Vic McQueen is an average girl with a seriously abnormal ability -- when she rides her bike, she can open a bridge through space to find lost objects....moreVic McQueen is an average girl with a seriously abnormal ability -- when she rides her bike, she can open a bridge through space to find lost objects. When Vic tries to use her gift to find "trouble," she comes face to face with the equally gifted, and utterly evil, Charles Manx. Charles Manx uses his car like Vic uses her bike, but instead of finding lost things, he spirits children away into Christmasland, where they never grow old, never feel sorrow, and lose their humanity to become sociapathic monsters. Vic escapes Charles Manx, only to have her life scarred by the echo of Christmasland. When Charles Manx returns to target Vic's son, she has to pit her magic and courage against Manx's for the stake of her son's soul.
I really, really, liked this book, and if you like Stephen King's works, you probably will, too. It has that Stephen King flavor -- strange magic overlayed over realistic life -- but it's a bit more restrained. Don't get me wrong, the violence can still get super graphic, but where King would go over the top and get almost ridiculous, Hill keeps it a bit more down-to-earth. A bit. The climax still features (view spoiler)[ a circus full of corpses and a moon with a human face screaming obscenities. (hide spoiler)] The strength of the book was truly the characters, who are flawed, human, very three-dimensional and in our good-guys' case extremely likeable. The villains are also human and intriguing, but also completely evil and chilling. I loved Hill's work on Locke and Key and this book does not disappoint. I'll be picking up Horns and Heart-Shaped Box later.["br"]>["br"]>(less)
A man returns to his childhood home for a funeral, and suddenly finds himself remembering the strange events of his childhood -- when he was seven, an...moreA man returns to his childhood home for a funeral, and suddenly finds himself remembering the strange events of his childhood -- when he was seven, and met Lettie Hempstock. That year, an unfortunate man killed himself on Lettie's property, and unwittingly released something ancient and malevolent upon the village. When the eldritch entity threatens our narrator's family, Lettie promises to keep him safe. But at what cost?
As always Gaiman has his finger on the pulse of childhood fear, and this novel, though short, is intense and electrifying. An exceptionally well-crafted, bittersweet book.
Similar titles: Something Wicked This Way Comes A Monster Calls(less)
This book begins with Alex hiking into the wilderness, but unlike most teenage campers, she doesn't want to have a good time. She's going to decide wh...moreThis book begins with Alex hiking into the wilderness, but unlike most teenage campers, she doesn't want to have a good time. She's going to decide whether to kill herself or not. Alex, you see, has not only lost her parents in an accident, she has an incurable brain tumor. While Alex is in the woods, a massive EMP blast goes off. Some people die. Some people are unaffected. Some people, like Alex, gain strange new abilities. And some people turn into ravenous killing machines. Now Alex, in the company of haunted army officer Tom and eight-year-old Ellie, must survive in a dangerous new world where all they have is each other.
This book started very strong. I loved the premise, and it seemed like a clever, alternate take on a zombie apocalypse, because technically the Changed aren't zombies. I also liked the twist that the Changed are all young people, from their early teens to twenties, so that Alex, Tom and Ellie automatically become either figures of suspicion or valuable commodities to adult survivors. The action at the beginning is well-plotted and builds tension very, very well.
The second half, where Alex is in Rule, suffered from pacing issues. I know what the author was trying to do, moving into a more cerebral type of horror where she's wondering whether or not to trust other survivors and dealing with a restricted life, but the dark side of Rule was not strongly presented enough to keep the tension alive. The action just sloooooows dooown, but the characters aren't explored enough to be interesting. Then the book ends very, very abruptly. Editorial mandate, I wonder? I would rather have this book be more self-contained, even if it had ended much earlier and we had the second book set almost entirely in Rule. Then I might have cared about Chris. Maybe. Speaking of Chris, I could have done without the romance. It just seems unnecessary in a book with so much else going for it. Again, I have to wonder if editorial mandate was involved, like "This book has a girl main character...clearly it needs a love triangle of some sort!" I am so tired of that sh*t, I can't even tell you.
Overall -- worth a read, despite its frustrating elements.
Recommended for fans of: The Eleventh Plague The Forest of Hands and Teeth The Enemy Blood Red Road Rot and Ruin Enclave(less)
Fifteen-year-old Deuce has just been named, marked with three scars on each arm and become a Huntress -- charged with feeding her tribe and protecting...moreFifteen-year-old Deuce has just been named, marked with three scars on each arm and become a Huntress -- charged with feeding her tribe and protecting them from the carnivorous Freaks. In Deuce's world, everyone lives underground, and few people live past twenty-five. Deuce is assigned to partner with Fade, an enigmatic Hunter who claims to have come from Topside, and together they discover that the Freaks may be more of a threat than anybody realized. But will the enclave's elders listen to them before it's too late?
