This book has a good number of things going for it. I particularly enjoyed the characterization of...more All she could do was stand there and scream.
This book has a good number of things going for it. I particularly enjoyed the characterization of Repairman Jack. There are also some Lovecraftian references that fans will recognize.
Striding down the dark passage like the avatar of a vengeful god, came Jack.
I can imagine that followers of the Agent Pendergast series (Relic), the Charlie Parker series (Every Dead Thing) or the Harry Dresden series (Storm Front) would enjoy this, especially considering that The Tomb predates all of these by more than a decade. It is the first novel in a horror / supernatural series, so don’t go into this expecting crime fiction. There will be beasties and there will be blood! blood! blood!
…there were rustling and scraping and grunting sounds coming from the darkness beyond that door.
It’s an enjoyable enough romp with some interesting twists. Some I saw coming. Some I did not. Not too much more I can say about The Tomb. It isn’t subtle and it isn’t fancy, but it gets the job done. I will certainly be reading the other books in this series.
She glanced up over the hood and froze in horror at the sight of a dark, dripping, glistening form rising out of the bay.
This is the fourth Charlie Parker book. At this stage the series isn’t showing any sign of running ou...more “You lead a charmed life, Parker, you know that?”
This is the fourth Charlie Parker book. At this stage the series isn’t showing any sign of running out of momentum or atmosphere.
Yes, the Charlie Parker novels are violent and macabre, but they’re also singularly lyrical. Connolly has a remarkable writing style.
In his eyes I could see the night shapes reflected so clearly that it was as if they were a part of him, the elements of a darker world that had somehow entered and colonized his soul.
These are mystery novels. There is a supernatural undercurrent that is becoming a little more prominent with each outing. It’s not intrusive, but there’s certainly no denying that it’s not quite as subtle, ambiguous or easy to dismiss here as it is in the first few novels. It’s still fairly open to interpretation, though, so even if the fantastical does not appeal to you, you can easily still enjoy these novels.
I was still unsure myself about the nature of the gift that I had. I did not like to think that something in me drew these lost souls to me.
Connolly definitely has a flair for this kind of thing: these novels are pretty unnerving. They are also compelling reading and saturated with ambience. The White Road kept me enthralled right to the satisfying climax.
Now I will try to retrace your steps, to understand what led you to this place, to rest at last among crushed lilies, the night insects drowning in your blood.
There really isn’t much point in starting the series here. There is a very distinctive and definitive pattern to Charlie Parker’s character development and the story progression in general. You really need to start with Every Dead Thing. The novels get darker with each installment, and it’s a truly fascinating journey…
The sorrow of it; the terrible, crushing sorrow of it.
… even if there is a fair amount of tragedy to be found between these pages. If you are a fan of horror-tinged mystery-thrillers, and not averse to a severe case of gooseflesh, you owe it to yourself to read this series!
Where are you? lost What can you see? nothing (less)
If I admitted that I probably enjoyed this more than The Shining – would that amount to sacrilege?
Good Review vs Evil Review
Good Review There isn’t m...moreIf I admitted that I probably enjoyed this more than The Shining – would that amount to sacrilege?
Good Review vs Evil Review
Good Review There isn’t much I didn’t particularly enjoy about the novel, except perhaps for one or two pacing issues. Then again, the book is only about 500 pages, which is a lot less than some of those other King books. It is incredibly creepy at times, which I found surprising, since the idea of a “haunted car” might seem a bit, well, corny. It’s everything but. In fact, the story is a curious cross between true nostalgia and horror. The musical theme prevalent throughout the novel, with references to songs about cars, was a nice touch. In keeping with the theme, King also incorporates a lot of throwaway references to American muscle cars into the story: “so and so drives a 66 Camaro” and the like. It adds a nice touch of authenticity.
The sympathetic first person narrative of Parts 1 & 3 was striking and I really felt for [name withhold due to spoiler] when things started going awry. My horror had changed to a deep and terrible sorrow… I suppose that is really what this novel is about, and Christine is just a vehicle for a bigger story about obsession and possession. Terrible pun, I know, but unintended.
