I try hard to avoid any blurbs or early reviews of books that I'm really anticipating, but somehow things just seep into my consciousness and I'm notI try hard to avoid any blurbs or early reviews of books that I'm really anticipating, but somehow things just seep into my consciousness and I'm not even sure how they got there. So in addition to having my own ridiculously high hopes for this book, I'd come across things like "Hill's magnum opus!" and "his best work to date!" which ratcheted my expectations even higher. I was being setup for a letdown and it wasn't even Hill's fault.
This might actually be my least favorite of Hill's books. I should have reviewed this earlier so I could get more specific but here goes.
Harper, the main character, irritated the everloving crap out of me. She felt real alright--a little too real--so I do have to give the author mad props for that. She has a personality type that I come across fairly often in my line of work and I just don't handle these people well. She knows the absolute best thing for everyone. It doesn't matter what anyone else's background is, she inevitably believes that she knows more and knows better and will run right over anyone else's opinion. No, she won't even register that anyone else has an opinion. She's a nurse and ends up being the only healthcare provider that a lot of people have access to. She has tough decisions to make and impossible situations to deal with. I get that. She does her best with them. But had there been a doctor present, she still wouldn't have sat back and let him or her handle anything; she would have been in the way, doing whatever she wanted to anyway. I just wanted her to listen to other people and actually think about what they had to say. Sure, question their motives and angles; I'm not advocating mindless following. Just listen. Ugh. She hit a nerve. Can you tell? I don't even know how much of this she really did and how much of it I just projected from personal experience!
I wanted to know a lot more about the fireman, but in reality, I think his character worked so well for me precisely because he was so mysterious. He randomly appears, does miraculous things, then disappears back into the night. A burning crusader, if you will.
I liked or disliked the other characters as I was supposed to. Other characters actually did listen, evaluate, grow and change, a lot of them in good ways. There were some big old stinking surprises that caught me completely off guard as other characters showed their true colors.
This is obviously dystopian or post-Apocalyptic fiction but in addition to that, I don't know that I would necessarily call it a horror novel, although it certainly has those elements. People are spontaneously bursting into flames, for heaven's sake! What might be even more subtly horrifying is an element of going along and getting along that becomes necessary for survival. It's hard to explain without getting into spoilers. But independent thought becomes almost life-threatening, and not for the reasons you would think. I had cold chills when I realized what was going on.
The pacing was all off for me. In my mind, there are three overall sections to the book. The buildup was excellent. It set up a lot of conflict, kept me reading, and was very visual. I could just see this disease working on people. I want to say that it would make a great movie, but the effects people could never capture what I imagined. Anyway. The second part dragged on a bit too long for me. I just wanted to get on with it already. And then the final section was just over. I kept getting more worried as the number of pages left in the book kept dwindling and I still had a lot of questions. There was just no way that everything could be wrapped up to my satisfaction in that space. I was right.
I've now looked at other reviews here on GoodReads and I'm in the minority. It seems that everyone agrees that this is Hill's best work. Except for me. But Hill on what I consider a mediocre try is still better than most other authors writing popular fiction/horror/suspense. Go ahead and pick this one up.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me an early copy for review....more
Yet another book that I've waited almost a year to review. I recently read the second one and noticed my oversight.
What I remember:
I really, really lYet another book that I've waited almost a year to review. I recently read the second one and noticed my oversight.
What I remember:
I really, really liked this. I never had any idea where it was going and it just kept getting more and more twisted. I had more questions at the end than I did at the beginning. And I was definitely left with a sinking feeling in my stomach. This situation is going to get way worse before it gets better. I liked the characters a lot. They aren't perfect by any means, but they aren't complete brats either. They fall somewhere in the middle, like all of us. They're doing their best in an unthinkable situation. I love the artwork. It's dark and disturbing but very cleanly drawn. Sometimes the art in graphic novels looks kind of smeary to me, like a comic book that's been loved a little too well. That is not the case here.
