I have to admit, I'm not one of the people who read every single book King has ever written, but I've read enough of them and I've always like his styI have to admit, I'm not one of the people who read every single book King has ever written, but I've read enough of them and I've always like his style and the way he can make a story come alive and his characters breathe. He can make you fall in love with the characters or hate them or fear them... he can just make you feel stuff. Usually stuff that make you think twice before you go to the bathroom at night.
Stephen King is a big deal in the world of literature, which is why, weeks before this book came out in the Czech Republic, people were asking about it. And I felt intrigued. Like I said, I haven't read all his books and I don't sit around waiting for his next to come out. But when you hear about something so much, you start to wonder.
Well, no, no it's not. I already knew that when I started reading it. I knew it was one of King's non-supernatural books and I was ok with it. I read Misery and I loved it, so I should like this, right?
As you can see from my rating, wrong.
I would love to say that it was amazing and it deserves the aclaims and the Goodreads choice award and all that. The truth is, the only reason I can imagine for this book winning that award is that people voted for the author not for the book.
One thing I remember I felt throughout most of the book was confusion. I wasn't sure what it was that King wanted to write. It wasn't a crime novel, it wasn't horror, there wasn't much mystery in that either. The only theory I came with was that King noticed the rise in popularity of the nordic crime thriller genre and wanted to have his share in the trend. The result is a novel that is average in its genre and far below average in King's bibliography.
It was not a complete disaster, but I'm bitter. And there are other feelings that made me give the book only two stars, which I will relate in a minute.
There are three main things I usually notice in a novel and I think it's very similar for most people. I notice the plot, the characters and the style.
The style was one of the more pleasant things about this book. I was a bit taken aback with the use of a present tense for a 3rd person narrative, but it was mostly because I'm not that used to it. King switched into past tense when he wrote flashbacks, which was something I really liked. It's neat.
King has a way of using words that fit the mood of the narrative and I felt like he did good with it in this book too, though there were some parts, especially when talking about technology, when the speech of the character felt forced and unrealistic. Another this was that they blabbed out a lot of unnecessary things that had nothing to do with the story and I had no idea why it was they were talking about it. Maybe King was trying to show how people can switch from one thought to another when they're talking, but it didn't work when he wrote that down. It didn't work at all.
While we're talking about forced things that didn't work, I don't know what's the deal with King and the LGBT community, but there was a lot of weird, off sentences that mentioned gay people. It mostly felt like someone told King he should put something about gay people there because it's a big topic now or something, so he went back to the text and randomly added thoughts about how someone was gay to the characters' minds. And the most clichéd lesbian character ever.
Another attempt to follow one of the hot topics was probably Janelle, who I can only guess was supposed to be a strong female character. I wish I could call it a "nice" try.
I got off the track here a bit, so I'll get back. The second thing I notice is the plot. In this case, I had very conflicted feelings on this topic.
For starters, almost nothing happened for about a half of the book. It was mostly just the two main characters, Hodges and Brady, thinking about each other and sometimes communicating through writing (which was a clever move on King's side though because he could use his experience when Hodges was figuring things out from Brady's style - write what you know). Things only started to get even remotely exciting in the second half, but even then, I was mostly switching between two emotions: cold disinterest and anger.
Which gets me to the biggest problem of this book: the characters!
In the first half of the book, I had absolutely zero interest in the two main characters. In Hodges' case, that lasted throughout the whole book. I started to get morbidly interested in Brady later in the story. Apart from that, there was only one character that I really liked, one that I didn't mind, and another that I thought I liked at first but then realized I was wrong and I don't care about them at all.
I liked Jerome. I actually think he was pretty much the only reason I finished the book. Jerome is a very smart teenage boy that works for Hodges occasionally and has a very bright future in front of him (probably Harvard). He was a breath of fresh air in a story that was otherwise mostly dull.
The character that I didn't mind was Holly. She was at least interesting if nothing else and I cared about what happens to her. I felt like King was maybe slightly clumsy when he was writing her, even though most of it made sense give her condition. But it was so different from King's other books where the character breathe and come alive in front of my eyes. Holly was a puppet, not a woman.
