Dracula was nothing like I had expected. This is one of those stories that has been retold so many times by so many people, the original gets more andDracula was nothing like I had expected. This is one of those stories that has been retold so many times by so many people, the original gets more and more lost. In contemporary vamp fiction we see the vampires being the good guys. They save innocent humans, fall in love with them and care for them. And some of them even sparkle.
But nothing like that in the original Dracula by Bram Stoker. Vampires are monsters, downright evil, the devil on earth. They have no redeeming quality, they are horrible and sadistic, only on this planet to spread their doom.
Dracula was refreshingly different. It feels good to have a big evil vamp again, and not the sexy vamp fluff we have nowadays. And the way Stoker describes him, you really believe there is nothing good left in the Count.
We start reading Jonathan Harkers diary. I truly love that Stoker choose for this form. The diary feels like you are reading someone's intimate thoughts, like you are peeking into someone's life. And in this book the diary actually makes sense. It has a purpose, and it is logical that this diary is still being kept in the most pressing situations. And it doesn't take away the action. The story is off course not so fast paced and action-packed as a lot of novels are now, but it isn't boring at all, the story unfolds like the tide; slowly, but you cannot stop it.
Because we read this story from so many points of view, we get to see a much larger picture than if we would only read the diary of lets say, Mina. We can get to conclusions and see connections between the stories before the characters do. I think this made the story quite enjoyable.
I really felt for the characters, they seemed so real. Their despair and fear is so heartfelt and at some point of the story when (trying really hard not to spoil) something bad happened to one of the characters I almost felt like crying with them.
There were only two things that really bothered me. The first: Stoker has never been to Holland, and he should not write about a Dutchman if he apparently has never seen one ever. Most Dutch people would rather be found dead than to be heard saying "Mein Gott". That is German. We speak Dutch, not German. Van Helsing should be such an academical and smart man, why can't he learn the simplest English grammar? This was the one and only time I did not believe Stoker. Evil creature that wants to take over London, sure. But a professor that has knowledge of so many languages, doesn't understand that after "he" or "she" the verb gets an S? That just seemed so wrong to me.
The other thing that bothered me is just fundamental. The women in this book are being looked upon as so much different from men. A quote to illustrate this: "I am truly thankful that she is to be left out of our future work, and even of our deliberations. It is too great a strain for a woman to bear". They do not think about women as lesser human beings, at another point in the book they are praised for their compassion that men do not have, but it just irks me they leave the women out of something as important as this. Why should all women be so faint at heart? This kind of book makes me think about how glad we have to be that there is so much more equality between men and women. Stoker is never condescending about it, and I give him credit for that. He did not live in such an woman-friendly age.
I think this book is legitimately called a classic. It isn't the first story about vampires, and it definitely isn't the last, but it is such an inspiration and such a captivating story. The ending was satisfying, tying all the strings together. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to know where all this vampirestuff comes from....more
Emma is the first novel by Jane Austen I have read (I guess P&P&Zombies doesn´t really count as a Jane Ausen novel), and I have to say that I´Emma is the first novel by Jane Austen I have read (I guess P&P&Zombies doesn´t really count as a Jane Ausen novel), and I have to say that I´m pleasantly surprised. Nothing of real importance happens and there is no action what so ever, but Austen raises this nothingness to an art.
I have read many reviews of people who just couldn´t stand Emma Woodhouse. I completely disagree. She feels like an ignorant younger sister, who makes wrong decisions but does this so innocently that you still have to love her. I adore her faults, because it makes the story so believable and so... human.
Also, I adored Miss Bates´ monologues. Those were just brilliant....more
I'm so on the fence about Wuthering Heights. On one hand I loved the writing and the story, but on the other hand the story moved so slowly that I reaI'm so on the fence about Wuthering Heights. On one hand I loved the writing and the story, but on the other hand the story moved so slowly that I read it over a span of half a year. There was nothing that gripped me or made me continue, it's only because I've got such an expensive edition that I felt like I had to finish it.
The narrative technique in Wuthering Heights is interesting. In present day we have a conversation between the new inhabitant of the house and the housekeeper. The housekeeper tells the history of the house and the families that have occupied it. Near the end the story returns to the present day, which wraps up all story lines.
I hate Heathcliff. He didn't have a great childhood, but that didn't account at all for the cruel and terrible person he grew up to be. Some things he did were inexcusable to me, and I'm having a hard time to imagine how people can find him attractive. He's not a tortured hero, he's a villain with no redeeming qualities. Loving someone is not a redeeming quality. Just because a serial killer spoils his dog doesn't make him a good person - neither does Heathcliff's obsession with Cathy excuse anything he did.