This book is long on action, but short on heart. While reading I felt like I didn't really know who Deuce and Fade were, and that made the action sequences oddly listless -- "Ho-hum. Zombies attacking someone I don't care about." The twists the story took detracted from its potential impact as well -- in the underground Enclave, everything has a claustrophobic kind of intensity. Once Deuce and Fade leave, the story becomes much more spread out and diffuse and looses its punch. Maybe if they had left the enclave at the very end of the story instead of the middle, the pacing would have worked out better. Still, this book practically booktalks itself.
Recommended for fans of: The Forest of Hands and Teeth Rot and Ruin The Eleventh Plague(less)
The modern master of Gothic horror returns...and there was much rejoicing. In this volume, Dr. Warthrop actually leaves his assistant Will Henry behin...moreThe modern master of Gothic horror returns...and there was much rejoicing. In this volume, Dr. Warthrop actually leaves his assistant Will Henry behind with his former teacher as he embarks on the most dangerous mission of his career -- to find Typhoes Magnificum, the Questing Beast of monstrumology, which has never been seen. Will finally gets to experience normal family life, and leaves it behind to save the doctor when he is reported to have died in action. Along the way, Will confronts the growing darkness in his own heart.
Like "Curse of the Wendigo," "Isle of Blood" takes a cerebral turn. Despite gore aplenty -- skinless monsters, nests made of human flesh, etc. -- the main thrust of the book is to explore the darkness within. I actually prefer the more visceral -- "chased by monsters" style of the first book. Don't judge me! Also, while Will Henry's character grows and develops over the course of the series, any character development on Dr. Warthrop's part seems to be completely erased by the time the next book rolls around. What the heck?
Recommended for fans of: Edgar Allan Poe Frankenstein Dracula (less)
Ben Imura needs a job or his rations will be cut. Sadly, the only job available that doesn't completely suck is to work with his brother, zombie-kille...moreBen Imura needs a job or his rations will be cut. Sadly, the only job available that doesn't completely suck is to work with his brother, zombie-killer and "closure specialist," Tom. Tom seems pretty awesome, but due to childhood prejudice and adolescent arrogance, Ben hates his guts. Their trips into the Rot and Ruin start to change Ben's mind about his brother...and a lot of things. But when very human monsters threaten Ben's friends, will both brothers make it through the trial to come?
For a book that I tagged "horror" this is not very horrific. In fact, it's kind of the Tom Clancy novel of zombie books -- glibly action-oriented without a real emotional center to actually create tension. Ben's irrational hatred of Tom just doesn't ring true - and, since that is the main source of tension for the first half of the book, it kind of sets the tone. If, as a reader, you can accept the emotions of the characters just because the author tells you they are there, you'll love this book. If you can't, read "The Forest of Hands and Teeth."
Just like Dead Tossed Waves, I felt that this was not as good as Forest of Hands and Teeth. Can't all be winners! Annah (Gabry-from-DTW's twin) is a t...moreJust like Dead Tossed Waves, I felt that this was not as good as Forest of Hands and Teeth. Can't all be winners! Annah (Gabry-from-DTW's twin) is a tough girl, used to taking care of herself, but when her sister and her friend Elias return unexpectedly...with hot-but-broken Catcher in tow, things get complicated. Will she be able to keep it together and survive the Hoard's arrival, murderous recruiters and her own tumultuous emotions?
A philosophical and bleak zombie novel, DaHP reflects on the nature of violence and the determination to survive in the face of impossible odds. While not as potent as Forest of Hands and Teeth, this book still packs a compelling combo of romance, horror and introspection. For those who like their zombie novels to have brains, this is a good choice.
Recommended for fans of: Life as We Knew It The Road(less)
A fascinating though unrealistic premise -- that to encourage citizens to value life, random people are chosen to die -- leads to some sensitive stori...moreA fascinating though unrealistic premise -- that to encourage citizens to value life, random people are chosen to die -- leads to some sensitive stories about people's reactions to mortality and the meaning of life. What would you do if you knew you would die in 24 hours? How would that decision change if you were mercilessly bullied as a child? If you were a musician who never really hit the big time? And what if you were the guy who had to deliver the bad news to those people...how would you react? A good manga for the deep-thinking crowd who like unusual stories.
Recommended for people who like: Before I Die Before I Fall Deadline(less)