“Oh great, another god damn witch book,” is exactly what I thought when I opened the first page of HEX, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. I don’t know about you“Oh great, another god damn witch book,” is exactly what I thought when I opened the first page of HEX, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. I don’t know about you but I am pretty burnt out on witches and chicks walking around in oversized felt hats trying to read my aura and crap because they saw that season of American Horror Story.
But just give me a second. This novel successfully manages to pull off a tongue-in-cheek, pop culture laden, fun style with a genuine doomed sense of utter dread and hopelessness. Once I saw how it was written, with it’s quirky references to social media and GoPros I was like “Oh boy I get it you understand young people,” but then I killed a few chapters I couldn’t sleep that night. I keep seeing the witch in dark corners in my apartment and when I close my eyes I picture her sewn up eyes and mouth trying to whisper curses at me.
Heuvelt juxtaposes the modern style writing with the haunting, spooky historical background of the Black Rock Witch. It was her story, the story of Katherine Van Wyler’s struggle in colonial, witch-hunt-maddened, New England that kept me up at night. I think most times the scariest part of horror stories is what situation was the catalyst that caused supernatural antagonist to be so dangerous. That’s the part that haunts me about The Ring movie. Is the well. And how scared she must have been.
Originally written as a Dutch horror story the author custom wrote a new ending to fit with the North American witch hunt. Using colonial history as a backdrop for the modern day story the reader is taken in and out of comfort zones in their own backyard. For many people it's easy to relate to this conservative, small town where there's a terrible secret. It goes from humor to fear to humor to fear to humor to only being able to read it in the daylight because your boyfriend is sick of you having nightmares after reading at night and of you kicking him in the nuts while you sleep during said nightmares. I started only reading it at work in the safety of the fluorescent lights.
The ending is intense. I love it. Please read this book, you probably won’t be disappointed. After completing it I spent a few nights really thinking about familial love, parental sacrifices, mob mentality and how the internet has really changed everything, even horror stories. Although I know the technology in horror is really becoming a trope I'm still impressed with the creativity. I’m sorry but the way (this is not a spoiler it’s in the first chapter) they track the witch via smartphone is amazing and makes total sense to a millennial.
Fun. Scary. Heart wrenching. What more could you want from a spooky book? ...more
I thought this was generally unhelpful with a few good chapters. I feel like she could have used some more graphics to explain some things in the DigiI thought this was generally unhelpful with a few good chapters. I feel like she could have used some more graphics to explain some things in the Digital Storytelling chapter, which is kind of interesting considering the intent of the book is to keep content accessible and understandable across all platforms. A lot of the book is repetitive and overwritten, with grand anecdotal introductions that ended up distracting or confusing me. I did, however, find the chapter on Feature Or Enterprise News Stories VERY helpful and informative. ...more
I bought this thinking it was novella and I was really disappointed to find it was a short story, which are just not my style. It is like a miniatureI bought this thinking it was novella and I was really disappointed to find it was a short story, which are just not my style. It is like a miniature version of all the aspects of his other books but put in one. Many allusions to some of his other characters are in here such as the Sheep Man and the transluscent girl. I was really interested to learn more about the Sheep Man, I have only read Dance Dance Dance so far in that trilogy and though I hate reading his dialogue he is by far fascinating. I would recommend this to someone looking for a short, creepy read but if you can borrow it from a friend instead of buying it I would also recommend that. ...more
I mean it was okay. Beautiful illustrations no doubt, but some if the background information seemed unnecessary and dull. However, some of it was veryI mean it was okay. Beautiful illustrations no doubt, but some if the background information seemed unnecessary and dull. However, some of it was very captivating! I'm glad I read this book, I'm happy to have it for reference but I will certainly never re-read it cover to cover. But if you love the series, or i guess even the tv show, you will enjoy at least some parts of this if not all. ...more
