Even if it's just sitting in the shade with a lemonade pitcher: "If this isn't nice, what is?"
Kurt Vonnegut's prose draws me in so fast because it alw...moreEven if it's just sitting in the shade with a lemonade pitcher: "If this isn't nice, what is?"
Kurt Vonnegut's prose draws me in so fast because it always came off as this cranky ol' man who's just SO DONE with the world, but he tells his woes with the slickest humor of them all. And I laugh after every paragraph or two. Getting to read speeches of his to graduates about moving on, one could see where he gets his skepticism from, as well as discover the few points that he is really wanting his audience to take in.
My personal favorite story of his has to be what the book's titled, "If this isn't nice, what is?" It's always looking back on the great things in life, and not just looking back, but announcing them the moment you experience them in your life. You relax by the beach without a care in the world, you get the job you always wanted, you FINALLY meet Robert Downey Jr. for the first time, you kiss someone you've always wanted to kiss. If that isn't nice, what is?
He doesn't dumb down vocabulary or even stop the brakes so the graduates understand. He talks to them directly and you can just see from the speeches that he's a man with a lot on his mind and then some. I'd love to write with as much wit and satire as Vonnegut, but I doubt I'll get there.
Mostly though, if you feel lost, let Vonnegut give you a little insight, congratulate you on beating puberty, and also apologize for our world's intoxicated state with petroleum.
The guy's hilarious. If you haven't read his stuff, please do.(less)
Amazing art style with interchanging media gives a lovely insight to the world of the Crow, the story of a man who is brought back to life to...more4.5 stars
Amazing art style with interchanging media gives a lovely insight to the world of the Crow, the story of a man who is brought back to life to avenge the deaths of himself and his wife, Shelly.
Read this when you get the chance. Like the art style, the story is gritty, uncaring, and sculpted into a fine piece that I'm proud to have read. Shelly is based off O'Barr's own wife who he tragically lost, hence got him to create The Crow.
Fabulous story, and unlike Black Hole, the high contrast didn't bother me. Maybe because I loved the designs of O'Barr more than Black Hole. That'd do it for sure.
Also, pretty fucking sure Christopher Nolan was inspired by the Crow for his Joker makeup. Look at the two are them and tell me I'm wrong. GO on.(less)
Valerian Kimble, a fourteen year-old lover of track, finishes practice one day to find a red rose in her locker with a lovely poem! Splendid!
And that...moreValerian Kimble, a fourteen year-old lover of track, finishes practice one day to find a red rose in her locker with a lovely poem! Splendid!
And that’s where the story begins.
Val is pretty sure she has a stalker, and she’s NOT sure whether she likes this or not. And it’s here that some readers as said, “ARE YOU BLIND? Of course it’s horrible! Don’t even think about liking this one bit!!” But not everyone was of sound, competent mind at fourteen. I know I wasn’t. And it’s here that I’ll start my review.
FEARSCAPE: THE MUSICAL REVIEW
WRITING. The prose is simple yet effective. One of the golden rules of writing in general is this: If You Can Say It in Fewer Words, Do It. Exactly what went on in Fearscape. I found the prose enjoyable for several reasons.
The production of character voice in particular is Campbell’s winning point. Gavin sounds different from Val, who sounds different from Lisa, who sounds different from Lindsay, from Rachel, etc. Everyone has his or her own distinction and it was painfully easy to tell who’s who. This is SO goddamn important in writing, and it was great to see this nailed first thing. (view spoiler)[Prime example was Gavin’s journal entries. The mindset of a dangerous boy with horrible goals is in the spotlight, and it is terrifying to read. And how does Campbell do this? She starts with mating of animals, and right there you see where this beastly intent came from, where this need to possess and “rule” over someone could come into fruition. Yes, it takes quite some time to finally get there, I was not disappointed when I got there. Excellent. (hide spoiler)]
She also does well in plot work and character-driven points. Minus a few moments (like the social media messages and locker visits), a lot of things Val experienced were from her own wants and desires, and so she acted on them. I really got to know her from the choices she made whether they were good ones or bad.
What caught me out of my intrigue on occasion was a few dialogue and description sentences. Where the prose was nice and easy to get into, I received a line where a kitten ran “as fast as greased lightning,” a phrase similar to Grease and the very song Grease Lightning and it pulled me out of the reading. Just a word of caution there. Watch for those phrases that could draw someone out of the reading. Shockingly enough, the few typos I saw didn’t do such a thing.
Another point that pulled me out of the reading was toward the last quarter of the book, where, almost out of nowhere, we follow Mrs. Kimble’s POV, then Val, then Ms. Wilcox. If it were throughout the book, then I’d be fine with it, but it wasn’t and it caught me off guard. But speaking of people other than Val, let’s get to characters, yes?
