The second installment of this popular series, The Little Vampire Moves In, was one of my childhood favourites, and even inspired me to make a vampireThe second installment of this popular series, The Little Vampire Moves In, was one of my childhood favourites, and even inspired me to make a vampire cape for a Halloween party. Even though I have read the book countless of times, it's in an excellent shape. I loaned some of the next installments from the library ages ago, but in a random order and I can't remember anything about them anymore. It doesn't really matter that much if you don't read the books in order, but I have an obsession for it. I finally wanted to read this first one, and dive into the nostalgic world of the von Schlotterstein vampire family.
This did have the familiar magic, although I didn't get the exactly same feeling of excitement that I used to. The series was my first confrontation with vampires, and maybe partly because of this I prefer the traditional vampires that smell like sweaty coffins and soil. Here vampires aren't too tame, as you would think from a children's book, but for example aunt Dorothee still had that creepy air around her. It was interesting to realise that the feeding habits of vampires aren't even once referred to directly as biting. Anton's family is charming, but not ridiculously perfect. Mom gets a tad too curious all the time and dad gets angry easily. A special mention goes to Amelie Glinke's illustrations, which stuck into my mind ever since I saw them for the first time. The delicate gossamer pencil lines fit perfectly for the atmosphere, and the characters to the overall charming character of the book....more
The only reason why I borrowed this from the library in the first place, was that in the last two years I've grown an interest in US states and theirThe only reason why I borrowed this from the library in the first place, was that in the last two years I've grown an interest in US states and their unique features, but also in the history and religions of indigenous peoples (actually, I should be writing an essay about Australian Aborigines right now, but oh well...). Combining New Mexican Navajo culture with murder mystery seemed too interesting to miss, although my bag was already about to throw up on the street.
The symbols on the covers of this series hint that Native American mythology has the biggest part in these stories. You basically have to be interested in the topic, or you might get bored during the parts that to me seemed a bit detached from the story. I mean, they were interesting, but I didn't get anything out of the story except for the religious stuff. The last pages have a relatively exciting chase scene, but the fact that I didn't care about the crime itself is probably bad news for a detective novel.
Joe Leaphorn was a mysterious character, and not in a good way. Sometimes he thinks about something, then he talks with someone, then he thinks about something etc. He just seems so passive and cold, because Hillerman hasn't created a vivid character, or at least a character that would satisfy me. I still have no idea who the hell Leaphorn is. On the plus side, Hillerman has researched his stuff well, but sometimes it just felt like I was reading an article instead of a story with real people....more
Thank god for Ebay, you've made my day countless of times. This time I used you for the first time to buy a book instead of clothes and miscellaneousThank god for Ebay, you've made my day countless of times. This time I used you for the first time to buy a book instead of clothes and miscellaneous trinkets, and I have to say that three pounds for this gorgous fairy tale was a bargain (postage included!).
The story is charming and down-to-earth, and maybe even a tiny bit rugged, thanks to the witch hunt scene. The silhouette illustrations fit the story perfectly. Although they seem a bit too simple at first glance, they are actually extremely meticulously drawn and full of magic. Babka, the main character, is modest but brave, and doesn't want to change herself one bit. Therefore there is a lesson to be learned, but it's not shoved in the reader's face, instead it can be found if you want to search it....more
Damn it... Abandoning this for now. Stream of consciousness is just too much for my brain capacity at the moment. So this has got nothing to do with tDamn it... Abandoning this for now. Stream of consciousness is just too much for my brain capacity at the moment. So this has got nothing to do with the quality, I just can't focus on this. Better luck next time! Hopefully soon, I really want to see the movie......more
Appealed to my adventurous side. As a kid I wandered in the woods and climbed on rocks, so back then this would have been an absolutely perfect book.Appealed to my adventurous side. As a kid I wandered in the woods and climbed on rocks, so back then this would have been an absolutely perfect book. Loved all the different creatures, and how Lidngren described the relationship of Ronja and her father....more
There's no narrative voice in Puig's novel, only dialogue. Despite this the novel is wonderfully multilayered, and Puig has subtly weaved the storiesThere's no narrative voice in Puig's novel, only dialogue. Despite this the novel is wonderfully multilayered, and Puig has subtly weaved the stories of the main characters among the recountings of the films Molina has seen. Loved the choice of films, Cat People (1942) and I Walked with a Zombie (1943) among others. By recounting films the jail time of Molina and Valentín goes by faster, helping them to forget the harsh reality. However, reality seeps through the stories because you can't ever escape it completely. There are also interrogation documents and footnotes. The footnotes deal with psychoanalytic theories of homosexuality, but I didn't quite grasp their function. In my opinion they didn't add anything to the story. As a whole, though, they don't matter much. Puig's unusual novel is well worth the read. You should also check out the 1985 movie, William Hurt is amazing.