A book that captivates the loneliness and helplessness of childhood, The Ocean At the End of the Lane is a short taste of the Neil Gaiman we all know,A book that captivates the loneliness and helplessness of childhood, The Ocean At the End of the Lane is a short taste of the Neil Gaiman we all know, love and secretly envy. Gaiman began it initially as a novella for his wife, singer “Amanda Fucking Palmer” of the Dresden Dolls, who isn’t crazy about fantasy in the first place, and it evolved into a short novel. The book is based around an unnamed narrator who returns to his hometown and suddenly begins to remember a traumatic, supernatural childhood incident that happened to him as a 7 year old. The story, in typical Gaiman fashion, involves a hidden fantastical dimension inaccessible to most of mankind and a single person special enough to somehow gain access to that place. The story itself unravels kind of slowly in a peaceful, tense and mourning fashion. The rural setting is just as lonely as the seven year old boy is, running from unfamiliar malicious supernatural beings. This is the part of the novel that will stay with me, the reminder of how helpless and lonely childhood could be and that to someone that age the fantastical is much more real and dangerous than the far away and cloudy, but comforting, adult world. Many descriptive moments in the novel made me very uncomfortable because they were so specifically gross, particularly one part where the protagonist removes a living being from inside of his body with stainless steel tweezers. The way Gaiman describes a lot of scenes are very vivid and haunting, and I still cringe thinking about them days later, goose bumps on my arms. At 181 pages the main issue I had with the book is the lack of explanation of whatever mystical dimension is involved in this particular Gaiman plot, the reader does not get a lot of detail and I felt a yearning to know more and to understand more about what the danger truly was. However, it is fascinating that Gaiman has revisited the Hempstick family, many of its members appear in his other works. Daisy Hempstock is a character in Stardust and Liza Hempstock in The Graveyard Book. In The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Lettie Hempstock, of unclear relation to those two, protects the unnamed narrator from the trouble they both released onto the human world. One of the most touching moment of the story is when the narrator chooses to remember something unpleasant rather than have the memory removed. “I want to remember…because it happened to me. And I’m still me,” reasons the seven year old in a moving moment of maturity and clarity. Memory is a large focus of the novel, with the adult narrator in shock of how he could have possibly forgotten the most exciting memories of his life. It is that idea that will bring you back to mourning your childhood, and wondering what forgotten adventures you yourself have lost.
This book was so depressing I'm thinking about killing myself tonight. But even that thought is depressing because no one would even remember me. Oh mThis book was so depressing I'm thinking about killing myself tonight. But even that thought is depressing because no one would even remember me. Oh my god. Someone help, this book is so heavy and intense and not fair but also beautiful and tragic.
An easy read for certain, and tedious at the right times on purpose. ...more
Take the typical multi-dimensional, sci-fi/fantasy Murakami novel with dueling intertwined characters and pin it against the backdrop of Aynn Rand's "Take the typical multi-dimensional, sci-fi/fantasy Murakami novel with dueling intertwined characters and pin it against the backdrop of Aynn Rand's "Anthem" and you have this novel. At time slow, and overwrought with unnecessary pseudo-scientific detail, the main plot of this story keeps the reader engaged for just long enough to hang on and finish.
As per usual Murakami divides the narrative between two characters, this time unnamed. In fact, all of the characters in this novel remain unnamed, another reminder of Rand's "Anthem." The one story, the fantasy dimension, has a much more compelling mystery and edge to it than the :real world" one, which sometimes comes off dry. Although the overall theme of ego and self-identity kept me interested long enough in this book to finish it, had it not reminded me so much of Rand's novella I probably would not have finished it.
While I'm at it, what is with these female characters? Both were so symbolic I felt as though they were paper thin. And when I say both I'm assuming that one of the three female characters shares a multi-dimensional identity. I know he had to do that to emphasize how people can remain incomplete with the ego or id or whatever that term is, but it didn't engaged me in caring about them, and more so offended me with their roles as "Woman in Plot #1." He is usually more thorough with development than he was in this novel.
