Although I've strayed from the horror genre for a little while, I was really excited to start this book. Usually, I gobble up anything pertaining to c...moreAlthough I've strayed from the horror genre for a little while, I was really excited to start this book. Usually, I gobble up anything pertaining to creepy little children and demons, but I couldn't quite swallow this one.
The story revolves around the struggling, somewhat dysfunctional, yet completely likable Winter family. Jack Winter, the patriarch of the Winter family, struggles to keep his family afloat. He has a dark, mysterious past that begins to resurfaces as his youngest daughter Charlie shows signs of a demonic possession. Seed is a fast-paced horror novel that delivers some genuinely creepy moments. It had the potential to be "great" in the creepy little children department, but the writer's use of cliches and unnecessary plot devices (aka Ginny) took away from the story.
Honestly though, what was up with Ginny? The entirety of Jack's past is told in engaging flashbacks...and then all of a sudden the reveal (which should have been built up to, leaving me on the edge of my seat, biting my nails, etc.) was dumped on to me by a 60-year old GILF who had no other purpose in the book other than to literally dump information on me. I think the story would have been much more effective if the writer had relied on the flashbacks to illuminate on Jack's past.
I was also really irked by Jack's indifference throughout this story. His family is falling apart, and he just sits there watching it happen. (less)
We met on a rainy afternoon in New Jersey. I was 12, and I had found a dusty copy of Selections from S...moreI've had a tumultous romance with Stephen King.
We met on a rainy afternoon in New Jersey. I was 12, and I had found a dusty copy of Selections from Skeleton Crew in my Aunt's impressive book collection. I had to sneak him into the living room, away from prying eyes. Heaven forbid, my Mother would find me with something as bold and as crass as a Stephen King book.
It was a great first date. King was horrifying, engaging, hilarious, and dirty. He had all of the appeal of a bad boy on a dirt bike.
And since Selections from Skeleton Crew we've had our ups and downs. He put me under his spell in The Eyes of the Dragon, but I grew bored with him when he wrote Gerald's Game. I thought my love for him could be rekindled after I read Bag of Bones, where he showed his readers asensitive side to his story-telling, but after a few more books I decided to leave. I had outgrown my love for Stephen King.
So, I took my entire collection of Stephen King books, including untouched copies of the first three books in the Dark Tower series, and threw them into the box labeled "Goodwill".
And then I came across this graphic novel.
It was like coming across a text message from an ex-boyfriend. I was reminded of why I fell in love with Stephen King, and simultaneously reminded of why I fell out of love with him.
The Dark Tower graphic novel brings us into a world where cloaked magicians exist alongside gun-toting Cowboys. It's Lord of the Rings meets the Wild Wild West. It's a coming-of-age story of a cowboy earning his guns, and a group of three young boys coming to terms with their ka, or their destiny. To me, this is what I enjoy most about Stephen King; the horror fairy tale. He has a way of mixing the magical and the macbre and making it work.
Another reason I enjoyed this graphic novel is because it quickens the pace of the story. I find that Stephen King has a way of going on wild tangents that contribute nothing whatsoever to the actual storyline. And yet, his narratives are so plot driven that you can splice about 100 pages from any of his books and still get the entire story. This form of novel forces the narrative to go on continuosly. No more of this feet dragging.
And yet, there were still more faults to this book. The artwork was beautiful, but inconsistent. The colour palettes and use of shadows did well in contributing to the novel's story, and yet, I couldn't help but notice that several pictures were quite literally copied and pasted into different scenes in the book. The character development other than Roland's was barely there.
So,all in all I did enjoy this. It was an entertaining, quick read that reminded me why I love the horror genre. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough for me to rekindle the love that I once had for Stephen King. Will I be picking up the sequels in this series? Not likely. (less)
I'm a huge fan of The Walking Dead series, and I love what Robert Kirkman has done for TV.
But *gasps* (blasphemy) I've never been a fan of Robert Kir...moreI'm a huge fan of The Walking Dead series, and I love what Robert Kirkman has done for TV.
But *gasps* (blasphemy) I've never been a fan of Robert Kirkman's work on paper. Yes, I did enjoy his graphic novels, but I didn't love them. I felt that they were gory and intense, but lacked any real character development. The plot developed much too quickly.
This book is just an extension of that, but without the beautiful artwork. As gory as this book is, it lacks the intensity of the show and the graphic novel. It was also riddled with akward sentences, and poorly used similes. Such as this:
Bundled in a down coat with her stuffed penguin at her side, she seems oddly sanguine, her pale face drawn and languid, as though she were about to visit the pediatrician
Really?! You're taking a little girl out on the road with the threat of flesh-eating zombies, and then you equate the sheer terror of the situation with going to the doctor's office.
The characters feel flat as well. We've got Philip Blake, the angry tattooed Mexican, who'll do anything to keep his daughter alive; Brian Blake, his fail-at-life hippy brother; Bobby Marsh, the token fat guy; and Penny, Philip's little girl.
My verdict: I choose to erase this book from my memory, and go on loving David Morissey's interpretation of The Governor. (less)
The most appropriate word to summarize my review would be "meh".