Evil Review Of course the warning signs were there: the smell of decay every time I opened the book; the fact that the book kept popping up everywhere I went; and then, when my wife told me to choose between her and Christine…
I suppose it is a bit of a problem if you start rooting for the baddie in a horror novel, but the way Christine goes after those shitters varmints is righteous, man!
But seriously though, this is one cool book. It happens to be scary too…
Seventy-Seven Shadow Street was the most peaceful address in the city.
Phantoms / Midnight era Koontz: that is what this is. At long last. This...moreSeventy-Seven Shadow Street was the most peaceful address in the city.
Phantoms / Midnight era Koontz: that is what this is. At long last. This is the kind of thing that made DK huge back in the day, and it is also the kind of thing he didn’t write nearly enough of (in my humble opinion).
So it isn’t subtle. So what?
Fear is the engine that drives the human animal.
With its grotesque imagery, this is the kind of uber-weird acid-trip horror that did so well in the 80s. Make no mistake: this is one bizarre book! Koontz even manages to rationalise the madness to some degree. His habit of interspersing his horror plots with pseudo-science is often hit-or-miss. For example: I wasn’t overly fond of The Bad Place. In 77 Shadow Street, however, it seems to work a whole lot better. In fact, it works really well, because this is such a visual novel. Not a lot of beating around the bush - observe: freakishness!
Basically, it’s a story about a haunted house. The nature of the haunting, however, is extremely unconventional. The mechanics of 77 Shadow Street are so far out of the box it should change horror writing forever. However, looking at the rather low average rating on Goodreads, it seems the world isn’t ready for this kind if thing (yet)… (less)
Deep down, in the centre of the blackness, something might have shifted—a cautious, slow stirring; an ancient thing, contemplating the shine of light...moreDeep down, in the centre of the blackness, something might have shifted—a cautious, slow stirring; an ancient thing, contemplating the shine of light that touched it through the murk. Then it was still again, pondering and gathering strength.
McCammon takes some time to set up his story and his characters. This is one of the aspects I enjoy about Horror novels like these; it’s quite the immersive experience. On the other hand, I didn’t care much for the whole Renegades vs Rattlesnakes gang war thing; it felt forced and unnatural in the setting, and just a little bit cheesy. But then…
[Her] face had begun to bleach of colour, taking on a waxy, greyish cast. Her legs had started trembling, and she whispered it again: “Sting-er.” And in that whisper was the sound of utter terror.
…enter Stinger in spectacular fashion. Things go downhill fast from here, in the best possible kind of way.
The shape came out of the smoke and lurched into the candlelight that streamed from the church’s windows.
Stinger isn’t a very subtle novel. The horror that it dishes up is rather gory and unabashedly in-your-face, with some rather interesting descriptive prose to nudge things along. In broad strokes, the Stinger of the title is in fact an Alien critter that terrorises a small Texas town, much like the synopsis will lead you to expect. There is, however, a lot more than that lying just beneath the surface (no pun intended), and the plot was a little more layered than I had anticipated.
What had sounded like an army was only one creature, but the sight of such an ungodly thing speared terror through [him]. He felt as if his insides were shrivelling.
Stinger doesn’t break a lot of new ground (again, no pun intended), and you could conceivable draw comparisons with other 80s horror novels where the antagonist manifests itself in different forms, although the scientific spin McCammon introduces here does at least attempt to make some sense of what would otherwise have been a lot of metaphysical weirdness. This is where the novel differentiates itself from the pack.
The story does get pretty scary, but it’s also somewhat relentless with lots of close encounters and chase scenes that, even though it will leave you with palpitations, does slightly blunt the spook factor. I really enjoyed it though, and could have considered a five star rating, but, like I’ve already mentioned, the “gang” dynamic (rattlers vs ‘gades) wasn’t quite to my taste and I can’t help but feel that the novel would have been a better one without it.
Recommended for fans of 80s Horror and SF Horror.
He stood up, in no hurry, and walked toward her with the knife upraised and the merry shine of madness in his eyes. (less)
The last thing Billy said was, “Oh, come on…there’s nothing out there.” And then two sets of bone-white hands arched over the slat rails on the wagon a...moreThe last thing Billy said was, “Oh, come on…there’s nothing out there.” And then two sets of bone-white hands arched over the slat rails on the wagon and seized him by the shoulders and the collar and dragged him screaming into the darkness.