I obviously decided to continue with the series and wish I hadn't waited so long to do so. If you like graphic novels and story lines that have you questioning what you think you know, give this one a try....more
Anytime kids gather together in the dark, scary stories are inevitably told. Alvin Schwartz gathered a good selection of the most popular and publisheAnytime kids gather together in the dark, scary stories are inevitably told. Alvin Schwartz gathered a good selection of the most popular and published them in this anthology.
I kind of think this scared me when I was little but I don't actually remember ever checking it out from the library. My theory is that I knew it would scare me so I steered clear. I do remember all my little classmates rushing to check out the one copy we had in our school library though.
Reading this now, the stories aren't particularly scary. The author chose to divide the book into sections, with the first being "Jump" stories, where the teller gets to the climax and gives out a blood-curdling scream to scare the wits out of the listeners. I can see that they would be scary in person but on the page they were actually a little silly. The others were a little more fulfilling if you're looking for a frightening read. There are sections about ghosts and urban legends and even a few songs. (How's this for a coincidence? I read "The Hearse Song" here, "The worms crawl in, The worms crawl out, The worms play pinochle on your snout" and then came across it again in my very next read, Blubber.) It was interesting to me as an older reader to recognize basic elements here that I've come across in other books that were published later. I can't help but wonder if the later books got the idea from this one or if they are all just referencing the same old folktales and legends.
The illustrations by Stephen Gammell are downright creepy and perfect for the book.
Young readers who like a good fright should find what they're looking for in this collection....more
I haven't read that much Richard Matheson, just one short story collection containing I am Legend, but I enjoyed it immensely. I don't remember whereI haven't read that much Richard Matheson, just one short story collection containing I am Legend, but I enjoyed it immensely. I don't remember where I came across this collection, but when I saw the combination of Richard Matheson, Joe Hill, and Stephen King, I added it to my wishlist. Like any anthology, this was a mixed bag, but pretty strong overall.
"Throttle" by Joe Hill and Stephen King--I found this, not surprisingly, to be the strongest story in the collection. It was an edge-of-your-seat tale of a rogue trucker vs. a motorcycle gang with a nice twist at the end. 4.5 stars
"Recalled" by F. Paul Wilson--This is a sequel to Matheson's story, "The Distributor," which I haven't read. I didn't have any trouble following it or enjoying it. I imagine readers of the source material will find it very satisfying. 4 stars
“I Am Legend, Too” by Mick Garris—This one’s a prequel, set just as the outbreak begins. The author imagines what Neville’s envious neighbor’s last day was like. 3 stars
“Two Shots from Fly’s Photo Gallery” by John Shirley—Loosely based on “Somewhere in Time,” this story is about a man time traveling back to the shootout at the OK Corral in an effort to save his wife in the present day, with results that are somewhat predictable. The actual ending was a surprise to me though. 3 stars
“The Diary of Louise Carey” by Thomas F. Monteleone—Told from the point of view of the wife of The Shrinking Man, this entry was kind of creepy and disturbing. 3 stars
“She Screech Like Me” by Michael A. Arnzen—This story was a sequel to “Born of Man and Woman,” which I haven’t read. I liked it but I feel like I would have enjoyed it more if I had known the back story. 3 stars, probably just because of my ignorance.