VALERIAN ‘VALERIAN NOT VALERIE, YOU IGNORANT SLUTS’ KIMBLE
Honest to God, Val is a reincarnation of my 14 year-old self. She’s a redhead, she has green eyes, she naïve as hell, and she runs track. NENIA CAMPBELL, DID YOU STALK ME, MAYHAPS? Because everything she did, I had this little thought of “that’d be me totally.” The stray kitten? “LEMME AT ‘EM! Here kitty!” Getting the rose in the locker? “Weird, but it’s pretty! And poetry, ah!”
Now there’s been commotion about Val being extremely naïve throughout this story, and I’m gonna up and say that I was completely okay with how she was. Obviously, on a few occasions I wanted to get in there and guide Val to do something better and with more thought or common sense even. But here’s the thing: the more I read into Val and the things she did, the more I thought about myself.
I was Val in high school. When some kids learned about relationships or growing up or even got close to a boy before high school, I was among the people who just did not care about those things for a long time. In doing so, I did not know better. Val does not know any better. While sometimes, yes, it goes a little far, I completely understand it, because I would love to smack some sense into my younger years and give her a clue. I am totally in Val’s shoes and I can relate in a heartbeat (except I was never stalk so there’s that). And it’s not just because she and I are ginger pals.
And especially when she learned what she needed to, Val almost forced herself to grow up. And it was a great turnaround to be gifted with having dealt with her uneasiness for ¾ of the book. Overall, she did well as a main character and I’m eager to see her in three years time with the knowledge she obtains during that time.
GAVIN “Should’ve Been a Biologist” MECOZZI
Another piece of honesty. Gavin is my favorite character. He’s got that archetype that I love seeing. GIVE ME YOUR HATE. GO AHEAD. But you know why I love to hate this guy?
Because I was able to predict from very far ahead that Gavin was off. Did I mind? No, because then I got to watch the dramatic irony of it all. (view spoiler)[You KNOW right from the pet store scene that Gavin is Val’s stalker. It’s pretty hard to miss. (hide spoiler)] You sit, and you know, and you squirm, because with your knowledge and your watching Gavin go, it is that much more creepy, awkward, and terrorizing.
Gavin was a near perfect character for me. He has no shame. The only thing I missed from knowing his character was a representation of the boastfulness he shows in those fucking amazing journal entries. On that confrontation I just wanted it to be pushed even more so. He’d do anything, but he’d also go on about it too because he knows he has Val slowly trailing after him. He has nothing to worry about. And it’s just scary in that aspect alone. To go right after and coax Val to the school is…ooh I love to hate this guy I swear.
EVERYONE ELSE BASICALLY
Everyone had voices. Lisa had her sass, Lindsay had her spunk, Lisa's mother, Mrs. Jeffries, was FUCKING HILARIOUS despite lasting what, three pages? Everyone was developed enough for me to care about them. Ex: when Val and Lisa got into a fight I got all sad because 1) THEY WERE BEST FRIENDS C’MON, and 2) Lisa was the only person who really stressed to Val the danger she was lingering around. Val really needed Lisa and when she didn’t have her, she went to Gavin and that WAS SUCH A BAD IDEA. But hey, it was character driven.
Structure. This was the biggest hit to the rating. Yes I was verily entertained throughout the book, but the pacing desperately needed help. While I loved the jump to “Fuck That” territory with the journal, there really should have been more of a build up. Something that added to the etching of ‘MINE’ on the locker door. Maybe actually seeing the rush of another body in the locker with Val. Something that could really spook her and make her rethink of the lengths this stalker would go for her.
If there was a middle point where the danger was heightened further and causing more discomfort and thinking from Val, then this would have been smooth sailing hands down I think. Either way the moment Val went to Gavin’s a second time, this was my breathing pattern.
Calm and relaxed like Val and her knife.
Despite the shortcomings of the pacing and the grammar errors and sometimes weird prose choices, I loved reading Fearscape. I was verily entertained, and I just loved how REAL these characters were. They didn’t feel flat to me. They acted and sounded like actual people I know in the world and that’s something I definitely miss in traditional YA.
I’m just gonna read the second one as soon as I can because I want more Val and I want more Gavin so Val can kick his booty to Mars. IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO MY VAL, GAVIN, as much as I like your character, YOU ARE GOING DOWN.
Holy piss was this entertaining. I'm totally on board with mixing the Egyptian and Greek mythologies of the afterlife. I'm just glowing with excitemen...moreHoly piss was this entertaining. I'm totally on board with mixing the Egyptian and Greek mythologies of the afterlife. I'm just glowing with excitement for this series now.(less)