Oh, and you can interpret the ending in two ways. You can either consider it as sad, or if you know Molina, as an ultimate fulfillment and blending in with the movie heroines he so admires....more
Update 10.10.2013 Saw the film several months ago, and it was awesome. Spacek was great as Carrie, and knowing what would happen at the end didn't botUpdate 10.10.2013 Saw the film several months ago, and it was awesome. Spacek was great as Carrie, and knowing what would happen at the end didn't bother one bit. - - - - The story is short, but effective. After the humiliating shower scene (what a bunch of moronic apes...), the events start rolling along like a tornado. The blood bath of the prom night is referred to every once in a while, so mentioning it wouldn't really be a spoiler. The novel is actually quite melancholic despite the horrific events at the end. King's touch is delicate when he recounts the snapping of Carrie, and the cruelties that teenagers can do to each other.
Even though the story is told through multiple perspectives, and some of them in the form of diaries, letters and investigation reports, they don't interrupt the flow of the story but complement it nicely. You can also conclude, that afterwards most don't remember Carrie's sufferings. She's only remembered as some kind of faceless monster, who needs to repent her sins (kind of like what her nutcase mother told her). An idiotic practical joke destroyed Carrie's efforts to reach a connection with other human beings. And because Carrie as a result took the wrong turn at a crossroads, the innocent suffered on the side.
A lot of people may know Carrie's story already, some through de Palma's movie which I shockingly enough have not seen yet. There was a chance to see it at the local film club's screening a while ago, but I wasn't able to make it. Maybe that was for the better, though, because I was only now able to read the book, and the film may have ruined this for me....more
Oh boy, this woman has a somewhat crazy imagination. It's like anything can emerge from her brain. There were a few weaker stories (mostly short snippOh boy, this woman has a somewhat crazy imagination. It's like anything can emerge from her brain. There were a few weaker stories (mostly short snippets and sci-fi), but the stronger ones were rich in language and absolutely beautiful story-wise. If you like fairy tales, I think the last one (White as Sin, Now) is especially going to be to your liking, since it combines a couple of them in quite a clever way.
Overall the topics were just what I'm interested in: vampires, werewolves, mythology etc. but with such twists I have never read before. Weird and sometimes confusing stories with a little bit of fairy tale magic on top. Unfortunately I couldn't give this a full five stars, because the weaker stories were really boring and quite pointless. One of them had mostly just some philosophical babbling that felt detached from the story itself.
Favourites: The Gorgon, Elle est trois (La Mort), Nicholas, Red as Blood and Bite Me Not or Fleur de Fur...more
**spoiler alert** I'm expecting a train wreck worthy of the Big Bang, but I seriously need to satisfy my curiosity. I mean, the thought of reading thi**spoiler alert** I'm expecting a train wreck worthy of the Big Bang, but I seriously need to satisfy my curiosity. I mean, the thought of reading this has been banging in the back of my brain for weeks now!
* * *
Damn, where to begin... This was actually the first time during my entire life, that I wrote down stuff on a piece of paper while reading. Forsyth didn't make me bulge out of rage as I expected, he just more or less made me confused and annoyed. The book is still bad, though. Horrifyingly so.
Let's start with the preface, that so many users here have found downright insulting. Again, I was pretty scared when I started reading it, but didn't find it as bad as I thought. The brief recounting of Phantom's history was fairly interesting, but Forsyth's attitude towards Leroux's novel was at times a bit strange. For instance, he claims that "Leroux appears also to have made an error with the position, appearance and intelligence of Madame Giry, an error corrected in the Lloyd Webber musical". I mean, what the hell? The creation of an author can't be an error, it's just simply a creation which was meant to be like it was envisioned by the author. You can criticise it, but you cannot claim an ownership of something previously created by another person. Like Forsyth seems to be hinting, you certainly cannot claim that the product based on the original thing is the one and true only.