Then there was Janelle, out attempt at a strong woman. When I met her, I was almost desperate to find anyone else in the story besides Jerome, I could care for, which was why I tried really hard to find her likeable and to relate to her. I failed. She was a walking cliché of the worst kind and I couldn't make myself feel anything about her. (view spoiler)[I didn't even blink when she died. King was talking about her ripped off arm and I was almost bored. (hide spoiler)]
Brady didn't seem that interesting at first. I mean, aside from the fast that he stole a Mercedes and used it to kill people. He was a little disturbing, but not enough to actually make me interested in what he was going to do next. It only came later when King started to get a little more into his backstory, that I started to wonder about him. The scenes with him were the only parts of the book where I felt the strongest emotions (usually disgust) and just for that, he deserves some sort of medal as a character :).
Then there's Hodges. Even though I knew that this wasn't a supernatural story, I thing it would actually be a lot more interesting if Hodges succumbed to his suicidal thoughts at the beginning of the book and then investigated his biggest unsolved case as a ghost who can't move on, because this is his unfinished job.
As it was, there was nothing even remotely interesting about Hodges and certainly nothing that would justified a trilogy being written about him. He is another walking cliché. A retired cop that is haunted by a mass murder he's never solved. I did think it was a good thing that King managed to avoid another cliché that is a cop being manipulated by the killer. It was actually pretty much the other way around in this case.
But it didn't cover the fact that Hodges was an absolute fail of a character. I can only guess King wanted him to be a really nice guy that everyone likes and a retired cop that was really good at his job. The result of that was a guy I only felt anything about when I got mad at him for being irresponsible and unbelievably stupid. He spent the book making up reasons for not telling the police about Mr. Mercedes. It would be believable if this was a character that had bad experience with police and had a reason to be distrustful, but this is a former cop for God's sake! He has connections and people he can trust and that trust him (wonder why). So I'm sorry, but this was a huge fail on King's part. Even when he tried, probably out of lack of ideas how to make Hodges' stupidity plausible, to make it personal for Hodges, he failed even worse. (view spoiler)[I yelled at the book because of this. Janelle died because Hodges tried to track down a murderous maniac and not only that, he got other people involved. (hide spoiler)] It seemed to me like Hodges was determined to talk about what he was doing to all the people he met, except anyone even remotely competent to deal with this kind of thing. And when he was confronted with the consequence of his choices, he went and made the exact same choice again. (view spoiler)[Janelle died because of him and instead of telling the police what he knew (and he had like a thousand chances to do that), he barely shared a tear about his dead girlfriend (who he claimed to love after knowing her for just a few days), before getting another person actively involved, this time a kid with his whole future in front of him, and a mentally unstable woman. What kind of cop would do that? No, scratch that... What kind of person would do that? (hide spoiler)]
I quite liked the climax of the story though. It was exciting and I cared how it would go down for a change (view spoiler)[and it also helped A LOT that Hodges wasn't present for a lot of it due to his heart attack, which was probably King's way of trying to make the climax even more exciting, but that effect was spoiled by the fact that I couldn't care less if Hodges dies or not - besides, there are supossed to be another two books about him, so of course he wouldn't die (hide spoiler)].
It's not much, huh? It is weird to look back at a book written by Stephen King and realized there were only very few things that I liked about it and most of them weren't even that important. King would do better if he abandonned Hodges and went back to his usual genre. Or possibly turn Hodges into a ghost, like I suggested :). I'm pretty sure he would be at least a slightly more interesting then.