“Everything of Beauty Taken from You in This Life Remains Forever” by Gary A. Braunbeck—I liked this follow-up to “Button, Button.” There’s a transition toward the end that felt a bit awkward but it led to a satisfying twist. 3.5 stars
“The Case of Peggy Ann Lister” by John Maclay—Someone is Bleeding is updated in this sequel. While femme fatale crime fiction isn’t really my thing, this story was well-written. 4 stars
“Zachry Revisited” by William F. Nolan—I haven’t read “The Children of Noah,” the story that precedes this one, but I didn’t feel I needed to. It was horrifying in a very Greek tragedy kind of way. 4 stars
“Comeback” by Ed Gorman—Inspired by “The Finishing Touches,” this tale of a modern rocker and the friends he left behind in order to jump start his career is a bit disturbing because it’s utterly believable. 4 stars
“An Island unto Himself” by Barry Hoffman is described as “A Variation on ‘Disappearing Act.’” It started off strong and then fizzled out at the end for me. I was left feeling like I’d missed something. 3 stars
“Venturi” by Richard Christian Matheson—Matheson’s son wrote this story, inspired by “Legion of Plotters.” I kind of wanted more context but that honestly would have ruined the effect. It was a great story that made me feel like I was losing my mind right along with the main character. 4 stars
“Quarry” by Joe R. Lansdale—I have read “Prey,” the story on which this one is based. It freaked me right out. This one did too. 4.5 stars
“Return to Hell House” by Nancy A. Collins--Hell House, I think, would be a bit intense for me. I like to read horror but I have to choose carefully. I can’t read about demons at all. Horror movies are almost all a bad idea. I’ll be up all night, terrified. “Return to Hell House” is a prequel that fans of graphic haunted house movies will probably enjoy. It was not my cup of tea and it was by far the longest story of the group. 2 stars
“Cloud Rider” by Whitley Strieber is based more on Matheson’s collected body of work than on any particular piece. A regular guy finds himself battling unimaginable forces of greed and nature. I loved it. 4.5 stars
I do recommend this anthology for anyone who’s a fan of Matheson’s work. You might not like every story, but you’ll probably find several you do enjoy. I plan to read more works by some of these authors who are new to me as well....more
Victoria, known at different times as Vic or The Brat, inadvertently discovers she has a special gift when she's about ten years old. If she wants toVictoria, known at different times as Vic or The Brat, inadvertently discovers she has a special gift when she's about ten years old. If she wants to find something badly enough, she can ride her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike across a rickety wooden covered bridge and find whatever she's looking for on the other side. The problem? The physical bridge was torn down; she's creating a new one with her mind.
After finding a kidnapper and helping to put him behind bars in her teens, Vic's life spirals out of control. She thinks she's crazy so she starts drinking and doing drugs, with stints in mental hospitals and rehab. But she gets her act together quickly when she finds out that Charlie Manx, the kidnapper, is no longer in prison.
I thought I would probably get to this point after reading his other work but with NOS4A2, it's official: I love Joe Hill. He is a helluva writer. I'll be reading his books as they come out. Well, I've been doing that since Horns, but I'll continue doing it.
I was hooked from very early on. I wouldn't even say that the pacing is all that fast, but it is a very steady burn. There's a lot of back story and filling in the blanks but it's all just so intriguing that I kept plowing through. I haven't been reading particularly fast recently but I still managed to tear through all 680+ pages in about ten days. And that's including a long, busy weekend out of town.
What really kept me turning the pages was the big heart at the center of the story. Vic's tough but she had a rough childhood and she's had a rougher adulthood. She pushes everyone around her away but that's because she loves them so much she doesn't want to drag them down with her. But she's surrounded by people who love her in return and want to help her. They would do anything for her. As much as I like Vic, and I do like her a lot, I might like Lou and Maggie even more. They are such geeky, nerdy, lovable rejects of society. I want them to be my friends. All these characters have had tough lives but they still find it in themselves to love each other and create their own kind of family.
I'm sure I was reading so fast that I missed a few of these little Easter eggs, but I love that Hill is building his own multiverse. You definitely do not have to have read his earlier work to read this book, but if you have, you'll appreciate a few little references he throws in. Treehouse of the Mind, anyone? I do believe I even caught one or two references to his dad's books.
The one thing that kept me from giving this five stars is that it did ramble a little bit. Others might disagree, but I personally could have done with less time spent watching Vic's life go down the toilet. I don't think that's the only place I felt that way, but that's definitely what I remember wishing we could get through a little faster.
But the ending--! The ending was absolute perfection. I was gearing up to be a little disappointed. I thought I saw where it was going and I really wasn't that happy about it. It would have worked but after what had come before, it would have been weak. But then it went somewhere else and I was happy. And then it went somewhere else again and I was grinning like an idiot and feeling thankful for my tendency to read every single word of a book I really like. He nailed it.
