H.P. Lovecraft's Achilles heel is dialogue, no doubt. However, At The Mountains of Madness has none, and therefore is simply page after page of what LH.P. Lovecraft's Achilles heel is dialogue, no doubt. However, At The Mountains of Madness has none, and therefore is simply page after page of what Lovecraft does best: narrate. At the Mountains of Madness is easily one of the most terrifying books I've ever read... and that's saying a lot.
It starts out rather sluggish, with Dyer's descriptions of what technology is being taken on their expedition and what the weather is like and at what longitudes and lattitudes they're stopping bogging down a bit of the narrative. Not to say it's badly written - because it isn't - but for someone who doesn't understand much about archaeological expeditions, it was difficult to get through. However, by the second chapter, it finds its groove and from then on out it is brilliant. The pacing, the horrors, everything. His descriptions of creatures are both helpful and misleading, leaving enough up to imagination that it adds to the anxiety you feel as Dyer and Danforth dig further and further into the mysteries of the Mountains of Madness.
I enjoyed this novella immensely, and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of horror....more
This book FREAKED ME OUT. It was ridiculous... I am so glad we are not at this point quite yet, but geez. Everything about this book was so unnerving.This book FREAKED ME OUT. It was ridiculous... I am so glad we are not at this point quite yet, but geez. Everything about this book was so unnerving. I side-eyed television screens for WEEKS....more
This book was surprisingly good. Bits of it annoyed me, and sometimes I was so angry I wanted to throw up, but ultimately I really enjoyed it. I'm looThis book was surprisingly good. Bits of it annoyed me, and sometimes I was so angry I wanted to throw up, but ultimately I really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series....more
I don't even know what to say about these books anymore that wasn't just said about the book that came before... so I'm actually just going to post aI don't even know what to say about these books anymore that wasn't just said about the book that came before... so I'm actually just going to post a blog I wrote about the first 4 books. It doesn't talk much about the plot, but to do so anyway would spoil the book entirely. It's best ye just read it, cully, and get the feel yerself, if ye kennit.
I'll say this about the plot, though: it was never lacking. Not in my opinion. There was not a surplus of action, but there was plenty of good story telling. At the time of finishing, Wizard and Glass was my favorite of the set, as three had been before it, and two before that.
"I started reading the Dark Tower for a number of reasons. First was the constant… Nagging isn’t the right word, but it’s the only one I can think of… though maybe persistence is better suited for this. The persistence of both Erica and Meaghan that I should read it. Also, my friend Randy was going to start, and he’s one of the few people I can talk to about King’s works. Third, for reasons unknown to me - Mayhap it was Ka - I desperately wanted to read Wolves of the Calla. Being the fifth book in the series, I was wont to read it without first knowing the characters and back story. Now, 4 books, a hundred emotional meltdowns, and 2100 pages later, I’m ready - and able - to follow this Ka-tet into the story I’ve been waiting to read.
And yet, I don’t want to press on before I take a moment to talk about these books. They’re some of the best I’ve read by King - or anyone - both in technique and story telling. The writing style is exquisite but more entrancing is the way King enhances the story as he goes. The books get longer and longer with each volume (looking to back off a bit by book six and then rise with a vengeance in book seven) but it’s not daunting. Each book NEEDS to be longer, IS longer, but FEELS shorter. And they actually get better with each one; it’s not iffy - or hasn’t been so far - like Harry Potter was. It’s consistently better, book by book. The Gunslinger is a great story; each following story leaves the reader with a “how is he going to top this?” feeling. But he does. Somehow, he does.
And the characters… Glory be, the characters! I’ve been known to fall in love with literary creations before, but I’m wont to say i’ve ever loved characters more than Jake, Eddie, or Cuthbert. And it took no time at all. I adored Jake from the moment Roland met him in the way station; Eddie took but one small section of The Drawing of the Three to cozy on up in my heart and Cuthbert - sly, witty, not-at-all-foolish Cuthbert, with his jokes and his rook’s skull and his humor filled eyes and his fate I know all too well - grabbed me the moment he chastised Roland for mistreating the lookout. they’re fantastic characters, the lot of them, that are recognizeable the moment they’re introduced.
The story itself is beautiful and tragic and so engaging. It’s creepy how King manages to fill the reader with Roland’s obsession with the Dark Tower. The length of the books and the impending loss of the characters - no matter how painful or foreseen - won’t keep you from reading further. Your anger may boil and your tears WILL flow, but you won’t cry off your journey, you win’t forget the face of your father, you won’t - or can’t - renounce the tower. Like Roland, you become a slave of Ka the moment you turn the first page, hoping no longer for a good story, but to be able to stand and be true when the tower is before you.