I seriously doubt I will read the other two books when they are published. And if I open them, it will be for Jerome and Holly, who might not even be there. I actually kind of wish they weren't, so I would not be tempted to read the books.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was amazing! Much better than the second book and it even beats the first book. It's the longest one of the series, but it's a page-turner. It's fThis was amazing! Much better than the second book and it even beats the first book. It's the longest one of the series, but it's a page-turner. It's filled with suspense and mystery, but it's also written with this very tasteful, dry sense of humour that lightens it a bit (but seriously, just a little bit). This is not even a regular crime novel anymore. The first two books weren't that typical either, but they were close. This one though? It's basically a spy novel. Seriously! Everyone spies on everyone and an information no one is supposed to know spreads around like wildfire. At one point in the book there is about twenty people all working for Lisbeth Salander (who is supposedly friendless), but they don't know about each other. So there's a secret police agent (on Lisbeth's side) who spies on another secret police agent (against Lisbeth) who spies on Mikael Blomkvist who knows they're spying on him, so he hires a security agency to spy on those who are spying on him, while he's spying on the first secret police agent, because he doesn't know they're on the same side. It's crazy and it's so absurd you believe every word of the story. You're cheering on the main protagonists and you are mostly satisfied with how clever they are, but the dark side is strong. And it does have it's cookies, so you're not sure to the last minute if they are going to win. And again. You come to the point of the story where you think it's all over and then suddenly an innocent scene changes into a character fighting for their life. This book is very closely connected with the second book. So much that it should be just one book. The first book is a bit detached - it's basically it's own story and kind of an introduction to the two main protagonists, so you would understand them and like them at least a little bit. The third book is the grand finale in every sense of the words. It's been a while since I have been this thrilled by a book, so it definitely goes to the top shelf....more
It was great, really, even though I didn't like it as much as the first one. Ironically enough it was probably because this one was much more terrifyiIt was great, really, even though I didn't like it as much as the first one. Ironically enough it was probably because this one was much more terrifying. Yes, Mikael was in danger in the first book, but it was very brief and it was over before I could even realize what was going on. In this book, however, there was a threat hanging over several characters that I liked. Lisbeth, for starters, even though I wasn't really worried about her that much until the end of the book. At the end there was a moment that really, truly scared me and I had to stop reading for a while. I was sitting in my chair, holding my head in my hands, trying to understand what had just happened and what it could mean. I didn't expected it one bit. Yes, I did expect the outcome of the situation a bit, because I didn't believe there was any other way out of it, but the situation itself was a complete surprise for me. This book is definitely not your mediocre thriller where you can tell exactly what will happen next and how it will happen. And even if this particular situation was resolved, it was still not over and I was scared every minute of the next chapter. With the other two characters in danger, frankly, I expected it. (view spoiler)[There were passages about Mia and Dag that were incredibly typical for this particular outcome and it was like Larsson went out of his way to make me like them while at the same time telling me that those two are going to die. (hide spoiler)] Larsson has a way of using typical passages with an expected outcome, so you think you understand where this is going and than he twists it in the last moment. You think it's over, because this is how it usually is in other books, but it's not over yet. He establishes a fact and then tells you then you read a seemingly unimportant dialog and BAM! One of the characters just drops the bomb when you least expected it. So, yes, I loved it. But loved it in the ambivalent way, because you can't really love something that drives you to the edge and makes you cry for people that don't even exist. It's the same kind of love I have for The Picture of Dorian Gray. I bet Larsson was a psychologist in his former life. Like the life before the one in which he wrote this book, because he probably lives another right now. Either he's a higher ethereal being as a reward for how amazingly terrifying his books are or he's a squirrel as a punishment for the same thing...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
