Completing the story arc that started in the first Saga volume, the third left me rather confused. This graphic novel is filled with people receivingCompleting the story arc that started in the first Saga volume, the third left me rather confused. This graphic novel is filled with people receiving mortal wounds, yet only a few of them die. Someone got shot in the back of the head, but apparently is alive and kicking in the next chapter. The story was okay, but I felt like there were too many characters I didn't care for....more
Oh my god. This one won me over. There is this one heartbreaking scene in this manga - I'm sure other readers will know what I'm talking about - thatOh my god. This one won me over. There is this one heartbreaking scene in this manga - I'm sure other readers will know what I'm talking about - that is just so good. Absolutely fantastic panelling. I'm glad we get to see some more brother dynamics in this volume....more
When I was around the age of eight, I lived on R.L. Stine novels. Together with Darren Shan and a handful of Dutch horror writers, he was my favouriteWhen I was around the age of eight, I lived on R.L. Stine novels. Together with Darren Shan and a handful of Dutch horror writers, he was my favourite author. My library had two shelves full with his books - probably about twenty Goosebumps novels and another thirty Fear Street ones. I loved the thrills, I loved the scary parts, and I loved all of the monsters.
In Don't Stay Up Late Stine returns to Fear Street, giving us a new story of terror. Between 1997 and 2014 Stine hasn't written any new Fear Street books, and Party Games and Don't Stay Up Late are part of a relaunch of a new batch of books set in this classic scary town.
This book was so incredibly nostalgic to me. Even though the story is new, it has all of the Stine staples that I remember from my childhood. The jump scares, the dark conspiracies, the freaky hallucinations... Even though Don't Stay Up Late is written for a modern audience, it still reads like a book from the 90s. The language is archaic, even though it now has a sprinkling of modern devices to incorporate. The writing felt rather clunky to me as an adult, and I can't decide whether it has always been that way or whether it's just a problem that is unique to Don't Stay Up Late.
To be honest, Don't Stay Up Late isn't very scary any more when you're no longer a kid. On the other hand, I know that I would have devoured this book when I was ten. The language is very easy, and it's a great book for teens that are reluctant readers (or for ferocious middle grade horror lovers like I used to be). It doesn't hold much substance for an older audience, though it's still quite fun for old time's sake. ...more
The Fear Trials is a novella set before the happenings in The Murder Complex, and introduces main characWow, I had forgotten how brutal this world is.
The Fear Trials is a novella set before the happenings in The Murder Complex, and introduces main character Meadow and her life. It's kill or be killed within the perimeter, a lesson Meadow has to learn the hard way.
This novella is a great addition for people who have read and enjoyed The Murder Complex. It shows a softer Meadow, before she gets all of her edges. We also learn more about her other family members, including her mom, and how her dad tries to prepare her. I personally strongly dislike Meadow's dad, and if I had been her, I would have punched him in the face a long time ago. The Fear Trials isn't an easy read, and the setting is incredibly dark, but I enjoyed learning more about the characters. It's also a good entry point for people who would like to see whether the full-length book is something they would like to invest in. My only true criticism is that the novella didn't have a clear plot line to keep everything moving forward....more
I really like this manga. The artwork is fantastic, and the tone is the perfect combination of funny and sad. The things that happen in the FullmetalI really like this manga. The artwork is fantastic, and the tone is the perfect combination of funny and sad. The things that happen in the Fullmetal Alchemist universe are quite emotionally heavy (losing an arm and a leg to save your brother is pretty gruesome), but they have this cute slapstick humour and aww-worthy brotherly moments to prevent the books from being depressing. ...more
I very much enjoyed how the second volume of Saga fleshes out the characters some more. Alana, our leading lady, is fabulously written. I love how SagI very much enjoyed how the second volume of Saga fleshes out the characters some more. Alana, our leading lady, is fabulously written. I love how Saga is more concerned with love within a family, and devotion towards loved ones rather than the falling in romantic love most fiction focusses on. This volume is shorter than the first, and felt slightly unfinished. The plot arc wasn't as well-defined as it was in the first volume. The shock-factor is still present, but I'm probably becoming immune for it....more
Saga is a violent space opera science-fiction romp with explicit sex scenes and a whole lot of randomness. It has a high shock factor, and probably shSaga is a violent space opera science-fiction romp with explicit sex scenes and a whole lot of randomness. It has a high shock factor, and probably shouldn't be read in class or at work. Or any public place for that matter. (Really, don't do it. It will get you VERY weird looks.) Gimmicks aside, Saga is also incredibly well written, funny, poignant, and has some fantastic messages on violence and its pointlessness. It's great. The (rather adult) style reminded me of Rat Queens, which is similar, only set in a fantasy world....more
Gone Girl. The book that had everyone talking. A dark, twisted psychological thriller about a man whose wife is missing - but all signs are pointing tGone Girl. The book that had everyone talking. A dark, twisted psychological thriller about a man whose wife is missing - but all signs are pointing towards him. Yet he says he hasn't killed her. What is going on?
Something Gone Girl does really well is show how a marriage can go from fairy-tale perfect to a living hell. At first, Nick and Amy's relationship seems wonderful. But after a year or three the cracks start to show, and things go from bad to worse. In a way, Gone Girl shows a development that so many relationships have - the swan dive downward, until it seems impossible that these two people have loved each other at some point.