I’ve got three of these left, and I am terrified of what awaits me (namely in this, and the Song of Susannah, as well as the horrific events that took place at Jericho Hill, with Hambry to their backs) but also hungry for more, hungry for the Tower and what horrors lie inside."...more
I greatly enjoyed this book. It was an interesting character study on families, grief, and the pain of not knowing. It's a touching, bittersweet, andI greatly enjoyed this book. It was an interesting character study on families, grief, and the pain of not knowing. It's a touching, bittersweet, and often infuriating novel that is definitely worth the read. ...more
**spoiler alert** I really don't know what to say about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I can't break it down into a "what's good" and "what's bad" s**spoiler alert** I really don't know what to say about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I can't break it down into a "what's good" and "what's bad" style review, because it's really just this mess inside my brain right now.
I expected this book to be a sort of dark thriller, but I did not expect it to be as gritty and violent as it was. The murders themselves were grotesque; though they weren't focused on/described in a way that was meant to give the book a long-standing gore appeal. They were simply stated as they would be in a newspaper, or police report: the details were important. The same was with the "sex scenes". There were quite a few of them, but not one went into great detail... it did not focus on the sex, simply stated that it was had.
The hardest thing for me to swallow in this book overall was simply the way women were treated. So many of the core, central female characters were subjected to rape in one way or the other. Like the consensual sex scenes, the rape scenes are not described in detail (save for one that has a bit of detail, but not too much)... but they are rather unsettling, and tend to get under your skin. A number of women in this book are subjected time and time again to sexual assault, as a result of someone of authority abusing their power. It bothered me just how sick some of these individuals are.
Initially, I was a bit perturbed about the fact that these events were not real, that they had come from Larsson's mind. It's one thing to read an event like the ones in the book like they had actually happened, it's a complete other to know someone created a character for the soul purpose of going through something that disturbing. But then I stumbled across this little gem: "Larsson, who was disgusted by sexual violence, witnessed the gang rape of a young girl when he was 15. He never forgave himself for failing to help the girl, whose name was Lisbeth – like the young heroine of his books, herself a rape victim, which inspired the theme of sexual violence against women in his books." This is a bit understandable. If the books were written - on some level - to raise awareness against sexual violence (something that is far more common than it should be in modern day society), then they'll sit a bit easier. And I do believe that's what he was trying to convey... at the beginning of each portion, there is a small quote, stating what percentage of women endure certain kinds of sexual assault from men each day, how many don't report it, etc. etc. And as a book written to raise awareness against sexual assault, it does a great job. I have never been a fan of rape, but after reading this, I feel I hate it even more than I did before.
It also does a great job as a murder mystery/thriller. The writing is good, the suspense is there, and the characters are solid. The research Salander and Blomkvist do is laid out so plainly that I couldn't help but take my own notes, and the last half of the book became a race to see who could figure things out first: Me or them. And it is a solvable mystery; the clues are there, you just have to find them.
Overall, it is a well written, yet greatly unsettling novel. I think I enjoyed it, but I was also disgusted, skeeved out, and flat out repulsed at times. And a little frightened (it's hard to look at the murders/murderer and ignore the fact that people like that do exist in this world)... but if you can stomach it, it's worth the ride. The pacing is slow at first, but picks up soon enough. If you can wade through the initial sludge that is the Blomkvist vs. Wennerstrom lawsuit, you'll be greatly rewarded.
FINAL WORD: Read at your own risk. Not for anyone under 18, or those with weak stomachs....more
It was really hard not to give this book 5 stars... It certainly deserves all of them. As much as I loved The Gunslinger, and more so The Drawing of tIt was really hard not to give this book 5 stars... It certainly deserves all of them. As much as I loved The Gunslinger, and more so The Drawing of the Three, The Wastelands was my favorite yet. These just seem to keep getting better and better (I'm pretty sure Wizard And Glass will be better still) as King finds his stride and grows comfortable with both his characters and the world they inhabit.
The Wastelands reads like two books, the first about Roland and Jake's fractured memories, and the second about Lud and the ghosts that live beneath the cities surface. Still, the book flows smoothly, boasting a near perfect blend of twists, suspense, puzzles, and humor. The Ka-tet is wonderful together, growing off each other's strength and weaknesses.
The Dark Tower series isn't necessarily a horror series, but it wouldn't be Stephen King if it didn't freak you out on some level. In typical king fashion, he makes your skin crawl with little fears you don't always know you have (a bear that sneezes maggots, a house that isn't, a train with split personalities - one of which is going insane, etc. etc.). Mid-world is pretty horrifying in its own sense, as is the fact that Roland's world is simply moving on... And so is he. And, no matter what is happening - a light hearted moment between Eddie and Susannah, a near death experience, or just them camping - there's a sense of impending doom that you can't shake. You realize two things while reading this book: 1. You are just as much a part of their Ka-tet as anyone else (a fact you grow to love because you love THEM), and 2. Some - If not all of them - are going to die on this journey. And yet you can't put it down, because you have to see them through to the end, be that at the tower or sometime before, along the path of the beam. It's something I can't explain. Ka.
My favorite thing in this book by far is the mention of the turtle. The mention of this small character opens up an entire world of possibilities that is merely subtext in the grand scheme of things, and I love it. So well done; King is truly a master of the craft.