That book was seriously good. Very entertaining and thrilling and very easy to read. Another thing that always gets me on the author's side is a stronThat book was seriously good. Very entertaining and thrilling and very easy to read. Another thing that always gets me on the author's side is a strong female character and this book has it. Myfanwy is a kick-ass female character, despite (or possibly because) she was written by a guy. And she's more amazing for the fact that there are two very different Myfanwys in the book and we get a psychological insight in both of them. Sometimes, the epistolary passages were a bit boring, especially when they launched into a lengthy explanation about something. And it wasn't always immediately clear what exactly is the point of them. But the truth is that it was probably the best way of introducing the reader to the complex system of the Checquy organization. The whole concept of a secret organization operating to protect the country against supernatural creatures or phenomena is not all that original. What is original, however, is the depiction of it. The supernatural abilities are various and extraordinarily imaginative. The way that Checquy works is amazingly complex and bureaucratic - so much it seems like a boring routine. That alone sets a contrast which creates a disarmingly ironic perspective. There were a few things that didn't really fit the whole picture. Like the fact that a whole bunch of policemen with guns couldn't kill a minor Grafter that randomly attacks a police station, while several pages later, a head Grafter is killed by a spear. Ok... Also, the whole problem with the Grafters is a bit exaggerated. It's introduced as the main issue of the book and it looks pretty impressive - you know, two powerful organizations of two powerful countries in a conflict, infiltration, spies, attacks, not knowing who to trust and all that jazz. What really happens though is that the few relatively minor conflicts that were supposed to be a part of something much bigger are resolved and then...that bigger thing just disappears. Suddenly, it's not an issue anymore. Alright, to be fair, it is resolved, but in a most amazingly unsatisfactory way ever. Think Breaking Dawn. Yes...THAT bad! So, that's the star I've taken away. But it seems like there might be another book, so there's room for improvement. And if there is another book, I'll definitely read it and I'm looking forward to it!...more
The book started off good. But most of the thrill I got from the beginning was totally killed when I encountered the main protagonist. I understood frThe book started off good. But most of the thrill I got from the beginning was totally killed when I encountered the main protagonist. I understood from what I heard about the book that her life and family is supposed to be the key to the murder, but, unfortunately, most of her family was dead (apart from her husband, who was ignored through most of the book) and her life was so boring it hurt. There were long passages of her reminiscenting over her past or scenes that seemed to only serve to one purpose - to slow down the plot. It got a lot better in the second part of the book, where we follow a young Chinese man on his voyage to America and then back to China. I got my hopes up during that part only to be let down again when we came back to the judge who first took annoyingly long time to decide if she wanted to go to China with her friend and then, when she got there...wait for it...NOTHING HAPPENED! There were a few "mysterious" incidents, but basically I just really didn't care. Then she came back. After that I made one last try to go on reading, when I realized that we'd get to encounter another character, but I had to give up. I only gave this book two stars for the beginning and for the part with the Chinese guy. Maybe I'll get back to it when I'm in a mood to read boring thoughts about marxism from one of the most boring characters I have ever encountered....more
Alright, so there really, actually is a reason why this book is classic. In his own, a bit creepy, way, Orwell was a genius of imaginative writing. NoAlright, so there really, actually is a reason why this book is classic. In his own, a bit creepy, way, Orwell was a genius of imaginative writing. Not only he draws a picture of a scene, he also adds sound and motion and insight and the whole terrifying creature comes alive and scares the hell out of you. There are several kinds of monsters that can crawl out of a book:
1. Mrs. Black: It screeches at you and it might scare you, but when you throw a blanket at it, it'll shut up. Those are books that may give you chills and make you feel like everything is going to hell and beyond, but when you put them aside, you can go on with your life without worrying about it. (The Woman in Black)
2. Confundus: You know that something happened in the book that deeply disturbs you, but you're not sure what it is. The feeling goes away when you put the book aside, but comes back when you think about it. (The Square Persimmon and Other Stories)
3. Umbridge: What really disturbs you is the fact that you can't go to certain characters and yell at them at the top of your lungs - either to explain what exactly you think about them or possibly screech some sense into them. Because you know they're wrong and you're right, but you JUST CAN'T TELL THEM! (Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, Witch Hammer, The Name of the Rose)
4. Boggart: You can fight it and convince yourself that it's a laughing matter, but shutting it into a wardrobe will not get you rid of it. Those books are deeply disturbing mostly because you know very well that stuff like that can happen...that they do happen. (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