For me Wuthering Heights is not a story of love, but a story of destruction. It's the tale of how two families become bonded in jealousy and hate, and destroy each other from the inside out. That being said, I loved how it ended on a positive note. After so much tragedy I could use some positivity. ...more
Even though it took me ages for me to finish this book (fifty-one days, Goodreads tells me), I loved it from beginning to end. I didn't really like InEven though it took me ages for me to finish this book (fifty-one days, Goodreads tells me), I loved it from beginning to end. I didn't really like Interview with the Vampire, the first part of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, but this was so, so much better. Interview lacked speed, a certain captivating quality, and the main reason for that was probably main character Louis. I thought Louis was way to whiny for a vampire. But in this book we have Lestat, the most vampiry-vampire I have seen in literature.
There is just something about Lestat that is so intriguing. He’s thoughts and feelings are completely different from human ones. In a lot of fiction books vampires are a kind of enhanced human beings, and I think it was very clever of Anne Rice to stay clear of that. She created a whole new race, that is foreign to us, but by explaining where every thought comes from, she makes them believable, and even relatable.
What I also loved about this story is it’s complexity. There are so many layers, all kinds of philosophies, that all collide and became this tale. To truly understand the motives behind the vampires’ actions, one has to really study every little piece of information, and give it the attention it deserves.
That’s probably why it took me so damn long to finally finish this book. I read many passages aloud because they were so beautifully written. For me, the intricate sentences Rice has created came to life in a way that felt like poetry. Maybe there is too much descriptiveness for some readers, but I think this story didn’t deserve any less.
The characters and the writing really made this story for me. There is not a lot of tension or excitement. This is kind of Lestat’s memoir. Therefore, we all know he will survive everything that comes across his path, but still, it is fascinating to see what is going on in his head, after we have seen only the outside in Interview with the Vampire. And especially how misunderstood he was. How Louis’ own prejudices have clouded his vision. This made me love Lestat even more, even by his own blood he is misunderstood and even hated.
And finally a vampire that actually kills people. The current trend is that all “good” vampires must live on animal blood, and resist the temptation of human blood completely. In my humble opinion, vampires should be monsters, true creatures of the night, and what believable creature of the night only nibbles on little rat necks from time to time?
Lestat has the perfect balance between good-hearted qualities and some wickedness, to keep it interesting. Slowly but steadily he grew to be one of my favourite characters of all time. Just like he is in love with humans, I have fallen in love with the vampires. The next part of the series, Queen of the Damned, is impatient for me to read it....more
The Magician's Nephew is the prequel to the famous Narnia Chronicles. It has been written in 1955, five years after the best known book in the series,The Magician's Nephew is the prequel to the famous Narnia Chronicles. It has been written in 1955, five years after the best known book in the series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It's actually the first Narnia book I have read because I decided to read the books in chronological order.
The story begins in London around 1900. Two children, Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer, meet while playing in the adjacent gardens of a row of terraced houses. They decide to explore an attic connecting the houses, but take the wrong door and surprise Digory's Uncle Andrew in his study.
The evil Uncle Andrew then sends Polly to a different world, and forces Digory to go after her. This is the beginning of a series of adventures caused by Magic.
I kind of thought this book to be quite slow for a children's book. Maybe it's because I had the wrong idea when I started reading, but I wouldn't read this book first. It is more about explaining where the Witch comes from and how Narnia took shape than that it's an enjoyable stand alone story. It takes way too long before we finally arrive in Narnia, and when we do, we see more of the environment (which is quite okay) than of the inhabitants (which are way more interesting). This book did have some brilliant moments (like planting the Uncle.. I actually giggled at that part), and I didn't found the Christian references troublesome at all. They gave the story a nice classic mythological touch that I liked. And of course, in the end, everything works out. (Except for the Witch problem, we still need her in the next book).
It has potential, and I hope The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe proves to be the real classic it is labelled as....more
This is the dark and horrible story of Victor Frankenstein, who gave birth to the frightening, hideous, infamous monster.
I read the abridged and simplThis is the dark and horrible story of Victor Frankenstein, who gave birth to the frightening, hideous, infamous monster.
I read the abridged and simplified version when I was young, and well, I though it was pretty boring. Now I read the original unabridged version I can only begin understanding how brilliant this story really is.
Sceptic as I am, every time I heard people raving about how the genius 18 years-old Mary Shelley wrote this astonishing tale, I thought that this was just overrated following-the-crowd crap. But I got to admit; good old Mary captures human nature just perfectly.