Read this, read Hill's other books, and continue to read the books-yet-to-be-published. He's a smart, talented writer and he has earned a lifelong fan in me....more
Life hasn't been easy for Dan Torrance since the events of The Shining. Now that he's an adult, his shining has faded a little but it's still too muchLife hasn't been easy for Dan Torrance since the events of The Shining. Now that he's an adult, his shining has faded a little but it's still too much for him to handle. Following in his father's footsteps, he's turned to alcohol to escape from his problems. He eventually hits his bottom and tries to turn his life around. He ends up in a small town in New Hampshire, where he senses a girl with a shining even bigger than his own. But a sinister group called The True Knot have sensed her as well and they know they would feast off the "steam" she would release if they could just get their hands on her to torture her to death. Dan and little Abra, with the help of a few friends, must find a way to defeat The True Knot and keep them from feeding off children with the shining.
It's been 10+ years since I've read The Shining or watched the movie so I can't address how well Doctor Sleep compares to it.
But I can tell you that I loved this book.
My one complaint is that it does feel a bit as if it's meandering at times. It took a very long time to even bring Abra into the story.
Eventually though, all of those little "tangents" tie into the bigger scheme of things. As the story twisted and I realized exactly how things were fitting together, I would just laugh out loud sometimes. Not because the story was funny but because I was delighted that King was taking me in directions that I did not see coming at all. That's starting to feel like a rare thing for me to find in an author. The book was much stronger for it as well.
I liked all the characters here or I hated them, but man, oh, man, I loved Abra. She was so fierce. I started telling my husband about her and he just interrupted me and said, "You're loving her, right? You always love that kind of girl." And yes, I was loving her, and yes, I always love those strong female characters. Abra was scared when she should have been scared but she sure as hell wasn't going to sit back and just let The True Knot take her. She fought back in ways that shocked them and me. I absolutely adored her.
Go out and read this one. I think you'll adore her too....more
Rebekkah Barrow has left the town of Claysville behind. She keeps in touch with a few people, including her "adopted" grandmother, but otherwise she'sRebekkah Barrow has left the town of Claysville behind. She keeps in touch with a few people, including her "adopted" grandmother, but otherwise she's a free spirit roaming the earth. One day she gets a phone call that her grandmother has passed away. She heads back to Claysville for the funeral and learns that her grandmother was actually murdered. There's more to it than that though; Rebekkah and her on-again-off-again boyfriend Byron both sense it. There are secrets in Claysville, and Rebekkah and Byron must learn them before time runs out for everyone.
This could have been so good. I loved the idea. The Barrow women are graveminders, assiduously tending the graves of the town residents. It's obvious from the beginning what is going on and I liked it. But the story just kept circling around and around and around the why of things. There's a lot of drama between Rebekkah and Byron, both in the past and their present. They fight, they make up, they decide they don't have time for fighting, and then they disagree again and have to have another "discussion." It was exhausting! But not in any kind of interesting way. Just in an "Oh my gosh, can we please just get back to the dead people now?" kind of way.
I did actually like Byron. He was trying his very best to figure out what was going on, take care of Rebekkah, and respect her wishes.
Rebekkah was my downfall. Deep down, she knew what she wanted but she kept fighting it and fighting Byron and I just got so tired of it. I didn't really care about her or her personal drama. I wanted to know why these crazy things were happening.
The ending slightly redeemed it because it was fairly horrifying. There had been enough hints throughout that I wasn't surprised, but I guess I was still hoping that I was wrong.
The narrator, Emma Galvin, was absolutely perfect. I wasn't sure what to think of her at first. Her tone was a little flat, but then it quickly came across as eerie as I learned what was going on in this quintessential small town.
I am sure there is an audience for this book. I know it's marketed for adults but older young adults might like it. Rebekkah and Byron have a lot of the same issues that turn me off contemporary young adult novels, so it could be a good fit for readers who do enjoy them. Just remember that there is a touch of horror here. Readers looking for a strong horror read should probably skip on this one....more
Mackie Doyle doesn't quite fit in with his gloomy, outwardly perfect town. His eyes are just too dark. He has an allergic reaction to iron. And most pMackie Doyle doesn't quite fit in with his gloomy, outwardly perfect town. His eyes are just too dark. He has an allergic reaction to iron. And most people don't know this, but consecrated ground blisters his skin. See, the town of Gentry pays a price for its perfection; it pays with its children. And Mackie is just a replacement for one of them.