One thing in the preface does make sense: the suggestion that Erik's past told by the Persian in the novel is implausible. Why someone widely travelled and after being a contractor of the opera house where he would be bound to meet people, would suddenly reject all human contact and move under the opera house? I haven't read the book in ages, so I only need to presume the story of the Persian is how Forsyth tells it, which in my opinion as well is beyond comprehension. However, despite the inconsistencies in the actual story, I wouldn't go so far as to try to rebuke the whole Persian character and claim he is an utter liar in everything else as well, when clearly it might have been just a writer's mistake.
In the novel itself also, Forsyth seems to forget that Erik and the musical Phantom are two different manifestations of the same basic character. He chose to use the name Erik, yet the Erik we know from the novel is a sadistic psychopath compared to the musical Phantom, who is lonely, misunderstood and on the verge of a status of a romantic hero. You cannot mix those two and expect a coherent story, especially when Leroux didn't create a love story but a horror story. Although Forsyth claims that when you strip away the useless stuff you get an extremely romantic love story. If you're a blind illiterate and forget Leroux's intentions, then maybe.
Strangely, Forsyth also claims through Madame Giry that Bouquet was depressed and committed a suicide. We already know from the musical (which Forsyth is mainly basing his sequel on) that the Phantom hanged Bouquet, so he wasn't such a sweetheart either. Maybe the suicide was Lloyd Webber's original idea, and since he planned the sequel together with Forsyth it was never changed? Who knows, but it just seemed weird to further glorify the Phantom when he clearly made mistakes and resided in a grey villainous area.
Before I read that the Phantom landed on a desolate place full of outcasts, far from the bureaucracy of Ellis Island, I wondered why wasn't he turned back to where he came from, since in Ellis Island they were pretty strict about deformities and everything else that might have affected New York's shiny reputation. So at least that Forsyth got right. Then again, he seems to spend an awful lot of time in namedropping and describing stuff that doesn't have any relevance story-wise. In fact, if all that was stripped, only a small short story would have been left, if even that. A glaring inconsistency happened at the final confrontation, when the reporter claimed he heard what was said between Phantom and Christine. In the beginning he told us he couldn't speak a lot of French, yet the two must have been talking in French. Why would they use English, when their native language was French?
The thing that bothered me about the whole execution of the novel was exactly that: 90 percent of the story was told by someone else. In addition to the fact that the writing was clumsy and too modern, the characters didn't have distinct voices. There were even a couple of newspaper articles by some random people who didn't have a proper place in the actual story. All these different perspectives made the story seem like a real mess, and left all the characters (especially Phantom and Christine, let alone Raoul who could have been a mere footnote) paper thin and useless. I didn't recognise any personalities from either the novel or the musical, because there were no real personalities to discover. It's like Forsyth put everything hastily together during the course of one evening.
Some of the plot devices on the other hand were absolutely ridiculous, and more implausible than any that Leroux wrote. During the short amount of time that Christine spent at the lair of the Phantom, they presumably had sex. Um, right... I'm not denying there couldn't have been any feelings of affection or even love after all those years (despite the fact that the Phantom stayed invisible the entire time), but that Christine would have let him made love to her? Quite a laughable idea that she would have let things go so far, especially when considering that the character of Christine is angelic and innocent.
Anyway, Forsyth then goes even further by coming up with the idea that a child was born out of this moment of weakness, and that because de Chagny was shot in a tender place years ago and as a result couldn't conceive children (??), they knew the child was the Phantom's (he discovered this through a letter from Madame Giry). Well, in the end the poor confused child is made to choose between his birth father and the father who raised him. Quite strange, even if you didn't know that the child heard about his real father just a second ago, when Christine was shot by the Phantom's crazy sidekick. Well, what happens then? You guessed it, Pierre isn't at all scared by the Phantom's face and chooses him. I can't imagine this would happen in any real world situation.
What baffles me the most, is the participation of Andrew Lloyd Webber in this atrocity. I'm not exactly sure in what extent he was part of the writing process, but I know that a musical sequel went into planning relatively quickly after Phantom had premiered (the plans were eventually abandoned), and that apparently he had discussed with Forsyth about making a novel. That means that at any time he could have stopped Forsyth and cancel the whole novel. I have no idea what came to him that he didn't see the mess, but I only have to assume that he's either not much of a reader or that he was just too polite to say anything. What comes to Love Never Dies, the musical sequel that finally premiered in 2010 and was - gasp!- cancelled shortly after, it didn't have a memorable score and the basic idea of the ridiculous plot was retained. No offence Ramin, I still love you and forgive you for being part of it, because otherwise you wouldn't have been chosen to be the Phantom in the anniversary concert!