We see the ambitious Victor Frankenstein grow up, see how he passes time with his caring family, we see his drive, how he developed his affection for his studies. Life is still fun and it holds great promise for the future; but we all know there are terrible things about to happen, and Shelley won't let us forget that.
I really liked we didn't get to see exactly how the monster was formed, and that she actually has found a good reason to not tell us. It isn't just a simple writing trick, it fits perfectly in the story and suits Victor as character.
The further we advance in the obscure world of misery, it becomes clear that Shelley will not spare our heroes. She does about everything to torture them. The monster wants revenge on his creator, and in doing this, he hurts himself beyond what is reasonable.
Frankenstein is not a strong character, he is actually quite weak. But that is his charm, and that's what, in my opinion, makes this story so disturbing. Because Victor is so stunningly normal, it feels close to home. He is not some kind of super hero with super humanly powers and traits; he has many faults, some even unforgivable, but a good heart. You just can't help to feel for him, as he descends in his own personal hell. His love for Elizabeth and Clerval and his father is genuine and heart-warming, and his misery is portrayed perfectly. It doesn't feel like self-pity at all. I really started to get a soft spot for the poor man. No human being should endure such a hardship.
A few things that struck me while reading: - Mary really likes the word "wretch". No, she absolutely adores it. It is mentioned on almost every other page of this book; and what I found quite interesting is that both Frankenstein and the monster consider themselves wretches, and both consider themselves as the most miserable. - Was it normal for men to cry back then? Tears start flowing everytime someone is done injustice. I wonder if it's just because the writer was a woman, and that she has a certain idea about how men should be, or that it was generally accepted then for men to weep, and let their tears run freely without shame. - The undying admiration for nature. It's like their TV. They don't get tired of watching it and studying it closely. It makes me want to see the world through their eyes.
Yes, I will have to admit it. Mary Shelley did write a classic tale about humanity and what will happen if we lose ourselves in science. The only thing I wonder about is if she really knew the complexity of what she wrote. Did she really understand what her little horror story would mean for us in this time? Anyway, a must read. ...more
In one word: amazing. Rebel Angels had everything I missed in A Great and Terrible Beauty. The love is bitter-sweet, the realms magical, the action thIn one word: amazing. Rebel Angels had everything I missed in A Great and Terrible Beauty. The love is bitter-sweet, the realms magical, the action thrilling and the friendship genuine.
The writing also improved greatly since the last book, and unlike in GBT I actually understood what was happening without having to read back. The mystery was maybe a little predictable, but still very well done.
I admire Libba Bray for taking risks and not stay inside the safe-zone. She actually dares to talk about sexual abuse and neglect and self-mutilation in a young-adult novel, without describing it too shocking or explicit.
I also think she has done some good research on the age she is writing about. The balls and visits feel like Austen, only written in a modern way.
Haunting book. Absolutely loved it. Give me more Kartik!...more
This book was horrible. It was amazing. I almost cried when it was over. I wanted to throw it across the room and scream to it. I wanted to hold it inThis book was horrible. It was amazing. I almost cried when it was over. I wanted to throw it across the room and scream to it. I wanted to hold it in my arms and never let it go again.
I can't write a coherent review about The Sweet Far Thing. The title is perfect for this book. It's such a bitter-sweet story, with the perfect open ending. It lacked the pace Rebel Angels had, but to make up for that, TSFT had a building sense of impending doom.
The first half of the book was quite a bore, nothing much happens, but then again, that was how life was in that time. There was nothing to do for ladies, except for sitting around, have some tea, and gossip. Attend some dances and get married with good fortune. You were not supposed to have an opinion of some sort, and your whole life was planned for you before you were even ten. Libba Bray shows this helplessness perfectly, and what happens if you just do not fit in this society. It makes me once again glad to live in this period of time, where it's okay to be different, and where it is considered normal for a girl to have a voice in her own life.
The realms were beautiful. I loved the growing darkness, the sense that everything they've worked for is falling apart, that Gemma is growing mad, the line between nightmare and reality thinning...
Gemma makes horrible choices. But then again, can we blame her? What would you do if so many people (and other creatures) depend on you, while you have absolutely no idea what you are up against. She is absolutely lost in all her responsibilities, without anyone to help her. Of course, Felicity and Ann, her closest friends are still there, but even there are some problems. 'Cause well, they just can't understand how great a burden it is for having all the magic of the realms bound inside of you. The sense of being misunderstood and being all alone is very strong in this book. Most of the time Gemma is brooding over what she is supposed to do. And I think this is portrayed very realistic. If I was in her shoes, I would have collapsed under the pressure a long time ago.