5. Dementor: It's very difficult to fight and you have to be very strong to manage it. Those books are more and more terrifying the more you think about them and in the end you wish you never thought about them at all. (1984)
It's apparent that 1984 is well-written, well-built, chilly story that might talk about some imaginary dystopian state, as well as about everyday reality, our society, our minds, our relationships. It's an eye-opener...to a certain point of the story. Which is why I couldn't give this book five stars. Had I stopped reading at the end of the second book and skip the third, the five stars would be a given. Up until then, Everything was perfectly balanced - the images, the thoughts, the memories, the plot. It was escalating at the exact right speed for it to have the right dramatic effect and the characters, even though they were tools (of the author and of the system) rather than normal characters, were easy to identify with. The first two parts left me mortified. It scared me how much it reminded me of a certain aspect of this society and even more how helpless people are when it comes to practices like that. It was a bit like the study of manipulation that is The Picture of Dorian Gray, but this was worse, because it went much deeper. The third part went on with the gradation and it tried to push a bit further, but it was a bit too much. Orwell overdone it - at least that's how I felt. One can't really blame him, because it had to be like that, it had to be perfect and whole. But that last step was what left me thinking that maybe, it's not so bad. Perhaps I'm too much of an optimist, but I just realized that no matter how bad it gets in this society, it won't be that bad. The book is better for it...and it's worse for it. The third part probably saved me from a lifetime of paranoia, but the book also lost a lot of its effect because of it. A bit of an anticlimax, if you ask me. Also, what made the book scary in the first two parts was the fact that I could easily identify with the characters and I cared about them. Of course, the third part was scary and disturbing, but suddenly, it wasn't personal anymore. I stopped caring because for me, Winston and Julia died at the end of the second book. In the third part, their personalities and practically everything I liked about them and everything I understood them for was murdered. Yes, I was sorry for them. And if the book was left at that, I would have a chance to really feel that sadness and it would be the peak. Instead I was forced to watch what happened to their still living bodies. It was horrible and disgusting and deeply disturbing, but however cold it mind sound, it was not my problem anymore. The characters I cared for died. Suddenly it all felt unnecessary and too perverse to be realistic. Therefore, for that little disappointment, I left one of the stars out....more
I never really liked all those movies about deathly pandemias. I decide to read this book because it was classified as a dystopian sci-fi and I was cuI never really liked all those movies about deathly pandemias. I decide to read this book because it was classified as a dystopian sci-fi and I was curious as how the author grasped this. I found out that I probably misunderstood the whole concept of a distopian sci-fi. Or who knows, maybe the classification is because of what happens in the other two books. Plus, we don't know what's going on on the continent. Still, I'm not sure if it's a good idea to choose the genre based on what we don't know. Other than that I have no serious objections. It was kind of a light reading (if it wasn't for the topic it might even be boring). But since the plot was interesting enough I was even able to read through the rather slow beginning. That doesn't mean that I didn't take it into consideration when I was evaluating the book. The cost was actually about one star. The other star was mostly for the style of the book. I don't know what's wrong with good old ich-form, even though I understand it might seem boring and overused (especially when it comes to YA novels). The letters (or diary) style always seemed a bit useless for novel writing to me. Of course, it depends on what kind of novel you write, but using it in a story with action and clear, rapid development is contraproductive. Also, by usign this style you practically rule out the element of immediate surprise. The purpose of this particular style might be to help the reader to relate to the main character. Ironically enough, it had the opposite effect on me. Not only did I not really understand her, I was also annoyed by the way she expresses herself. Especially by the way she adressed this Leo once in a while in this weird style that looked a bit like a love letter from 19th century. As a whole, this book was easy to read, enjoyable enough to finish and I didn't regret reading it. I probably won't pick up the second book though. Despite the open ending, I'm quite content with it and I don't want to know what happens next. This was enough of a closure for me. I would read the sequel only if I didn't have anything better to read, which is unlikely....more