3.5 stars but I can't bring myself to round up.
This was actually creepier than I expected it to be. Let's face it, that cover is a lot to live up to. I love it, but it even caught my husband's attention. The book and the cover actually went well together in this case.
We kind of learn things as Mackie does, which leaves us with questions that are answered in a way that feels right. This storytelling technique can sometimes backfire horribly for me as a reader and leave me feeling that the author cheated. Not the case here. There's a reason Mackie doesn't know things and there's a reason people don't talk about what's going on.
Mackie was feeling a little too sorry for himself throughout the book, and that's the biggest thing that knocked this back a couple of stars. I kind of understand it now (he's really, really not feeling well, and who doesn't feel sorry for themselves then?), but I didn't realize that this was new for him and how bad it was until well into the book, when my opinions were pretty firmly set. If I could have seen him on some good days in some flashbacks or something, I would have had more empathy for him.
Tate was a great character. I was confused by her at first, but as things are explained, I understood why she was acting like she did. I loved that she didn't take crap off of anyone and was not afraid to finish a fight that someone else started.
Roswell. I have things to say about him but I don't want to spoil anything. Hmmm. Let's just say that I expected his character to go in a different direction and I would really like to read the story that would have happened if my expectations had come through. Things would have gotten even more interesting.
The setting for the book was just perfect. It's dark and damp and rainy and eerie in a way that's hard to put your finger on in this old steel mill town.
I have to say that the underage drinking and hinted-at sex bothered me a little. The adults must be on vacation or clueless, because no one notices what's going on. It wasn't anything too terrible, but it's so far outside the realm of my own experiences as a teen that I have a hard time relating to it. I know it happens, it just didn't happen in my world.
Those few negatives aside, I do recommend this for a dark and stormy night when you want some pleasant shivers to travel down your spine....more
Author Ben Mears has returned to the town of Jerusalem's Lot, Maine, where he spent the best years of his childhood. He had a traumatic, horrifying exAuthor Ben Mears has returned to the town of Jerusalem's Lot, Maine, where he spent the best years of his childhood. He had a traumatic, horrifying experience there, and he wants to write it out of his system at last.
Around the same time, two other men move into town, R. T. Straker and Kurt Barlow. They buy and move into the local house that has haunted Ben for years. And then people start disappearing...
Parts of this felt a little familiar. Little Mark Petrie reminded me of Jake from The Dark Tower series and the kid from The Talisman. Ben reminded me of someone too, I just can't put my finger on who. And then there's the name Susan. I wonder if there's a Susan in King's past.
That slight familiarity aside, I did enjoy this. I think part of what gives me the willies when reading King's work is that he doesn't back away from using children in his horror stories. He kills them off when he has to and he turns them into evil little beings too. He uses children to chilling effect in this novel.
One of the subplots that I really liked was Father Callahan's struggle with faith. Maybe that's because I did read The Dark Tower series first, but I enjoyed "meeting" Father Callahan and learning more about him. His part in this book comes pretty late, so I'll refrain from discussing him more. I want to re-read his part in The Dark Tower now that I know more about him!
I really liked that the vampires in this book were real, true, evil vampires. Granted, this was written in the mid-70s, well before the current vampire love story craze (not knocking it at all), but it's still refreshing to read right now.
This is not the scariest book I've read by any means, but it's still left me a little edgy. The ghost I have hanging on my front door for Halloween is scratching at the glass and making me jumpy. I may have to move it before I go to bed! I definitely won't be yelling for anyone to come on in tonight, that's for sure!
Oh, and I adore this cover. It's very creepy even at first glance. And then you look closer and see those evil eyes peering out at you....Just perfect for this book.