Wow, that became the longest review I have ever written. I just hope I never have to bump into this book ever again, even though I'm glad that I can now at least say that I read it. If some people think this is a completely plausible and well written story, I just can't take them seriously. It doesn't work as standalone novel due to the thinness of characters, let alone a sequel. I mean, if you're a Phantom fan, then by all means try it, but don't say I didn't warn you about not losing anything important by not hunting this down. Wait, there is one small plus to all this: it's short, so you can get it out of your system quickly!
PS. If you're interested in a Phantom sequel, I'd suggest you search for a fanfiction called Demons. Now, I read it years and years ago so don't hold me responsible if it turns out to be utter crap. I'm not even entirely sure about the name, but I do remember that in the Phantom community it was at that time regarded as one of the best ones....more
From Matheson I have read I Am Legend, which was a decent and thought-provoking vision of a world infested with vampires. The film version of The IncrFrom Matheson I have read I Am Legend, which was a decent and thought-provoking vision of a world infested with vampires. The film version of The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) also offered pretty good entertainment. Plus, the giant cat was cute. This Matheson's idea of a haunted house on the other hand was mostly a bewildering experience, despite its fairly promising start. I mean, a dying millionaire gives a task to search afterlife from a scary house in exhange for money promised, if not that special writing, then at least some chills and spookiness. Yeah, not really.
For some reason the author seems to entertain this strange concept (I'm not saying this as a feminist but as a friend of horror) that extreme sexuality of women or between women is somehow Satanic, and is perfect for scaring people instead of proper ghosts or other paranormal phenomena. Right. It felt more like the author's personal problems with sexuality. I would understand if we were talking about a 19th century novel, but in a 1970s novel it doesn't work (at least for me). The poltergeist phenomena were so yawningly cliched and long-winded, that they weren't anything near scary or creepy.
Towards the end it actually got worse, because the increasingly ridiculous events started to bug me real bad. The long lectures about parapsychology (remnants from Matheson's sci-fi books?) and Lionel Barrett's nauseating obstinacy and arrogance didn't help. I would have probably quit reading if this had been any longer, but I was curious about how it would end. Not a satisfying conclusion by any standards. The king of all anticlimaxes. There was also the typical cancer of modern horror movies: people do stupid things by jamming themselves into places where it really isn't ok to go.
I should probably mention here, that cliched haunting isn't necessarily a bad thing if it's executed neatly and stylishly. You also can't blame the age of the book for the tameness, as in all the forms of hauntings have supposedly already been seen in so many books and films, that they don't scare people the same way. Yeah right. Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (1959), one of my favourite books, is not just a stylish psychological horror novel, but also a fantastic book in its own right. It gives way to different interpretations, and its age only shows in its charm. It's written beautifully, it got me to curse my decision to read it after midnight, but most of all it's a great combination of traditional horror elements and 1950s charm, with a multifaceted protagonist. Hazy and creepy, and the film version doesn't fall too far from its poetic greatness. Let's not forget The Shining (1977) either, shall we?...more
If I hadn't had a crippling flu, I would have read this on one sitting. Tryon conjures up a sympathetic small town, whose residents drink cola duringIf I hadn't had a crippling flu, I would have read this on one sitting. Tryon conjures up a sympathetic small town, whose residents drink cola during a heat wave, and where kids run around in the fields and vegetable sellers drive trucks. The oppressive feeling doesn't just come from the heat though, but from the weird relationship of the twins and especially from Holland's behaviour. Actually, the twins' appearance kind of reminds me of Village of the Damned (1960).
After two thirds of the book there was a major surprise, which almost got me to choke on my toast. I just stared at the words for a while, because I hadn't experienced a mindfuck like that for a long time in a book. Surprises don't always work for everyone, but I have a feeling this will. I needed to turn back the pages a bit to see if any hints were given, but you wouldn't know that thing beforehand because the reader's focus is on other stuff.
As far as the horror aspect goes, this focuses strongly on psychological horror. A certain image got stuck in my head, and it can't be erased no matter how much I want. The atmosphere is therefore created from mental images, mood and the quality of the reader's imagination....more