These, the opening lines of Ghost Road Blues, more or less set the tone for the rest of the novel. It’s a bit of a doozy, actually. Maberry juggles a number of different horror conventions here, both supernatural and natural. All of these converge on a single town: Pine Deep. Needless to say, there is a lot of bad stuff going down tonight.
Maberry appears (intentionally or otherwise) to be paying homage to quite a few writers here: The Bone Man killed the devil with a guitar. This is clearly a nod to Who Fears the Devil by Manly Wade Wellman. Also, Tow-Truck Eddie is a character that could have been nabbed from the pages of any number of Dean Koontz novels. There’s more: one of Malcolm Crow’s cats is named Koko, which could be a reference to the Peter Straub novel (Koko).
Anyway, all that aside, it really is pretty good. The pacing is flawless and the scares are real. The only real downside is the fact that, being the first in a trilogy, once the final page has come and gone the story is clearly far, far from over. I’ve already ordered the next instalment (Dead Man's Song), as this is gearing up to be a total whopper of a Horror story.
Hell’s acoming, little Scarecrow. Hell’s a-coming and we all gotta learn to play the blues. (less)
Out of the last of the twilight came Deucalion with a suitcase, in clothes too heavy for the sultry night.
Koontz does a pretty good job of extrapolati...moreOut of the last of the twilight came Deucalion with a suitcase, in clothes too heavy for the sultry night.
Koontz does a pretty good job of extrapolating the Frankenstein mythos. He doesn’t do much to alter the original history, but instead focuses on a “what if” scenario. What if Mary Shelley’s novel was an account of actual events? What if Victor and his creation were still around today? How could that have come about? What would they be doing? Etcetera. This kind of thing has a multitude of possibilities, limited only by the author’s imagination, and it’s obvious that DK had quite a bit of fun with Prodigal Son.
The story is paced very well, perhaps at the expense of deeper character development, but it’s a ripping yarn. There are some surprises, notably concerning the nature of the characters and how Koontz set his story up.
Is it somewhat absurd? Of course it is. I would expect no less. Between the Mad Scientist, the New Race, the Serial Killer and Deucalion there is bound to be a fair amount of mayhem. This is good, if you’re inclined towards Speculative Horror fiction.
I bow to no one.
Deucalion is, of course, an enigma. A curious mixture of affability and disdain, vulnerability and invincibility, he strides from the obscurity of the last two hundred years into modern day New Orleans. Of the protagonists in this novel, and there are more than one, I obviously liked him the most. Who wouldn’t? Although, to be honest, he doesn't really feature enough.
Do you believe in evil?
The novel raises a plethora of moral dilemmas. There is a philosophical argument in here somewhere; you won’t have to search too hard to find it, but you may get waylaid by the simmering violence.
All flesh is grass, and withers, and the fields of the mind, too, are burned black by death and do not grow green again.
Desperation is one of the downright scariest books I’ve read, and the scares come early....moreWhy, what a splendid book. Gosh! Tak.
”I see holes like eyes.”
Desperation is one of the downright scariest books I’ve read, and the scares come early. King manages, for the most part, to keep the tension up throughout the novel, which makes it one hell of an uneasy read. Some sequences are somewhat bizarre, and others are bluntly offensive, although this is only what you’d expect from a novel such as this: it’s not meant to be easy reading after all.
Something about this bothered [him], but for now he paid no attention. His fright had grown into a sense of foreboding so strong and yet so diffuse that he felt a little as if he’d eaten something laced with poison.
The story is definitely reminiscent of King’s earlier output and 1980s horror in general. Parallels can be drawn, not only with King’s own work, but also with novels like Floating Dragon and Phantoms. The nature of the supernatural antagonist is somewhat vague, but purposely so. Is it Demonic? Extraterrestrial? Biological?
Dolls with no little girls around to mind them were sort of creepy under any conditions, that was his opinion, at least, and to come upon one abandoned by the roadside, half-buried in blowing sand—
It’s a visual novel, and King makes very effective use of imagery. The abandoned RV with its door banging in the wind, the doll by the roadside… it’s enough to raise hackles. The desert in this novel isn’t as much majestic as it is creepy in its desolation. And always menacing.
