Wow, I hated this book. The plot isn't dissimilar to A Princess of Mars crossed with a bit of The Lord of the Rings. The difference between this and t...moreWow, I hated this book. The plot isn't dissimilar to A Princess of Mars crossed with a bit of The Lord of the Rings. The difference between this and those books is that the protagonist of this novel is utterly and completely unlikable. He's a leper, which is a clever twist, but good lord, he's unpleasant. His self loathing isn't amusing, it's annoying. Even when he's seemingly cured of his afflictions he's unbearably gloomy. Oh, and he expresses his return to health through a brutal sexual assault on a sixteen year old girl. Maybe he was under the thrall of a dark lord during that act, maybe not. It's not clear, and the author doesn't seem to care much.
So yes. I loathed this book. I always finish what I start, but this was a slog I had to push through. I have no plans to read the others in the series. One was quite enough for me, thanks.(less)
Wow, did this book ever rub me the wrong way. It's not that I don't like Stephenson (I do!) and it's not that I don't like this kind of flimsy, Islami...moreWow, did this book ever rub me the wrong way. It's not that I don't like Stephenson (I do!) and it's not that I don't like this kind of flimsy, Islamic terrorist plot storytelling. Apparently I just don't like when the two come together.
My big problem with Reamde is that the story is actually pretty simple, but Stephenson approaches it as if it were intricate, giving us loads and loads and loads of unnecessary detail. Which is great when he's dealing with a somewhat interesting or original subject matter, but this is the domain of novelists whose work is proclaimed in bold letters from airport newsstands. Those guys know how to write this material: quick and to the point.
Instead, Stephenson devotes hundreds upon hundreds of pages, breathlessly filling in every conceivable logical outcome, and it never adds up to much of anything.
It also takes away from the tension. In the last chunk of the book, all the characters converge on one place for a final confrontation, and Stephenson feels the need to tell us not just what weapon everyone is carrying, but how many bullets, the status of their safety, the history and make of every component they're carying, the history and purpose of every twist in the road and so on. It's just relentlessly dull, and drags on and on.
Don't pick up this book thinking it's about a massively multiplayer game, or represents Stephenson's triumphant return to cyberpunk. The MMO is nothing more than a MacGuffin, which is weird considering the hundreds of pages he spends defining every aspect of its gameplay and history. No, this is a story about terrorists. And not an especially good one, either.
Had it been 1/3rd the length, I might have enjoyed it. But there is so much fluff, so much sheer indulgence in this book, that by the end I just could not wait for it to be over. This book is a colossal disappointment from a very talented writer. (less)
Haunted wasn't terrible, but even for a nihilist like Chuck Palahniuk, this book is bleak. I'm generally okay with that, and I'd read some of these st...moreHaunted wasn't terrible, but even for a nihilist like Chuck Palahniuk, this book is bleak. I'm generally okay with that, and I'd read some of these stories before (including the infamous "Guts"). But it's the framing story that really drags this collection of shorts down. The point of that story is made very early on, after which you're left with pure massochism, a dreary exercise whose only real purpose is to set up each short story.
Some of these stories really are clever...I just wish the connecting thread was more plausible or interesting.(less)
Having not been a huge fan of the first book, I'm not sure what possessed me to try the second. In some ways, this book is better. It's not as concern...moreHaving not been a huge fan of the first book, I'm not sure what possessed me to try the second. In some ways, this book is better. It's not as concerned with the excruciating details of everyone's computer (however we are treated to an entire IKEA catalog at one point) and it isn't quite as extreme in its depictions of violence. But it is ultimately more of the same. Another not terribly interesting story, with revelations that seem more interesting to the characters than the reader (this one, anyway). Like the first, it drags quite a bit in the last third, but unlike that book, it has a thoroughly unsatisfying ending. Which I suppose means the third book picks up right where this one left off, but I'm in no rush to read it. Maybe in another year, I'll have forgotten about this one and want to try yet again.(less)
Oh how I dislike this book. Many people love it, or at least like it. I am not one of those people. Its charms are utterly lost to me. I am a fan of N...moreOh how I dislike this book. Many people love it, or at least like it. I am not one of those people. Its charms are utterly lost to me. I am a fan of Neil Gaiman, but this, which is his first (solo) novel, is like a parody of his work. The world above is so boring, but everything below is so wonderful and charming and whimsically British! Our protagonist is downright stupid for not knowing that these things exist. And naturally there are two hitmen who speak in 19th century formalities. Bleh.
Most of these themes (if not characters!) are repeated with varying success in his later work. My suggestion is to skip this one and read one of his better novels, stories or graphic novels. Neverwhere is best left buried. (less)
Let's be totally clear here: I am a HUGE Superman nerd. I'll read/watch anything with that shield on it. So when DC came out with a new graphic novel...moreLet's be totally clear here: I am a HUGE Superman nerd. I'll read/watch anything with that shield on it. So when DC came out with a new graphic novel written by J. Michael Straczynski that let him start over from scratch, I was all over it.
This book is essentially an origin story. And in that respect, it's not bad. Straczynski picks and chooses from various depictions of Superman that we've all seen before. You'll recognize events from the comics and the Richard Donner movies here, but it's all done with your typical, overly sincere Straczynski tone. That can be an acquired taste, but it's not too bad here.
Having said that, Straczynski basically has turned Superman's origin into Spider-Man's. This Clark is essentially Peter Parker, starting out wanting to take advantage of his powers before events make him accept that with great power comes great responsibility. Yes, he adds a spin on it so it's not quite so selfish (he's doing it all for Martha Kent), but really, it's the same story. That's a little weird.
It takes a while to get going, but that didn't bother me *too* much. The art is decent enough, and the origin stuff, and the way he introduces the secondary characters all worked for me on some level, even when I disagreed with his decisions (I've never been comfortable with the whole Superman-is-a-genius thing and Straczynski full-on embraces that here). Everything pretty much falls apart in act 3 however, when there's suddenly (and slightly out of nowhere) a big ol' fight with an otherworldly enemy, whose motivations made no sense whatsoever.
With Superman: Earth One, you're left with a very strange book that doesn't add up to a whole lot. It's not a bad read, but it's not a great one either. If you're at least slightly familiar with Superman, I'd recommend Superman: Birthright and All Star Superman over Earth One. They're less earnest, less plodding and much more entertaining as a result. (less)
I did not like this book at all. I'm giving it two stars because it has a premise I like (alternate dimensions!) and is loaded with things I like (rob...moreI did not like this book at all. I'm giving it two stars because it has a premise I like (alternate dimensions!) and is loaded with things I like (robots! Superheroes! New York City!). But other than the premise, there's not much to like here. The prose, the dialog, the characters, the plot...there are so many problems with this book. The typos! Lots of typos here.
And then there's the plain old weirdness of the whole thing. Adam Christopher writes about facial expressions and reactions that don't feel even remotely natural. People just do weird things without explanation. And they accept the most insane, outlandish theories simply because someone told it to them.
The premise was solid, and there was a good book here somewhere. With an aggressive editor, it could have turned out differently. But as it is, I cannot recommend this book to anyone. (less)
This book just never clicked with me. I never found myself fully immersed in the world, and I never really cared about any of the characters. It was a...moreThis book just never clicked with me. I never found myself fully immersed in the world, and I never really cared about any of the characters. It was also weirdly violent. That doesn't usually bother me, but it felt out of place here. And the glee with which the main character exacts his revenge wasn't particularly indearing. (less)