In looking at the reviews, I see that Bones should be my new book boyfriend. While I'm enjoying the narration in general, the Cockney, Jacky Faber-esqIn looking at the reviews, I see that Bones should be my new book boyfriend. While I'm enjoying the narration in general, the Cockney, Jacky Faber-esque accent the reader has given Bones isn't working for me at all. I'll try again later in print....more
I adore Neil Gaiman's work, so I jumped at the chance to review this new collection of his nonfiction. I've read bits and pieces of his graduation speI adore Neil Gaiman's work, so I jumped at the chance to review this new collection of his nonfiction. I've read bits and pieces of his graduation speeches and stuff like that and it always makes me stand up and cheer, "Yes! This! This man gets it!" And that should probably tell you where my expectations were.
The collection covers a ridiculous amount of ground. There are the graduation speeches, convention speeches, introductions he's written for books by other authors, articles he's written for magazines, and it goes on and on. The man sure does get around.
And while everything is written with Gaiman's own inimitable style, the book is so big and the territory so varied that there were inevitably sections I just didn't care about. I'm not a big fan of science fiction, so all of that didn't particularly interest me. I do read graphic novels but I'm not widely read in this area, so I was a little lost in that part. I was mildly interested in looking up some of the authors Gaiman raved about, but I never actually wrote any names down and now I've given the book away so I don't think I'll actually find any of them.
Even the parts that I was interested in, such as the fantasy and his articles and speeches about creativity and making art, got a bit repetitive for me when assembled like this. I do appreciate that Bradbury was a phenomenal author, and I appreciate that he was a big influence on Gaiman's work. But two or three introductions/essays in a row about him left my mind wandering, even though they did cover slightly different ground.
Still, Gaiman is such a fabulous, curious writer in his own right and so knowledgeable about so many things that I will always recommend reading any of his work, including this collection. Even though I didn't love it, I appreciated the glimpse inside his own passions and beliefs and thoughts.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review....more
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