As a thriller, Gone Girl is an accomplished book. It is littered with hints and possibilities, and will keep you guessing until the big reveal. It breaks the thriller conventions, though, by not having the big reveal as the climax or ending of the book. You figure out what is happening a bit after halfway, and the rest of the book shows what happens after. On one hand, this gives the book an interesting twist that surprises many people. On the other hand, this means that there is little suspense left until the end of the book - it ends with a sad fizzle instead of a crescendo.
What makes reviewing this book hard for me is that I can't see the work and the author separately. My copy had an interview with the author in the back, which left a bitter taste after reading it. The two main characters, Nick and Amy, are incredibly unlikeable. They are terrible for each other, absolutely dreadful. That's fine. I don't necessarily need to like the main characters to enjoy a book. The author, however, does like them. She has also made some rather sexist comments about how Cool Girl doesn't exist (apparently women cannot be hedonists) and how most "good, beautiful things" are done by women. Because women are always the ones who decorate and make sure parties are held, etcetera. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, this complete division of "men" and "women", where women are attributed this kind of fantastic sense of home-making and mother instinct, which should be valued higher than whatever the man are doing (like fathering, maybe?). Maybe this interview doesn't reflect well on how Ms Flynn really thinks, but this didn't make me value her opinions highly.
Also, apparently Ms Flynn didn't own a pair of scissors until she was thirty. HOW DID SHE OPEN THINGS?
So, to recap. Good book. Kind of loses steam after halfway. Don't like the author's ideas. Also don't like the direction the story took at the ending. Not as dark and twisted as I was expecting. Pages turned quickly....more
Unlike most of my reviews, this review might contain spoilers towards the final revelation in The Stepford Wives. It's safe to read if you know what tUnlike most of my reviews, this review might contain spoilers towards the final revelation in The Stepford Wives. It's safe to read if you know what the story is about, or if you have ever seen one of the movie adaptations.
A few years ago I wrote an essay about the movie of The Stepford Wives (2004) and how it fit in with the Pygmalion myth. To give a quick recap - Pygmalion is a character from Greek mythology who sculpted a woman and fell in love with the statue. Aphrodite, sucker as she is for a love story, turns the statue into a woman of flesh in blood. What's most interesting about the myth is how Pygmalion has no interest in ordinary women. Only the woman he has shaped himself can he love.
Just like in the movie, the Pygmalion myth is evident in The Stepford Wives, maybe even more so. The book is more subtle than the 2004 movie, and because of that, also more uncomfortable. Even though what's happening in Stepford isn't all that scary in horror terms, it freaked me out.
The Stepford Wives is actually more like a longish novella rather than a full novel. The tension is well spread through the story, and I loved how everything when from creepy, to bad, to worse. Unfortunately, Levin never attended the writing class where pupils are taught "show, don't tell". Entire paragraphs are just summations of what the main character Joanna does; things like "she picked up the kids, made them dinner. Kate still had a cold, but hopefully tomorrow she would get better. At night, she made love to her husband, and fell asleep." I get that these passages have some meaning. They show how time passes, how Joanna is caught up in the normalcy of her life, but dear god, who wants to read these dry pieces of day to day life like that? I sure didn't.
Even though The Stepford Wives was written over forty years ago, its message hasn't lost an ounce of its strength. Highly recommended for people who would like to read about a feminist's worst nightmare....more
Although I rarely read contemporary young adult books, I tend to make exceptions for books concerning mental illness. There is something so fascinatinAlthough I rarely read contemporary young adult books, I tend to make exceptions for books concerning mental illness. There is something so fascinating about people whose minds work in a different way from a "normal" person's. Made You Up combines all of the elements I enjoy in this kind of fiction.
Alex has troubles discerning what is real. Are there trackers in her food? Are the Nazi's coming to get her? Is there really a phoenix flying over the town of Hannibal's Rest? And is the boy whom she liberated lobsters with when she was seven really standing in front of her?
Alex is the ultimate unreliable narrator. Because of her schizophrenia she cannot know what is real and what isn't. She tries to make pictures of things she's unsure about, and she checks them from time to time to see if they changed. Through the course of the book she sees some pretty weird things, and although many of them aren't real, some of them are.
What makes this book a lot more fun to me is that, although Alex is unstable, she is not a black sheep among white ones. At her new school, there are plenty of misfits of one way or another, and in a way, she blends in. It's not Alex VS the world, but a more complex situation. She finds friends, and even falls in love with a guy, Miles.
Miles is hard to like at first, and Alex doesn't like him at all. Throughout the story, however, they slowly become closer and closer to each other. Instead of using the boring cop-out of "I hated his guts but damn is he hot", Ms Zappia gave the characters more time to develop something genuine. If you're someone who needs their love interests to be perfect nice guys, you probably won't like the romance in Made You Up. Miles is flawed, just like Alex is, and although their romance is unconventional in many ways, they're a perfect fit.
Made You Up is a long book, and I think it could have been shorter. Although the added length gives you more time to get into the story and get attached to the characters, it kind of dilutes the emotional punch. Contemporaries tend to be short for a reason. The added padding of Made You Up wasn't boring in the least, but it stood in the way of the potential it had to be truly emotional.
Although it's hard for me to judge how the author treats the theme of schizophrenia (since I'm neither a sufferer or a psychologist), I love how she didn't make it a clear-cut black and white situation. Medication, the role of parents, the internal struggle of Alex, the possibility of having to go to a mental hospital... All of them are handled in a respectful and meaningful way. It keeps you guessing to the very last page what is real and what isn't. ...more