In this book, Joseph and his daughter Robin go on vacation in a small Newfoundland village, and naturally, strange things start happening: there’s anIn this book, Joseph and his daughter Robin go on vacation in a small Newfoundland village, and naturally, strange things start happening: there’s an epidemic that causes people to forget how to breathe, coupled with drastic changes in behaviours, centuries-old corpses are being spit up from the sea, looking as if they drowned only yesterday, mythical or long-gone sea creatures start appearing (though some can only been seen by a few) and of course, ghosts.
This is a nicely atmospheric book, but, though I liked it, it suffers from Not Being Creepy Enough, in my opinion. Then again, I’m not entirely certain that the writer meant for it to be horror so much as something more like urban fantasy. The characters are all very well drawn - the villagers mostly all have a touch of eccentricity, without screaming "Look how eccentric I am!", which is always a danger when writing quirky characters.
The writing style is clear and concise, but still fairly complex, and I felt the bits where the villagers and Joseph start experiencing behaviour changes were creepier than the supernatural bits, but that’s fairly typical for me: the possibilites of human behaviour are scarier to me than weirdness. So other people may find it much creepier than I did.
This book was a quick, fun read. I’m for comedy in my horror, and this fits the bill – the zombie cows and veddy articulate ghouls were a good touch –This book was a quick, fun read. I’m for comedy in my horror, and this fits the bill – the zombie cows and veddy articulate ghouls were a good touch – and although there is, of course, an Armageddon looming on the horizon, the person orchestrating the destruction is a nicely non-typical power-hungry magic user, while being an utterly typical 17-year-old girl in many ways.
Earl and Duke are played off each other well, and the inhabitants of the town are not SO quirky as to be annoying; mostly they’re just normal folks who are used to weird stuff going on in their town.
Comedy’s harder to pull off when mixed with horror, I think, but Martinez does it well, and hey look! He’s got more books! I may try them out. ...more
I tried to read this but just couldn't slog my way through it.
The jacket copy sounded really intriguing, but I didn't get halfway through it. The bigI tried to read this but just couldn't slog my way through it.
The jacket copy sounded really intriguing, but I didn't get halfway through it. The biggest problem I had with this book was that I felt tried far too hard to be Airy and Phantasmagorical and Mystically Vague and forgot that a plot was actually necessary. It wanders and doesn't actually get anywhere, the prose was overstuffed, and not a single character actually caught my attention. I was disappointed, beause it was a very interesting premise, but the author just didn't pull it off, IMO. ...more
The chapters have titles like, “In Which He Speaks to Animals," "How He Tamed the Giant," "His Immortality”, and while such tales read charmingly likeThe chapters have titles like, “In Which He Speaks to Animals," "How He Tamed the Giant," "His Immortality”, and while such tales read charmingly like American folktales, William realizes that the myth built up around his father – by other people and by William himself – has kept him from knowing anything at all about the man his father really is.
That’s pretty much it; it’s a very quick read, Edward Bloom is built up to Paul Bunyon-like proportions (metaphorically speaking), and William tries very, very hard to get under the protective shell of his father’s legend, in hopes that it will help him understand something. It’s an interesting, original look at a father-son dynamic. ...more
Truth be told, I’m sick to death of vampire stories. There’s so rarely anything original or new in the genre, and I’m really just not a fan of the SexTruth be told, I’m sick to death of vampire stories. There’s so rarely anything original or new in the genre, and I’m really just not a fan of the Sexy, Mysterious, Dangerous Creature of the Night thing anymore.
However, I do love Robin McKinley, she’s the only reason I picked this book up, and I’m glad I did. Turns out this book isn’t “about vampires” in the way you might think; Sunshine’s world is either ours in an unspecified future, or an alternate versions of ours in which magic is very real, supernatural creatures are every damn place, and vampires are just one of the dangers that lurk in the night.
I liked Sunshine because she’s really pretty flawed: she’s got no real ambition other than to continue baking at her stepfather’s coffee house, she doesn’t want to do anything heroic, she’s not precisely warm, friendly, or social, and she freely admits that she’s not a brave person,and that at times, she’s a huge bitch for no real reason. And she’s really not interested in much of anything outside the coffeehouse or books.
I quite like the vampire, Constantine, as well. McKinley seems to have made absolutely no effort to make him in any way attractive, and in fact, makes him nerve-wrackingly inhuman. Actually, she does that with any vampire we see in the story, points out how very human they’re not, which pleased me. Not only that, Constantine almost seems to treat the human world as an aside – not necessarily that he and all vampires are superior to humans, just that the world of humanity is neither here nor there, which I found interesting.
I s’pose I should’ve expected this type of approach; McKinley does love her some twists on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, and this does kind of boil down to that. Except there’s no romance (although there is some accidental nakedness) which is certainly refreshing, but frankly, I’d be willing to read vampire romance she wrote, because she so rarely annoys me with her unlikely romances. ...more
This book is one of the least creepy "creepy" books I've read in a long while. There was nothing I found disturbing, unsettling, or even that weird, tThis book is one of the least creepy "creepy" books I've read in a long while. There was nothing I found disturbing, unsettling, or even that weird, there was almost zero suspense, and the characters seemed to exist merely as excuses to reveal something supernatural and theoretically scary.
Most of the stories seemed to be cut from the exact same dough, just with a different cookie cutter - they all felt very alike to me. I didn't even read the novella because I was too bored by the rest of the book by the time I got to it....more
I love the Bordertown books, but this is my least favourite. I could never quite put my finger on why - I like the travel-guide sections between the sI love the Bordertown books, but this is my least favourite. I could never quite put my finger on why - I like the travel-guide sections between the stories, the stories themselves are hit or miss, but that's normal for anthologies, and there are some interesting characters.
Then I read an Amazon review (I think) that referred to this volume as "gentrified", and realized, by Jove, that's it exactly. It somehow feels gentrified.