This is a beautiful story about strong girls. And in the same time I have no idea if I even liked it. One thing I can certainly say: this was one hell of a read....more
Sue Trinder, an orphan raised in 'den of thieves' by her adoptive mother, Mrs. Sucksby, is sent to help Richard 'Gentleman' Rivers seduce a wealthy heSue Trinder, an orphan raised in 'den of thieves' by her adoptive mother, Mrs. Sucksby, is sent to help Richard 'Gentleman' Rivers seduce a wealthy heiress. Posing as a maid, Sue is to gain the trust of the lady, Maud Lilly, and eventually persuade her to elope with Gentleman.
This book was not at all what I expected. It was more dark and depressing. It kind of fits the time, but I think it was a little bit too dark for this kind of story. The main characters don't even see each other for the biggest part of the time. The asylum is portrayed very accurate and London really feels like London how it has once been.
Ah, the lesbian romance, the thing we were all waiting for... Well, it's pretty non existent. Okay, it's there, but how can we be satisfied with just one kiss and a very tiny love scene? I wanted a little bit more. It feels like the romance was in complete disproportion with the heavy weight of depressing stuff in the book. We need some light, Sarah!
The ending was all right. Not even a little kiss? Shame on you. If it had been a guy/girl thing they would have kissed! Don't be such a prude. Especially since Maud knows exactly what to do. *giggles*
Five stars for the setting, Four for the plot twist and two for the story itself. Overall I think four stars is quite generous for this book....more
Listened to this as a free audio book on LibriVox.
Don't have much to say about this that hasn't been said over a million times before. It's a sad storListened to this as a free audio book on LibriVox.
Don't have much to say about this that hasn't been said over a million times before. It's a sad story. Very tragic. Not really romantic. Makes the world look like a dark place that hates everyone. Oh woeful me, me miserable wrench! Exit...more
The Wanderer has something that other books only pretend to offer. It has a perfect balance--between characters that feel like real people, action andThe Wanderer has something that other books only pretend to offer. It has a perfect balance--between characters that feel like real people, action and suspense, romance and last but not least, sex. It is one of the best books in this genre I have ever read.
Jude is a doctor in a small town, Sylvan, somewhere in Western USA, after the Civil War. He has a little clinic where he takes care of his patients and the occasional ill farm animal. Then, one day, a stranger comes into town. Gabriel, a gunslinger, is hurt, and seeking medical attention. But there is something growing deeper between him and Jude than a mere patient-doctor relationship. This sets into motion a series of events that turn the whole town upside down.
There are a lot of books out there that use a time period as a mere stage for their characters to act on. Ms Irving, however, embraces this certain time, and creates a historic feel, that amplify the small town atmosphere. You really believe the characters actually lived then, and that they're not just planted there for convenience. Much thought has been put into the setting, which gives the story a certain credibility.
The thing that most touched me was the strength of Jan Irving’s characters. At first, I tried to label them, put them in a box, so I could place them. But I just could not make sense of them. They were not stereotypical. There was no box that would fit Doctor Jude, or the little blind boy Mouse. And I think this is one of the best parts of this book. The characters are special, they have a personality, they are individuals. You feel their pain, their happiness, their despair.
This story has so many layers. Growth, finally accepting of what you are is an important one. All main characters develop in some way or another. The one I thought was most touching was the change in Jude. He undergoes a complete transformation. He starts off as a lonely, introvert person. He lives on his own, writing poetry about love. Then, when love finally comes to him in the shape of the incredibly hot Gabriel, it takes time for him to cope with his shame, his resentment for what he really is. We learn with him, we see him coming to terms with the part of him that he has hidden not only from the world, but also himself. I thought this was beautifully, subtly done.
His relationship with Gabriel was interesting. It develops slowly, and sometimes you doubt if this is even going to work, but in the end you just know they are right for each other. There is some domination love play in this book, but I thought it was quite sweet. I liked how they acted like they were somewhere else, being somewhere else. Everything you could want from sex scenes are here. They were hot, steamy and variable. In some books you feel like you are reading the same scene over and over again, with just a slightly different setting. This was not at all the case with The Wanderer. Every scene is exciting in its own, unique way.
I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for an erotic romance with a well thought-out story. It’s fast-paced, very nicely written with clear descriptions, and is just a great book overall. Its bitter-sweet ending was absolutely perfect. You will not be disappointed.