”Tell you what, pilgrim—this smells bad.”
On the face of it, it’s typical King fare: very small town, multiple POV characters, supernatural evil, a healthy dose of Americana et al…. but Desperation does have one or two aces up its sleeve. It has some novelty value, having been released alongside The Regulators. It also has an epic and mythical sweep that can at least partly be attributed to the setting. Have I mentioned just how scary it gets?
“What’s that?” she whimpered. “Oh my God, what is it?”
There is an overt religious theme present here and King tackles themes like the nature of God (“God is cruel.” Vs “God is love.”), the nature of Divine Intervention, and Redemption etc. Just how much of this will appeal to the reader would probably depend. I can’t speak for others, but I enjoyed the book.
There is so much that happens in this novel, that any thoughts I can cram into one review will always be woefully inadequate.
Don't you sometimes think there's more to life than order? Don't you want just a little magic?
It is perhaps a good thing to read this book three decades down the line, separated from the hype that so weighed it down when it was first published. 50% Horror; 50% Dark Fantasy. 50% Straub; 50% King, and yet not anything you would have expected from either.
The quotes from Mark Twain, that open and close the story, make me think that Jack Sawyer’s surname isn’t coincidental, although I reckon The Talisman is more Huckleberry Finn than Tom Sawyer.
There was too much death, the world was half-made of death.
The novel requires a flexible mind, and is based on the assumption that other worlds exist just below the surface of the one we all live in. Normally this kind of thing would only appeal to me in a purely Science Fiction setting, what with “parallel worlds” and all that. However, the authors manage to keep things tight, and steer clear of over-indulgence. It’s a story about the fantastical, but it’s also a chilling tale of fear and the macabre. This is not Narnia.
He went down the stairs on all fours, silent as oiled smoke, eyes as red as brake lights.
As befits any good supernatural Horror story, there are some fearsome critters to be found here. Not all are inherently evil, though, and I suppose anyone who reads this will love the character of Wolf.
There was madness here, and walking death, and gibbering irrationality.
The transformation of Traveling Jack, from Jack Sawyer to Jack Sawyer, is handled masterfully. It represents one of the most palpable feats of character development I have ever read.
There were some sequences that I felt didn’t positively influence the general feel of the novel, but that is my personal opinion. Also, towards the end things get a bit messy; the final, climaxing scenes are interminably drawn out for no apparent reason. This is the only reason I’m not giving it five stars.
It’s a story that will probably resonate with me for a while, and I might have more to say on the issue, but not right here and now.
"Do you think it's haunted?" "No way, I don't believe in ghosts.”
It seems the reading world is clearly divided about this book. The common question obv...more"Do you think it's haunted?" "No way, I don't believe in ghosts.”
It seems the reading world is clearly divided about this book. The common question obviously being: is this actually true? I would like to add another question to the equation: does it actually matter?
To some extent, it does. The extent to which this novel will scare you correlates directly to (a)whether you believe the events depicted here are true and (b) your religious orientation. Personally, I’m still reserving judgement on just how “true” everything in here may or may not be. The spine classification says “non-fiction” but we’ve long since learnt not to believe everything we read. The book did create a storm of controversy, and I’d be very surprised if it hadn’t. It’s just that kind of book.
Something that did occur to me while reading this was the old adage: “Where there’s smoke…”
"I'm worried about what could happen next. Why don't you just get out of that house for a while?"
Then again: take a step back and look at the book from a different point of view. How many other similar stories have you read, which you absolutely knew was fiction, and it still scared the living daylights out of you? It needn’t be a wasted opportunity – you have an imagination, don’t you?
I will say this for the subject matter: if stories like The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby scared you, this book will too. Of that I don’t have much doubt. If the events depicted here are in fact true, this book’s creep-factor skyrockets through the roof.
”There's something in our room!"
I enjoyed the book well enough. From a literary point of view, however, the writing is very workmanlike and matter-of-factual and, frankly, just a bit bland. It adds to the feeling of realism, but a few dramatic flourishes would have made the whole thing a bit more enjoyable! And let’s be honest, there are scenes that come across as a bit hokey. Still – it’s a fairly solid three stars.