The ending though was kind of surprising for how I'm used to him ending his books. I would tell someone to read this if they knew what they were getting into but I wouldn't ever recommend this to someone who wanted a fine example of this guy's writing. ...more
Terrible. Unimaginative. Trite. Lame. The story was cluttered and grating at time. The protagonist is the only redeeming feature but even she gets tirTerrible. Unimaginative. Trite. Lame. The story was cluttered and grating at time. The protagonist is the only redeeming feature but even she gets tiring. I really wanted to like this book but everything was so...obviousz...more
As typical of Allende's writing, Island Beneath The Sea is heavy, sensual, emotional and violent. The protagonist is a woamn reacting to the harsh sitAs typical of Allende's writing, Island Beneath The Sea is heavy, sensual, emotional and violent. The protagonist is a woamn reacting to the harsh situation of slavery, set in the boiling weather of the Haitian Revoltuion and later on French controlled New Orleans. One of my favrotie aspects of Allende's writing is how she seamlessly inputs magic and myth into the lives of her characters, when she writes that a Guinea loa is possessing someone, she dosn't mean figurativley, she means literally, and no one in the culture seems to consider it anything out of the ordinary, magic is simply a part of life.
A great historical fiction novel of the Haiitian revolution, she manages to combine famous figures and important events from both thr New World and the Europe to create this immersive backdrop for her soap opera of characters, all intertwining throughoutb the novel, over continents and through space and time. An odd touch is how she handles the topic of incest, however the way it's written really comments on the hyposcrisy of the complicated racial class structure of colonial French culture, and also American culture to an extent.
One possible complaint I have is that this novel shares too much similarities with other Allende stories. A strong, serious woman, torn from her destined lover by a hispanic war with magic scattered thorughout the story and many detailed, but well written and emotional, intimate scene.
I'm hoping that the more I read of her stuff I will find some examples where she breaks from this specific mode, but to be honest this lady's work has definitely caught my intrest....more
Short. Dry. But always exciting and persuading your sense of "what's next" this novel that became several Hollywood and radio success stories is not aShort. Dry. But always exciting and persuading your sense of "what's next" this novel that became several Hollywood and radio success stories is not as involved as you would think. A great deal if story has been extended by film makers to expand this general and short story to fit their time slots....more
Always a pleasure to read a Mr. Snicket book, even if I'm an adult now. Though this one was at times a little slow, I'm overjoyed to learn a little biAlways a pleasure to read a Mr. Snicket book, even if I'm an adult now. Though this one was at times a little slow, I'm overjoyed to learn a little bit more about the VFD system and the mystery of Mr. Snicket....more
If I had to chose one word to describe "City of Light" I would use "dissapointing." As someone who lives in Buffalo, NY I've heard quite a bit of fussIf I had to chose one word to describe "City of Light" I would use "dissapointing." As someone who lives in Buffalo, NY I've heard quite a bit of fuss amde about this book over the years. Despite my intrests in Buffalo, history and period stories this book and I just did not mesh properly.
For a mystery novel the mystery was very drawn out and dull, also a little too easy to predict. The big reveal didn't come soon enough towards the end and then the actual ending of the novel seemed awkward, forced and melodramatic.
I have no issue with historical detail used in historical fiction, however, the history is not seamlessly intertwined into the narrative as it seems meely patched on towards the end. Every few pages into the story the reader has to take a break from the actual plot to read several paragraphs about the histoy of the peson, place, thing described breifly in the previous paragraph. For example, the descriptions of the familiy's personal history's and overexplnation of minor chcracters just seemed to add unecessary weight to the novel that easily could have been edited out and made the story more fluid.
Part of me is wondering whether the fact that this is local history to me makes me biased and unintrested. I'm wondering if the fact that these names and locales are familiar to me served as more distracting than anything, and maybe I am just exagerrating this issue with the writing. ...more