I was very pleasantly surprised. My friend was talking about it at work and I was in the mood for a historical ficton at the moment, so I decided to sI was very pleasantly surprised. My friend was talking about it at work and I was in the mood for a historical ficton at the moment, so I decided to scan the first few pages to see if I can handle the topic. I usually tend to avoid historical fiction about the twentieth century, so I didn't really intend to read the whole book. But scanning the pages turned into reading the first few pages, then I had a lunch break and nothing better to read and suddenly it was more than few pages, I grew closer to the characters and I wanted to know more. I bought the book and read it for real. The best thing about the book are the characters. Despite the fact that most people don't agree with the idea of communism nowadays, it's surprisingly easy to understand the motivation of most of the characters. They aren't caricatures of their time. They are real people with real problems and real feelings however twisted or paranoid some of them might be. When we look into the historical books, it seems like a horrible time and it was. Montefiore shows us that people are still people even in the worst times. There was no place for love and yet we see romance, there was no place for friendship and one of the characters still risks his life to help his dearest friends. The story is horrifying and I wouldn't recommend this to overly sensitive people. It's even worse, because it actually happened. Maybe not exactely like this, but fairly close. From all I know about the book, the author and the era, it's probably a slightly different picture put together from the same puzzle pieces as the reality. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to relate to Sashenka. She is a convinced communist from the beginning to the end. One of the characters in the book says that when it came to killing people, the difference between the Nazis and the Communists was that the Nazis knew what their doing is wrong while the Communists believed that they are doing the right thing. I heard that before, but only now I truly understood what it meant. Sashenka did believe she's doing the right thing and that Stalin is great. Despite all that I liked her, because I understood why she had to belive it. The first part of the book set in Saint Petersburg in 1916 introduces us to Sashenka and her family and the reasons why she became a communist. She's very young here, only sixteen and she still has a certain naivety of her age mixed with determination and pride. But she's not unpleasant. She cares about people and you can see that she doesn't want to hurt those close to her. The huge plus of this part is the amazing description of the time before the Russian revolution (I almost felt like I was there) and the struggle Sashenka goes through while trying to harmonize her desire to be a good communist so the other would treat her like a grown woman and her tendency to grow close to people and then love them even when they disappoint her. The second part is the best part of the whole book. We move to Moskva 1939 and we see Sashanka as a grown woman with a husband and two children she loves above all. The author makes you to go through all the emotions during this part. From happiness, to grave sadness, amazement, shock, surprise, sympathy, admiration and much more. You feel all this with Sashanka and for Sashenka. This part alone would get five stars. The one star I didn't give to the book is mostly for the last part. It's a huge step back from the second part. It takes place in 1994 and it's mostly there to reveal those parts of the story we weren't able to see in the first two parts of the book: the reason for Sashenka's arrest, what happened to her after she confessed and what happened to her children. It's the weakest part when it comes to plot and the characters. But it's still rather good. I recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction and a good story. You can read many stories about love, friendship, courage, sacrifice and about what a mother is able to do to save her children, but set into this particular part of our history, it emphasizes all those things into something epic that shows us what humanity is really about. I guess it's about the contrast....more
I'm not really sure how to deal with a review for this book. Ususally, I read the book and then go see the movie or the other way around if I can't reI'm not really sure how to deal with a review for this book. Ususally, I read the book and then go see the movie or the other way around if I can't read the book quickly enough (try to read the Game of Thrones two weeks before the series comes out and deal with exams at the same time). In this case I tried to read the book before the movie went out, but by the time we finally got the book, I had three days to do it and I had to be at work the whole time. I work at the book store, so reading at work is no problem, but there are customers and things you need to do first. All in all, I was about three-quarters into the book by the time I saw the movie. Granted, if I wasn't assured by the massive advertising campaign, I probably wouldn't suspect that the movie had anything to do with the book. Which is understandable. If the movie wanted to be successful it definitely had to press further. Where an fleeting feeling of uneasiness does well in the book, the movie has to spell it out for you, preferably with an appropriate musical background. I wasn't disappointed and I liked the book and the writing style. And there were moments where I held my breath waiting what's going to happen. Yet, the book only got three stars from me. There are several reasons