Even though I was engrossed with the narrative at times, I felt like I was being fed...moreThe most appropriate word to summarize my review would be "meh".
Even though I was engrossed with the narrative at times, I felt like I was being fed a crock load of shit. Danielewski's jizz has been strewn all over this book, and I always felt the need to wipe it off.
Not to say that I completely hated the book. There are two main narratives in "House of Leaves" that are very cleverly intertwined. The first narrative comes from an old man named Zampano. Zampano's narrative consists of the old man's commentary on "The Navidson Record"-- a fake documentary about a haunted house. The second narrative is written by Johnny Truant-- a deadbeat tattoo artist who supposedly finds Zampano's narrative and takes it upon himself to edit Zampano's work.There are footnotes, on the footnotes. At times, there's even an unnamed editor that creates footnotes on Johnny's footnotes. Gimmicky, but okay, cool, I can deal.
As Zampano's characters delve deeper into the house, Johnny descends deeper into his madness, and deeper into his obsession with the Navidson Record. Zampano's footnotes are painstakingly well-researched. He refers to everything from classical Greek mythology, to physics, to pop-culture. The unending web of footnotes alone mirrors the labyrinthe that makes up the structure of Zampano's house.
However, when you take each element and look at it separately, you're left with a predictable horror story with the tiresome ramblings of a angst-ridden,drug-addicted, sex fiend. Johnny Truant very often calls himself out on his own bullshit. You're left to wonder how much of the book is real, or whether Zampano's novel and the Navidson Record are just objects of Truant's imagination. The more I read the book, the more convinced I became that Zampano and Johnny Truant were the same person, and that Johnny was creating footnotes on his own work.
I had a big problem with how self-contained each of the chapters were. I felt that ever chapter was a short-story, and then Gaiman would go back and add little details so that it would all make sense in the end. But there was no flow, no unity in between the chapters.
It felt anticlimatic as well. All of the chills and thrills were in the very first chapter. It sort of dwindlesdown from there. (less)
There have been countless of adaptations of this Robert Stevenson classic; The Nutty Professor, Van Helsing, The Hulk, Two-Face, Mary Reilly, The Page...moreThere have been countless of adaptations of this Robert Stevenson classic; The Nutty Professor, Van Helsing, The Hulk, Two-Face, Mary Reilly, The Pagemaster... I think that because I've seen so many of the adaptations, my preconceptions of the book have completely ruined it for me.
I'm sure that even if you haven't read the book, you've probably seen one (or more) of the Jekyll/Hyde adaptations, and you're most likely familiar with the plot: a good man creates a potion that transforms him into a dark creature, free of conscience or remorse. Because I'm use to such dark interpretations of this story, I was expecting something more spine-tingling, and sinister. Mr. Hyde does commit some pretty atrocious crimes, but I guess I'm really hungry for the bloody, gorey, details. Stevenson fails to deliver on the scare factor.
But then again, I think I'm being unfair because:
a) This was written during the Victorian era, so what Stevenson wrote might have been scary for his time b) I've become so desensitized to the gruesome versions of the tale out there.
I certainly don't want to take away from the good parts of the book. Stevenson is a great writer. Make that a great writer. There's something really captivating about his prose, and I devoured the book from start to finish. I simply couldn't put it down. I'm also very sure that if Freud had ever read this book, he'd be nodding his head in agreement with Stevenson's take about duality, and good vs. evil. Jekyll, a good-natured man, obviously in-touch with his conscience, becomes engrossed in releasing this primitive, pleasure-seeking creature. It's the classic case of id vs. ego. It's really fascinating how Stevenson tackles the concept of self, and there are a lot of questions that arise from reading this book: Are good and evil separate entities? Can good exist without evil? Is it healthy to spuress the id, or pleasure-seeking urges? etc.
Overall, I think it was a good book. If you are a horror fan, and you want something with blood splattered on the walls, and people being disemboweled left front and centre, then this is not for you. If you want to be treated to Stevenson's wonderful writing, then pick this up.
I realized how completely incomprehensive my first review was, so this is a complete rewrite.
I'm the kind of person that gets into th...more---EDIT---
I realized how completely incomprehensive my first review was, so this is a complete rewrite.
I'm the kind of person that gets into the "spirit" of things. So for October, I decided to read three horror stories: Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde (a classic), The Strain (a complete flop for me) and Something Wicked This Way Comes. This book wasn't easy to find. I had to scour around in at least 6 bookstores in the city to find this book. When I finally had it, tucked away in the bottom of my uber-stylish, eco-friendly canvas bag, I was ecstatic. I have read so many positive reviews about this book. It came highly recommended on dozens of horror book lists, and there was just so much hype about Bradbury's evil carnival.
