true!
Then again, the movie will always have Anthony Hopkins.(less)
It's interesting when you read a book again with fresh eyes. It must have been years and years that I'd read The Picture of Dorian Gray (probably when...moreIt's interesting when you read a book again with fresh eyes. It must have been years and years that I'd read The Picture of Dorian Gray (probably when I was a first or second year in high school), and when I opened the book again, half of a set of notes fell out. So I took those random page numbers and comments in mind, and I read the story again.
Of course I already knew the story and the plot (from the recent movie with a fantabulous Colin Firth as Lord Henry Wotton and from mild recollections of passages). But when I read it the first time, my notes implied the anger and overall incredulity of the text. The younger me was absolutely indignant over the drawn-out sayings that Lord Henry Wotton would spout to his friends. The older me is amused; in fact, so amused that I actually am enamored with his character. It's amazing how Dorian was easily twisted by a string of cynical words, even more so when the cynic himself is merely that: a cynic, and nothing more.
The writing style made me blush from time to time, not gonna lie. While the movie expressed all the debauchery that Oscar Wilde merely implied in the book, his description of beauty has that "oh la la", fan-yourself effect. It almost made me feel like I was reading a dime-romance on the train. Not good!
Oh gawds. Okay, I admit it. I bawled. BAWLED. Mostly because in the deep corner of my heart I'm still somewhat a Christian, and the loss of a soul has...moreOh gawds. Okay, I admit it. I bawled. BAWLED. Mostly because in the deep corner of my heart I'm still somewhat a Christian, and the loss of a soul has a much deeper effect than death. So yes. That means I bawled quite a bit, and by the end of the novel, I had already unleashed a string of savory and profane words.
I've said this over and over again to people that I'd mentioned this book to: I really liked it, surprisingly enough. When I picked it up and started reading the small teaser blurb, I thought "well, sounds interesting enough." But I honestly expected a repeat of Bella and the Jacob-Edward rivalry (the so-called ghuls are, after all, vampire-like minions with no souls).
Thankfully, I was wrong. Some bits read predictably, but others were just so well-planted that I was still reeling from one event and unable to see what would happen on the next one. Perhaps for a story like this, I was kind of put off that all the events happening went by so quickly. There was barely any room for pause! Still, at least it was fast-paced enough to keep my attention.
Still, I must say, Billi might have been the main character, but it was Arthur SanGreal that stole the show. The man was as fierce as The Morning Star, and even Satan himself was scared of the crazy man. Lawdy, heaven forbid God actually pissed him off.
Sigh. I need to find happier stories. This one might make me cry again.(less)
As far as suspense goes, I was certainly surprised. Pleasantly so, actually. I figured there'd be some tying up at the end, but did not expect the end...moreAs far as suspense goes, I was certainly surprised. Pleasantly so, actually. I figured there'd be some tying up at the end, but did not expect the end to be more dramatic than it already was. Yay for the unpredictability of it!
I enjoyed Silence of the Lambs enough, though it was mostly out of the sheer mind-playing Hannibal Lecter did with Clarice that I remembered most. Red Dragon was completely different, and there was so much invested in the killer's character. The storyline with the Red Dragon and the showcase of the "why" to his methods was brilliant. It was something complex and sick, and at times even a little endearing.
Will Graham was also a case of awesomeness. He carried the obsessiveness of Clarice, the mind that worked like a monster, and the experience of someone blessed with an immense gift--or curse. Harris had me guessing what was really happening in Graham's mind up to the minute where he actually writes what Graham's thinking. It was difficult to say whether the special agent succumbed throughout the hunt or if he stood his ground and refused Lecter getting to his head. Up until the very last minute, that is.
Fantastic story as well. I might have actually liked this even more than Silence of the Lambs. And there was less Lecter here!(less)
RUSSIAAAAA! The Romanovs and their sad fate--as well as the theorized conspiracies over possible surviving members of the family--were always a sense...moreRUSSIAAAAA! The Romanovs and their sad fate--as well as the theorized conspiracies over possible surviving members of the family--were always a sense of intrigue, much like anything else I have when it comes to certain aspects of history. I have to admit, however, that this would be the first fictional book I have read regarding the Romanovs and regarding this particular area of Russian history (sadly, I go for the more ancient, folkloric Russia, the Slavic mythologies and the like).
There's no denying that the first time I was even remotely fascinated by the Romanovs was after a viewing of the Fox film Anastasia. That was certainly a starting point, though fortunately that was not the ending point. There is much to be said about the tragic result of the monarchy after the Soviets got their hands on them. A much sadder tale when it came to the Romanovs. It was like the French cleansing of their aristocrats during their own Revolution. And a story revolving the possible survival of Nicholas II's direct line would be utterly romantic and would practically give those Soviets the ultimate middle finger.
I liked the fictional backdrop here, though the governmental process and the idea of the return of an absolute monarchy is more fantastical than I'd hoped; I suppose this is because I think the semi-presidential federalist republic that Russia holds now seems a better option than giving one man absolute power. Still, the fact that Berry simplifies the idea and puts most of Russia behind the man that would be "Tsar of All Russia" is commendable, and--for the story's purpose--highly moving.
Putting the story in the present was great. And the addition of the past in between--with the glimpse of the two Romanovs' survival--was endearing. Rasputin's prophecy and the fact that the characters depended on fate quite a bit made me smile (I mean, come on, that was as close as I was going to get to some sort of mysticism!). So yeah, I'm glad I took the time to read it.(less)
Okay, I liked the idea of Dracula. I liked the idea that the story was written through accounts of those who were clearly afraid of him. And while Dra...moreOkay, I liked the idea of Dracula. I liked the idea that the story was written through accounts of those who were clearly afraid of him. And while Dracula hardly showed up, his presence was scary enough to have made all of those encountering him tremble and "shat their pants."
I'm not sure, however, whether I liked reading the story through annotations. Sometimes the annotations helped (especially when it came to trying to decipher the accented persons), other times they didn't and mostly just interrupted my train of thought and suspension of disbelief. The comparison between the abridged and unabridged texts also made me think that I should have just read the abridged text out of the fact that at least I wouldn't have to bear with the inconsistencies and the overly-drawn out journey to capture and cleanse the world of the vampire. I think past late September in the journal accounts, I was nodding off and flipping pages, just to figure out whether they would finally kill Dracula or whether Mina Harker would finally turn into a vampire and bite people (boy did I wish that to happen!). Also, I found Van Helsing boring, annoying, contradictory and borderline incompetent. Is it sad that the one guy I found endearing was the one committed to the insane asylum (good old Renfield!)?
That said, I did like the essays at the end. Bram Stoker is to be appreciated for spanning such a popular following. He put the myth of the vampire on the map, and he certainly was one of the vanguards of the vampire movement. I can't say I liked Stoker's Dracula more than, say, Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, but I do know that he opened the doors for all the possible interpretations of what authors find to be their kind of vampires (even if they are vegetarian, sparkly ones...). Also, I do agree. Bela Lugosi is the only "real" vampire. Yes.(less)