”We’re trapped. It’s not going to let us go.”
In closing. If you are one of those people who would normally skip the Foreword and Afterword of a book, it is important in the case of The Amityville Horror to actually read it, just to get some perspective. Yes, even if you think it’s hogwash. (less)
The Night’s Dawn trilogy is enormously ambitious. It’s a brobdingnagian story, to be sure, and the very fact that Ham...more Unity infected them with strength
The Night’s Dawn trilogy is enormously ambitious. It’s a brobdingnagian story, to be sure, and the very fact that Hamilton even comes close to pulling it off is very, very impressive. I still have to read the final installment, but things look right cozy from here. On the other hand, I don’t care a whole lot for the way he holds his readers hostage: was that a cliffhanger or what?
Thematically, the story does strike a few weird chords, but it’s all cool. The dead coming back to life to battle the living? On an interstellar scale? Yes please! And it isn’t quite Night of the Living Dead either; these aren’t zombies we’re talking about.
As you would expect, from the events surrounding the Reality Dysfunction, there are some heavy religious and philosophical themes present. There are also a number of rather unsavory torture scenes, which, well... if you’ve read book 1 in the trilogy (The Reality Dysfunction) you’ll have an idea what I’m on about.
The Neutronium Alchemist deals with the different factions in the Confederacy, and how they attempt to deal with the Reality Dysfunction. Expect a lot of moral grey areas and a betrayal or ten. Oh, and of course, there is a little something on the device of the title as well...
I think just waiting passively for this problem to be resolved somewhere else would be a vast mistake. For our own peace of mind, if nothing else, we have to know that the possessed can be beaten, can be made to give up what they’ve taken.
Have I mentioned that there are a few stomach churning torture scenes?
There are also some awe-inspiring sequences. Such as the Edenists preparing for war:
Not even [he] really grasped the awesome potential of an entire civilization converted to a war footing, especially one with Edenism’s technological resources. How could he? It had never happened before.
Cons – as usual
I do have mixed feelings regarding Hamilton’s use of famous, or notorious, historical figures in the novel. Some of this seemed a bit awkward, and at times rightly annoying. I also didn’t much care for the way Hamilton stretches the tension out over hundreds and hundreds of pages without any closure. There is often a tremendous sense of futility to the story, which does mar the reading experience, because you can’t help but feel that any relief that might be forthcoming may only be 1000 pages from now, or, even worse, only in the next book. Also, there are so many different events taking place parallel to each other, that it is often impossible to keep a coherent track of who’s who and what exactly is happening. In other words: the holistic picture is elusive, even though it’s still possible to follow the story in broad strokes.
It's still pretty good. Space Opera on enhancement drugs.
I think [he] saw certain acts of violence and cruelty and wondered if there were some deeds that were beyond even the potential of human beings to com...moreI think [he] saw certain acts of violence and cruelty and wondered if there were some deeds that were beyond even the potential of human beings to commit; if there were creatures both more and less than human who preyed upon us. They were the violent ones, the dark angels.
This is the third novel in the Charlie Parker thriller series. And it’s a corker. John Connolly writes beautifully and the dark subject matter appeals to me, so I was always going to like this series, but goodness gracious it’s splendid stuff.
There are people whose eyes you must avoid, whose attention you must not draw to yourself. They are strange, parasitic creatures, lost souls seeking to stretch across the abyss and make fatal contact with the warm, constant flow of humanity. They live in pain and exist only to visit that pain on others.
The books are pretty macabre and the villains are, to the extent that the story requires it, caricatures. Connolly, however, is very adept at dealing with larger-than-life characters. Case in point: Mr Pudd.
These are mystery novels, but with a breath of that something extra that differentiates them from the pack. The “supernatural” angle that Connolly introduces is purposefully vague and subtle, so readers who normally don’t enjoy this kind of thing should have no problem here. Also, the novels absolutely have to be read in sequence to experience the character development of “Bird” Parker as the author intended. Start with Every Dead Thing.
There isn’t much more to say. Much like Charlie Parker himself, these novels should not be underestimated. They’re deceptively good.