The only bad thing I'd say about it is that it's nearly 600 pages long, and leads RIGHT INTO the fourth book. So, if you don't have time to read two books back to back (collectively 1300 pages, roughly), I wouldn't suggest starting this. Other than that, it's a fantastic epic that gives King right to be mentioned in the same breath as J.R.R. Tolkien....more
I'm on book six of this series now, but I gotta say, "Perfect" is probably the best of the series. The ending left my brain feeling like a million tinI'm on book six of this series now, but I gotta say, "Perfect" is probably the best of the series. The ending left my brain feeling like a million tiny fireworks were going off inside it!! Not only do the girls get SUPER close to figuring out who A is, they also get a TON of surprises.
Without giving too much away, it's interesting how alike/different the show and the books are. I watched the show first and, frustrated with some of the inappropriate relationships and how they were portrayed there, decided to start up with the books. The relationships are handle a little better, but there are also things that really annoy me; for instance, how Ella handles the secret that Aria has been keeping for who knows how long, or how Hanna's relationship with Mona fluctuates. And then there are Spencer's parents, who just when you think they can't do anything to appear like worse caregivers than they already are, they go and out do themselves.
It's definitely easier to understand the need to keep a spotless reputation in Rosewood in these books. And while there are things about Shepard's writing that are almost insufferable, I can't help but read these back to back to back.
**spoiler alert** I'm glad the series is over, but I like the ending, too. Part of me still wishes this had ended with book 8; the girls happy, Ali ou**spoiler alert** I'm glad the series is over, but I like the ending, too. Part of me still wishes this had ended with book 8; the girls happy, Ali out there somewhere, the Poconos having been the last, final showdown. That was a great ending. These later 8 books have been a mess. They were overly formulaic, predictable, and the girls were far too often just downright stupid. So many authority figures were idiots, as well (no one wondered why the girls let Ali keep a pen and a journal when they were "torturing" her? The DA thought a convicted murderer was their star witness? No one asked HOW Ali stashed the journal in the woods? Modern day songs being played despite only 2 years having passed in the whole series? Etc. etc.?) and it made these final 8 painful. But they had their good moments as well, relationships were rekindled, I'm content with the endings for the girls, and for the fun (albeit predictable) twist. Part of me will be sad to see these books go, but I'm so glad the series is over.
Please let Ali rot in prison, Sara. It's time to let Rosewood go. We had our fun, let the girls be happy. Thanks. ...more
I completely understand why I was so excited to read this volume of the series.
No, that's not entirely right. I still don't know why I was so excitedI completely understand why I was so excited to read this volume of the series.
No, that's not entirely right. I still don't know why I was so excited to read this book before I had opened the first page, why it should have been the volume that got me to read the series to begin with, and why I was so excited to finally get to actually read it. I still don't know that. But I think I do... I think part of me knew how great the book would be, mayhap another part of me made the connection between the word "Calla" and the priest that left Jerusalem's Lot all those years ago (both within the timeline of the book and in my own life; I read 'Salem's Lot years ago), or mayhap I just liked the cover of the book. No I'm not kidding... people say not to judge a book by it's cover, but sometimes I do.
And by sometimes, I mean all the time.
Regardless, having now read it, I know why I had reason to be excited. It really is a great book. I've noticed reviews are somewhat mixed on this issue, and that's totally fine. For me, I'm wont to find another King book that resides on the same level (of the tower) as Wolves of the Calla. It was that great. It's the type of book that asks more questions than it gives answers, but does it in such a crafty way (So I say, thus let it be so) that you don't realize you're not getting any answers. You don't REALLY realize it until the last page is turned and your mind just explodes.
You don't realize because you're too busy going todash. You're too entranced by Black Thirteen, or the wondrous song of the rose, or ice pick of pain behind Susannah's eye, or by just what the hell the wolves are, and why is Andy so damn smarmy? Amidst all of this are the Sisters of Oriza, and the Doorway Cave, and Calvin Tower - yes, the one and only - and Aaron Deepnau (does the name ring a bell?) and Pere Callahan.
Yes, that Pere Callahan. One of the larger draws to the series is that it plays off of/integrates other King works into its very core, or so is rumoured. And up until now, it's been minimal, with the thinny!Topeka in Wizard and Glass being the most obvious (unless you're really versed and know much of the name Deepnau). But Wolves of the Calla turn all that on its head by not only integrating 'Salem's Lot, but devouring it and weaving it into the very fiber of the book. And it's just... it's so wonderfully done. Meanwhile there are the doors, and the books, and just... everything.
It was very well done, almost too short despite the ridiculous amount of pages, and I wish there was just a touch more. But alas, there is not, and so I press onward. I've got but two more volumes in this series, after which, I'm not sure what I'll do. Still, Wolves of the Calla deserves all 5 of these stars. No more being conservative; this was a damn fine book....more