for it. It's incredibly brave to write a horror story (or a gothic novel) in retrospective. It probably can be done, but in this case I mostly saw it as a huge mistake. I would probably get over it if the "present" hero seemed to be influenced by the events. In this case, the hero only constantly reminded us that he was influenced and told us why, but that was about it. "Don't say it, show it" is one of the golden rules of fiction writing and there is a reason for it. The setting was great. A land of seamists and marshes, a small town full of people that definitely know something, a trail that disappears at a high tide and an abandoned old house in the middle of dangerous marshes. Utterly gothic. What's less gothic is the pleasant weather that gives all this a summer-house feeling. It's possible that the author wanted to lull us into a lazy state of peace so there would be a bigger contrast when the danger comes. Instead, it made half of the book "one day in the life of a lawyer" kind of story (which is, however, quite popular these days for some reason - the age of Joyce and Woolf is back). I'm not saying it's boring. It's actually a lot better than most of the books that are supposed to be about the day of a lawyer in the first place. But it didn't create any contrast. It created confusion at the most. What I like about the book though is that it was written by a woman. It might not be of much importance if most men who write horror stories weren't convinced that the appeal of a horror story measures in the litres of spilled blood and the number of dead bodies. In The Woman in Black I cared about two characters (one of whom was a dog) and both of them lived it through. And, no, I'm not contradicting myself. I liked that they lived, but I didn't need to find out at the beginning of the book. Three stars are still a lot and I decided to read other books by this author as well. She made a few decisions for the style and the plot that I might not agree with, but that doesn't change the fact that I actually really enjoyed reading this. And finally, I can't pass this opportunity to compliment Daniel Radcliffe on his performance in the movie. He never was a wunderkind to me, but he made progress over the time and it shows in this movie. So, thumbs up for both the movie and the book....more
I remember that I really liked the movie when I saw it and it was mainly the reason why I decided to pick up this book. When I was reading it, I was rI remember that I really liked the movie when I saw it and it was mainly the reason why I decided to pick up this book. When I was reading it, I was remembering the scenes from the movie and gradually I became more and more confused about why I liked it so much. The story is interesting and there is no real reason why I shouldn't like it. But there is also no particular reason why I should. I usually read several books at once (three on the average). Some people think I'm crazy, but I realized that it helps me to read more quickly and effectively. Firstly, it happens to me sometimes that I need to stop reading the book, because of a heavy scene or because I'm not in the mood for it or I just want to let some thought in the book "ripen" before I continue. When this happens I can easily pick up some other book instead of wasting time. Secondly, this system helps me to sort out the good books and...well, the not-so-good books. When I realize that I keep picking up other book so I wouldn't have to come back to some old one, I can see that there's something wrong with the book. It's not neccessarily a general problem, but it's there for me and it's apparently big enough to keep me from finishing the book. And when I compare it to the books I was reading along with it I can usually see the problem. With the Mummy, the problem basically the absence of anything that would make me want to come back to it. It's not a serious problem. But it is a problem. I made no real connection with the characters. Not even Evelyn whom I liked in the movie. And not even with Rick (gasp!) whom I considered to be a walking cliché even in the movie, but the book actually managed to make it worse. I didn't even dislike any of the characters, I felt indifferent to them. As for the tempo of the book, it was fast. A little too fast if you ask me. It's usually a good thing when the author doesn't bother with details too much or they don't fiddle with the character's history and so on. Collins managed to overdo it. The plot actually goes so fast that sometimes you don't even realise that something happened, because he doesn't stop, he just goes on. Maybe that's why the whole book felt indifferent to me. It's not a bad book, but it's one of those that makes me move on with a shrug and a "so what". And I had to make myself finish it....more