This is by Stephen King. I think you either like him or you don't. If you like him, you'll like this one. If you're new to King, this might actually be a decent place to start. I think it's a pretty good representation of his work. ...more
Ignatius Perrish wakes up after a drunken night with honest-to-goodness horns growing out of his head. At first, he thinks he's just going crazy. ButIgnatius Perrish wakes up after a drunken night with honest-to-goodness horns growing out of his head. At first, he thinks he's just going crazy. But as he ventures out into the day, he finds that other people can see them too; they're just too busy telling him their deepest, darkest secrets to really comment on them. Oh, and if they know him, they're telling him exactly what they think of him. That would be bad enough for anyone, but when you've been (falsely) accused of raping and murdering your girlfriend and the whole town thinks your famous father got you off, what people have to say to you gets real vicious real fast.
I hate the name Ignatius. Even shortened to Ig or, heaven forbid, Iggy, it's just awful. And then to pair it with Perrish. I couldn't help but think of Iggy Pop.
This was scary but not in a horror-y way. Well, not for the most part. There's the thing with the horns, but the real scare here is how this kind of thing happens every day. Again, not the horns, but the rape/murder of an innocent girl. And we always think it's the significant other who did it. Sure, most of the time it is, but what living hell the innocent ones must go through. Not only have they lost a loved one but they've been accused of doing it as well. *Shudder* Ig shows us exactly how little it feels that life is worth living after that.
What makes this so hard to read is that Ig was about to have it all. He and Merrin have a fantastic relationship. They're high school sweethearts who look like they're really going to live the happily ever after. They're both pursuing their career dreams and then they're not. And that is what makes this book so very difficult to read.
The horror-y bit that really, really got to me was the snakes. Oh my goodness, the snakes. I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to finish. I would say I have snake-a-phobia (Ophidiophobia. Don't say you've never learned anything from my reviews). Maybe I should have expected that this guy, who is becoming more devil-like by the day, would develop an affinity for snakes. I didn't. I'm sitting here shuddering just thinking about it. I would think, "Okay, I've got to be through it," and there would be more. When it really did seem safe, here the snakes came again and they were so, so, so bad. *trying not to think about it*
I'm also wondering if all boys really get up to the crazy crap that Hill and dad King write about. I mean, these guys get up to some insanely dangerous, destructive things. Did I have my head in the sand around the boy cousins I grew up with? They did some stupid things, but nothing like this.
I really liked that I was never entirely sure what to think of Ig. He says right up front that he didn't kill Merrin, and I believed him, but there's got to be a reason for the horns. I was rooting for him, but I was still questioning him a little. He can influence people and make them act on their darkest desires, and he does that a few times. What a heady, easily-addicting power to have. Was he going to come down for good or evil? I mean, c'mon, he has devil horns. He can't really be the good guy. Can he?
Hill slowly makes us question our perceptions, i.e. what looks evil vs what truly is evil. They are not always the same and yet we insist on conflating the two. Horror with a philosophical bent. Who knew such a thing existed?
Oh, last little tidbit--I loved that Judas Coyne was mentioned in this book! Will we someday need a concordance for Hill's work as well?
I prefer Heart-Shaped Box, but this was still another very strong horror novel from Joe Hill. I will definitely continue to follow his work....more
Everyone who knows pleasant Dr. Jekyll is surprised that he has taken the brutish Mr. Hyde under his wing. Hyde is a horrible person, and everyone whoEveryone who knows pleasant Dr. Jekyll is surprised that he has taken the brutish Mr. Hyde under his wing. Hyde is a horrible person, and everyone who meets him claims to be immediately repulsed by him. It's obvious that there's more to the relationship than meets the eye, but no one guesses exactly how twisted this relationship is.
Okay, you probably know the basic story. I think that takes a lot away from the book. I can imagine that this novella was shocking and horrifying when it was first published, but I just felt a little "meh" about it. I understand that there's a message about pride and ambition and man's dual nature and all that, but I'm usually looking for a good story. I'm not saying that this is a bad story, or that it shouldn't be a classic or anything like that, I just found it a little disappointing.
If you're interested, pick it up. If you somehow don't know what's going on with these two men, go ahead and give it a try too. It's a pretty easy read for a classic, it's short, and it would be creepy if you didn't know what was going on....more