I actually had a mini-ceremony for reading this book: I lit one of my candles, threw two of my favourite bath products into my bathtub and just *gasps* immersed myself (in the tub, and in the book). The book starts off strong: Bradbury writes about his two main protagonists, Jim and Will. He does a good job of contrasting the two boys, setting the sinister, eerie mood for the story, and introducing us to Mr. Dark, or the Illustrated Man. The carnival sets up its huge, welcoming tents in the the town, and the boys slowly start uncovering the evils within the carnival, but at this point, the book just starts to fizzle. The book was well-written, and there were some genuinely COOL monstrosities at this carnival, such as a carousel that can make you older and younger. However, the story just failed to engage me all the way through, and at a certain point, I just stopped caring about what happened in the book. The ending was just too reminiscent of a Care bears episode (spoiler!):
"Okay Braveheart, let's destroy No-heart's evil carnival by singing, and dancing, and sending out love vibes".
End spoiler. And this is, essentially, how the book plays out.
Guillermo Del Toro is such an artistic genius. Pan's Labrynth captured my imagination. The Orphanage broke my heart. The Devil's Backbone had me on th...moreGuillermo Del Toro is such an artistic genius. Pan's Labrynth captured my imagination. The Orphanage broke my heart. The Devil's Backbone had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish...and so on, and so forth.
So maybe my expectations for this book were set unrealistically high. I was expecting something genuinely creepy with the touch of the poetic. I was expecting vivid, lush, imagery to echo the stunning visuals in Del Toro's films. What I got instead was a dragged-on, uninspired vampire novel. I felt cheated.
The book read like a B-grade vampire film. The action scenes were so over-drawn, the characters so painfully cliche. Amidst all the blood-sucking and the vampire slaying, I was never scared. I just wanted the book to be over. (less)
I had really mixed feelings for this book. There were moments that made my heart beat in delight, and there were moments that had me depressed that I...moreI had really mixed feelings for this book. There were moments that made my heart beat in delight, and there were moments that had me depressed that I was still reading it.
What I loved about the book was how Anne Rice tackled the vampire myth. There aren't any sparkling vampires picking up teenage girls here, only predatory creatures that sleep by day and kill by night. She really does break boundaries in the Vampire novel sub-genre by featuring vampires as protagonists instead of just villains in the night.
Interview With The Vampire takes us through a journey that spans over two hundred years through the eyes of Louis. Although Louis is given the dark gift of immortality, his human soul remains in tact. The humanity left in Louis conflicts with his violent, predatory nature. He becomes plagued with self loathing and self doubt. The entirety of the novel focuses on Louis's quest to find knowledge about himself and his kind. It was really interesting to read about the world as it aged, through the eyes of an unaging, immortal being. Louis constantly talks about appreciating art and beauty. I find myself very sympathetic to a vampire that can put away his fangs, and stare at a Monet or a Gauguin for two seconds.
One of the downfalls for me was the narration style. Even though we are reading the story from Louis' perspective, there are times when he just seems so cold and detached from his tale, that it makes the narrative drag on. There were parts where I actually had to stop reading the book for a day or two just to get over the boredom I felt. There were also moments when Louis becomes so overcome with self pity that I just wanted to tell him to STFU and get over himself. The Holden Caulfield of the vampire world. But then again, who am I to judge? After all, I have no idea what it's like to be a century-old self-loathing vampire.
I would recommend this to people that love a good vampire novel.Other than that, this book can definitley be pushed back on your tbr lists. (less)
I remember reading "The Lottery" in grade 10 English, how beautiful and how horrifying it was for me. I re...moreShirley Jackson. How I love Shirley Jackson.
I remember reading "The Lottery" in grade 10 English, how beautiful and how horrifying it was for me. I remember the imagery of seemingly friendly townspeople gathering together for a ritual sacrifice in small-town Americana.
Shirley Jackson is also the author of The Haunting of Hill House. The premise of the novel--which revolves around two women with paranormal abilities staying at a haunted house--is probably one of the most widely repeated plots in the horror genre.
I mention these books because Jonathan Lethem brings up an interesting point when he writes the introduction to We Have Always Lived in the Castle: It's that Shirley Jackson's two most famous works have become bigger than her name.The Lottery and The Haunting of Hill House have become archetypal in the horror genre. Even if you've never read these two works, they are constantly being reproduced in books and in movies.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle has slipped into somewhat obscurity along with Shirley Jackson's name. However, if you're a fan of horror, this is a must-read. This is the story of the Blackwood sisters, Merricat and Constance, who live in isolation with their Uncle Julian. Uncle Julian is the only survivor of the Blackwood killing, in which four of the Blackwoods are poisoned with arsenic-tainted sugar at the dinner table. The story is told through the eyes of Merricat.
Jackson doesn't rely on gore, or on supernatural beings to create the fear in the novel. What makes this book so eerie is how Jackson seduces you with her characters, most particularly, Merricat. Silly Merricat. You live in Merricat's mind, and you see the derrangement and the evil that lives in her. And yet, the girl can be so loving, so vulnerable, that you can't help but not only sympathize with her but actually just fall in love with her. Even though you know that she's a deranged young woman, you feel pathos for her when the villagers persecute her family. When the big (but unsurprising) secret is revealed near the end of the book, my initial reaction wasn't "Devil child, burn in hell," but "Silly Merricat, how I love you."
A must-read for any horror afficianado. 5 stars. (less)