…each night, when they returned home and tried to sleep, they would wake to imagined howls and think that they were once again standing by the shores of the lake, their hands cold and their boots thick with mud, surrounded by the bones of the dead. (less)
"We may be teetering on the brink of a whole new world. Are you ready for it?"
This review is complicated for me. Dean Koontz’s Strangers is an amalgam...more"We may be teetering on the brink of a whole new world. Are you ready for it?"
This review is complicated for me. Dean Koontz’s Strangers is an amalgamation of many things: techno-thriller; psychological horror; science fiction. It’s quite unlike DK’s other 1980s novels. The book does contain some pretty creepy scenes, but the terror generated here is vested in the not knowing; the “something terrible happened to me but I don’t know what” scenario. Strangers is a longish book, at 700-or-so pages, and the great many characters lend it an epic sweep, while the story reminds more than a little of something Spielberg might have come up with. Of course, any story that revolves around a motel in the middle of nowhere is always going to appeal to me.
But is it scary? And in the morning, he virtually exploded out of sleep with a shrill scream and found himself in total, claustrophobic darkness. Something had hold of him, something cold and clammy and strange and alive.
Koontz manages to wring some very real chills from his story, but this isn’t a full-blooded Horror novel. It’s ominous and sinister at times, but it never crosses into the realm of the macabre. I’m not mentioning this as criticism, but if you’re purely looking for a Koontz Horror fix you may want to explore something like Phantoms or Midnight instead. The horror element in this novel runs out of steam once most of the mysteries are solved. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a good story that just happens to contain some chilling elements and a dash of the paranormal, then Strangers is the book for you.
I will say this, though: there is a depiction of a medical procedure that literally had me squirming.
The less you know about the premise of Strangers, the better. The novel is 90% build-up and 10% reveal, so you really don’t want to know too much beforehand. It is a (fairly cinematic) novel about obsession, the fear of the unknown and the search for answers, but it is also a novel about the value of friendship and one which brims with a sense of wonder.
“What frightens you so?" "I don't know. Something in my nightmares." (less)
The title of this graphic novel can be ever so slightly confusing (The Warlord of Mars is actually the third Barsoom novel). So, no, this isn't an ada...moreThe title of this graphic novel can be ever so slightly confusing (The Warlord of Mars is actually the third Barsoom novel). So, no, this isn't an adaptation of the third John Carter novel. This particular book is actually an adaptation of A Princess of Mars, which is, of course, the right place to start.
Now, this is a graphic novel, and it is based on an early example of pulp fiction. It is also, for the most part, somewhat true to the original text. It's important to bear this in mind, because, yes, the female protagonist walks around naked (for all practical purposes) and she is somewhat dependent on being rescued by the muscle bound male protagonist at regular intervals. Really, if you've been paying attention you should know how these things used to work. All in all, it's actually pretty good fun. It's also super violent and gory, so I wouldn't recommend giving this to your six year old for Christmas.
And doesn't the Joe Jusko cover art remind of the glory days of Frank Frazetta? Now, if only the rest of the book was illustrated in the same retro fashion this would have been a true prize.
This is my second attempt at trying to review The Fires of Heaven. I've got some pretty mixed feelings about the book. First of all, th...moreTricksy review!
This is my second attempt at trying to review The Fires of Heaven. I've got some pretty mixed feelings about the book. First of all, this is obviously a massive story, and most of what happens here underlines that fact. However, something that detracted from the epic sweep of the proceedings is the way the women are portrayed. For one thing, grown women going around strapping other grown women on the backside? Considering that about half, if not more, of this tome is dedicated to the female characters, there is a lot of that kind of thing going on. Also, most of them are barely indistinguishable from one another (a fact that some other reviewers already mention here). There is a lot of hissing and scratching and generally childish behaviour to be found here, and it eventually annoyed me. These books are pretty long already, but having your patience strained on so many different levels seems unfair.
On the other hand, despite the marked absence of Perrin, the bits with Rand and Mat were really good. I'm hitting the long middle of the series now, but I am still invested enough to continue. I am curious to see how things are going to play out, with so many different pieces on the board. Events toward the end of the novel moved the plot along nicely, even though they created a whole new bag of loose ends.
In the end, I liked it well enough, but cannot in good conscience give it more than three stars.
