I've always been a luke-warm fan of Stephen King, because his novels tend to be hit or miss for me. I was intrigued that he penned this one as a seque...moreI've always been a luke-warm fan of Stephen King, because his novels tend to be hit or miss for me. I was intrigued that he penned this one as a sequel to the Shining, so I picked it up. One rainy weekend later, I was done with the book, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Perfect? Of course not, but it was entertaining. The first part of the book is mostly dedicated to telling us what happened to Danny Torrance after the events of the Shining and into his adult hood, where he becomes Dan, the promiscuous alcoholic drifter who struggles to live with his Shining (psychic) abilities. Eventually after an eye-opening "morning-after" encounter with a young single mom, her child, and some nose candy, Dan settles down in a sleepy North Eastern town and tries his luck at AA. Meanwhile, elsewhere in New Hampshire, a young girl named Abra Stone is coming into her own Shining abilities. Unfortunately, she's being hunted by a group of RV driving quasi-immortals that call themselves The True Knot. They survive by consuming the "steam" of psychic children, while torturing them to death. Abra cries out for help (psychically, of course) and guess who hears her? Dan to the rescue...
All in all, I thought it was an entertaining read, with some creepy moments, and lots of tension. Some people will probably be annoyed by all of the pop culture references but these were almost a comfort for me, in an odd way, during some of the more tense/creepy moments in the story. I also think they are a reflection of the America we live in today, in which we are bombarded by advertising and driven by consumerism.
I will agree with the reviewers that felt that The True Knot were not as scary as other King villains. They are still human and able to be killed, and they have their own particular weaknesses as members of The True. They also care about each other, which might turn off readers that are into more "pure evil" types of villains. Personally though, I think the mistake that King made was establishing that Abra was incredibly powerful, right from the beginning. The anticipation leading up to her encounters with Rose the Hat and all of the others, was nerve-wracking at times, but the actual encounters themselves were not. Rose gets her ass handed to her in the middle of the book. This kind of made me doubt her as the prime antagonist. And unfortunately, the ending is sort of anti-climactic, which is a problem I've had with other books King has written. There is so much build-up to the end, but then everything just kind of falls flat and it's over in a few pages. That said, there is still much to enjoy here. I read the book in two days, and was glued to the page, so he's still doing something right.(less)
I read Battle Royale about four or five years ago. Now I have never read the Hunger Games series but I am familiar enough with the plot to know that t...moreI read Battle Royale about four or five years ago. Now I have never read the Hunger Games series but I am familiar enough with the plot to know that there are some similarities between those books and this one. However, I am willing to bet that this book is much more "R rated", and I have heard as much from others that have read both. Keep that in mind...this book is pretty violent.
You will note that at the beginning of the novel, there is a list of every student who participates. I believe all of them get a POV chapter. The list came in very handy for me because other than a few phrases I've learned through watching anime, I am unfamiliar with Japanese. The names often sounded familiar to my ignorant ears, so I literally had to take notes to keep everyone straight. Luckily, because so very many of these characters die, keeping track of them is much easier toward the end. In all fairness, I don't hold this against the author. That was my problem, not his.
The premise is that a class of Japanese teenagers is hijacked by the government and forced to participate in a cruel and twisted game in which they must off each other one by one. Resistance=Death, and those in charge are not afraid to prove that, right off the bat. There are a few core heroes (and heroine) that are able to stay alive right until the end. There are also some very nasty killers: Mitsuko Souma, a beautiful but psychotic and malicious young female student. And Kazuo Kiriyama, a sociopath with an inability to experience emotions of any kind, making him a creepy and extremely dangerous foe. On the other side of the equation, are Shuya Nanahara,the benevolent rebel and talented athlete, Noriko Nakagawa, the young woman he has a crush on who proves to be intelligent enough to stay alive, and Shogo Kawada, a previous winner from another class who must try and survive all over again. It's one of those books that might be slightly predictable but you don't care because it's well done.
So who survives? I heartily recommend you read this book, to find out.(less)
Goodness but there are a lot of reviews on this book! It’s almost intimidating trying to write my own.
I picked up a Game of Thrones at a book store a...moreGoodness but there are a lot of reviews on this book! It’s almost intimidating trying to write my own.
I picked up a Game of Thrones at a book store a few years ago, out of boredom. It was in the bestselling paper back section, which isn’t an area I normally linger in but the vague cover gave so little away that I was intrigued and so I took it home thinking it would be another book that I would start and then toss aside out of boredom half way through. I had no idea I was about to become yet another obsessive fan…
In case the five stars didn’t give it away, I really loved this book. And pretty much the whole series, thus far. I’ve also seen every episode of the HBO series, and while good, it doesn’t come close to the books, IMO.
The series takes place in a fictional medieval world in which summer and winter last for years at a time. I noticed other reviewers complain that Martin didn’t think this choice through well enough or elaborate on what that would mean for the economy, food storage, etc. While there may be a grain of truth to that, it wasn’t something that I noticed originally and it did not detract from my enjoyment of the story one bit. Martin’s world is one in which magic is thought to have died but once very definitely existed. In fact, it is still thought to, in some of the more mysterious and distant reaches …
The gist of the story is essentially a battle for the throne of Westeros, the continent on which much of the action takes place. There are so many characters and political intrigues in this book that I could not properly summarize them, even if I tried. Most of Martin’s characters are a mixture of “well-fleshed” and “mysterious/intriguing/I-hope-they-are-fleshed-out. This can make for some sad reading when one of them dies, which many unfortunately do, even those whom you think “he couldn’t possibly do that to *****, could he?” Oh yes. He can and he does. Whether by sword, sea, ice zombie, dragon fire, being baked alive in armor…*sigh*. No one is safe. And the magic that we discover does still exist, does little to help anyone. This was important to me, as I cannot stand fantasy stories that rely too heavily on the use of magic to propel characters out of dangerous situations or accomplish goals. The magic element is more subtle, certainly in the first few books, although it becomes somewhat less subtle later on.
There are families in which you as a reader may find yourself pledging your loyalty to. I love the Starks personally (and maybe that’s because this first book is so heavily Stark focused) You may find yourself throwing in with the Targaryans, the Tyrells, or the Lannisters. There are many families, and many many names to remember. Those who don’t like a little complexity in this way might be turned off. I can understand, sometimes you just want an effortless read. This book, hell this series, is not effortless. It’s violent, and depending on your investment level, emotionally exhausting. I love being made to feel anything by a writer, quite frankly. So that counts as a positive in my book. (less)