This is one of these books I've heard a lot about (mainly at school) and I wanted to read them, but somehow never found time to do it. Now I finally pThis is one of these books I've heard a lot about (mainly at school) and I wanted to read them, but somehow never found time to do it. Now I finally picked it up. I don't know what expected, really. But this was not it. I'm not disappointed though, as you can see when you look at the rating. I was deciding between three and four stars while I was reading and I let the ending do it for me. About fifty paged before the end I was pretty sure about three stars, but the end was what made me give four. I think I expected it's going to be more about the portrait and the way it was changing. But when I look back at the book, the way how a person changes according to his way of living and how his looks really influenced the opinion of other people on us was not as important as the theme of manipulation that went through the whole book as a thick red thread. And next to it was a second red thread about ilusions and their confrontation with reality. I shouldn't forget homosexuality either, even thought it wasn't as much of a theme as it was an episode - althought if you want to see Dorian's narcissism as homosexuality, I guess it's possible. There were places where I had to stop reading and I walked for a while and just breathed and was like "oh, this is so terrible" and then when I went back to it, it felt like when you're watching an accident with a horrified but fascinated avidity, because you simply can't look away. I didn't know how it was going to end. They never told us at school and I'm glad, because it made me think throughout the book how I would wish for it to end. For the most part I thought it wouldn't be right if Dorian were to live. Henry's manipulation ran so deep that in the end Dorian were only able to do a good deed if he had a wrong motivation. I also wished that Henry would pay for what he's done, because he was actually the only one who was responsible for everything (he made Dorian the person he became), but I didn't think that would happen. It's always difficult to review a classic book, because I feel bad when I criticize a canon book. However, I'm not one to say that I loved everything about it only because I'm afraid I would look stupid if I didn't. Wilde's style is great most of the time, but then, all of sudden he gets stuck on some unimportant thing and starts to use this pathetic, wannabe poetic style that drives me crazy. I hate flowery descriptions of insignificant things if it's not important for the plot. I know they were probably paid according to the number of words or something, but he could solve his finantial problems in a way that wouldn't make me want to scream in frustration. I mean, eight pages filled with 19th century catalogue? Please! But that was practically the only reason I had for taking the one star away. I'm not saying I liked the story, because I can't really like something so horrible. But it moved me and I was fully satisfied when I finished the book. When I read classical books I hardly ever like them, because few of them deal with likable topics. So the satisfaction is kind of crucial for me....more
Ok, I've finally gave in. I was always a fan of vampires and I've heard a lot about this series, so why not try it. Especially since I've heard it's aOk, I've finally gave in. I was always a fan of vampires and I've heard a lot about this series, so why not try it. Especially since I've heard it's a lot more realistic than Twilight (just for the record, I know that the VD came first). It is more realistic. For starters, the main protagonist is not a hysterical neurotic who hates everybody around her. Elena is not perfect, but not in the Mary Sue way. Her imperfections really are imperfections and her weaknesses are not there just to make her look cute. And her strenght is not over the top. All that is good. Now, her obsession with Stefan is kind of weird, but I have to admit the explanation of her feeling insulted by his indifference suited her character. At least the character she had at the beginning. But it seemed to me that she started to change for no apparent reason. One day she was queen of the school and she thought every guy should fall for her. I liked when she was a bit bitchy, because it made her believable. But then she told Matt she doesn't want to hurt anyone and since then she turned into the nice girl who fell in love with someone she doesn't know. That's one star less for the book. Stefan is alright when he's not brooding or putting on Edward Cullen. (view spoiler)[Blaming yourself for your love's death even though it was clearly not your fault. Original. (hide spoiler)] So this is the other star. The third star is for the writing style, because it's...just...trivial. I don't know how else to describe the total lack of depth or anything else that could catch my interest. As for the plot, it's better than I expected after seeing the pilot episode of the TV series. I'm not a violent person, but when I read about vampires I kind of expect there to be death in the book. I've been disappointed a lot of times, since some authors really don't care about this and they either don't kill anybody or the kill a few faceless people and don't even give their death a second look. I like that L.J. Smith doesn't do that. Ok, people don't always die, but at least the vampires here are not all nice and they really can be scary. And they don't glow - that's good too. To sum it up. This is not a book I would be wild about, but it's not bad and I will read the next book to see what will Elena do to Damon since she's so pissed off. Oh, and one more thing...about the summary here. Damon is not sexy. At least not from what I've read in the first book. Maybe it's the impression the author wanted to give, but I didn't feel it. He's dangerous and he's definitely a jerk, but so far the only reason I see for anyone to fall for him is some kind of a super power.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more