My review of The Dragonbone Chair did not do the novel justice. It was written in haste, a few quickly typed lines before I launched into The Stone of...moreMy review of The Dragonbone Chair did not do the novel justice. It was written in haste, a few quickly typed lines before I launched into The Stone of Farewell. See, The Dragonbone Chair ended on such a note that I just did.not.have.the.time to think about a decent review. I simply had to know what happened next.
The first novel went to great pains to establish the world, so there wasn’t such a lot of exposition required for The Stone of Farewell. This freed the author up to do what he apparently does best: write awesome, and remarkably cinematic, fantasy. There is an epic sweep to Memory, Sorrow and Thorn that does both Tolkien and David Lean proud. George R.R. Martin is on record saying that this series inspired him to write A Song of Ice and Fire.
Simon is a great reluctant-hero type. He is often resentful and bitter as he is swept along in the story. He rarely comprehends the significance of events and he never volunteers, but is unable to remove himself from the forefront of the stage. He often alternates between self pity and self loathing, which makes him pretty believable given the circumstances. And yet, ever so slowly, the reader starts perceiving the subtle changes, because among all the other things this novel aspires to, it is also a bildungsroman. As for Binabik the troll: he has to be read to be believed. There is some truth to the “dynamite in small packages” saying. The Miriamele/Aspitis sequence frustrated me to the point of orthostatic hypotension, but I have a niggling feeling that this was exactly the author’s intention. I could go on and on: the characters in here are as real as it gets in genre fiction, and there are many of them.
At times touching, at times amusing, but always rousingly epic - this is the series to read if you’re into high fantasy. I don’t have the next book close at hand (it is still in the mail), which is a pity, since this one also ends on such a fever pitch that I would have loved to launch straight into To Green Angel Tower, Part 1, without losing momentum. Alas.
Note: Jumping into a river to attack a crocodile is probably the second stupidest thing you can do (I’m reserving judgement about the first). It didn’t affect my rating, but you might want to bear it in mind. (less)
As unpredictable and dynamic as Lamentation was, things get even more twisty here. Scholes takes his POV characters into unexpected directions and it...moreAs unpredictable and dynamic as Lamentation was, things get even more twisty here. Scholes takes his POV characters into unexpected directions and it becomes clear that the repercussions of the Desolation of Windwir are much greater than the first novel hinted at. New threats emerge. Or are they really new? How much of it ties into the Windwir incident? It's also very clear that nothing is quite what it seems. Scholes reveals more of his world here, and what we get to see is tantalizing. I'm still of the opinion that this is a story that tells itself; It's remarkably paced. Maybe there are some themes present that have been attempted before, but this is still a fascinating story with a unique voice that deserves to be given a chance by readers of fantasy fiction. I doubt you've ever read anything quite like this. It seems to me that Mr Scholes is set on taking this story to great heights.
There is also a lot of mysticism running through the story and I'm curious to see how it is going to be handled further on. It will be interesting to see how the prophecies relating to some key figures pan out. There are a few threads left hanging at the end, which is understandable, and it does set the story up very nicely for book 3 (Antiphon)
I doubt whether this will make a whole lot of sense to anybody who hasn't read the original novel. I found it helpful as a reminder of the key plot ev...moreI doubt whether this will make a whole lot of sense to anybody who hasn't read the original novel. I found it helpful as a reminder of the key plot events that moved the story forward, but there is none of the underlying cast turmoil that added some spice to the Chronicles. The art is fairly well done, if a slight bit inconsistent, and Krynn does look a lot like I imagined here.
The problem is: there's a lot that happens here, and it is true to the novel, but not a lot of effort has gone into telling the reader whythis or that is important, so it doesn't set up the sequels very nicely. Also, why does Sturm not want to get out of the road when danger approaches? Since there is no elaboration whatsoever on the Solamnic knights here, readers are left groping in the darkness. What is the story with Tanis, and why is he such a bastard with Laurana? Again, this is developed much better in the original work. The list goes on. Even given the inevitable shortcomings of a graphic work, some effort to address these important issues would not have gone amiss.
Now, I'm giving it three stars, because I did enjoy it as a visual companion to Dragons of Autumn Twilight but I would only recommend it to readers who have read the original Dragonlance Chronicles.(less)